Pitchvision Academy


Bowling is the focus in this newsletter as we help an international level bowler with a bent arm, then give you six ways to improve your bowling speed.

Mark Garaway has an article for tail-enders (or lower order run getters) who are mainly bowlers. Plus, Jorden Finney tells us about dealing with setbacks.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Case Study: International Bowler Rebuilds Illegal Action

It’s the nightmare for all bowlers: Getting suspended for an illegal action when you have made it into international cricket.

Imagine how it felt for Brian Vitori, Zimbabwe left arm seamer, who was assessed in February 2016 and found to have gone beyond the 15 degree allowed limit for bowlers. He was suspended immediately.


Many would have given up.

But Brian knew he could get back on track. He steeled himself and turned to coach Justin Sammons. Justin and Brian immediately got to work to correct his action. The pair headed to Cricket South Africa’s High Performance Centre and tooled up with PitchVision video analysis technology.

More importantly, they started working hard.

Really hard.

A few weeks later, PitchVision caught up with Brian and Justin at a break in one of their sessions. The pair had put in dozens of hours, thousands of reps and a lot of video data from a variety of angles.

They revealed what had happened.

Finding the fault

Justin explained that when the pair first got together, they wanted to find out exactly why Brian was bending his elbow.

They used high-speed cameras from a wide range of angles, including front on and from behind. It wasn’t long before they spotted what was happening. It was all about alignment.

When his back foot landed, Brian’s back leg would “collapse” - or bend a lot at the knee - causing his back hip to come through early. He was losing power and energy.

This forced Brian to work towards the line of a right handers fine leg. His bowling arm was forced to follow the same line; taken back towards the right hander’s mid off.

Due to this poor alignment (and the muscles in his body all working against each other) there was a large amount of compensation resulting in him throwing the ball.

Once they had used video analysis to discover these causes they quickly moved to correct the flaws.

Rebuilding an action

Justin gave me a ball-park figure that they did around 3000 repetitions of simple drills. This was needed to rebuild Brian’s action.

So, thousands of time, Brian stood - like a total beginner - and learned to bowl again. He slowed it down. He got it wrong time and time again. He slowly started getting it right from a standing start. Eventually, they added in a step. Brian was moving again. Yet he was still in such early stages. Would it ever end?

Brian revealed that this process was very hard. He had to relearn what it felt like to bowl. And that is different for everyone. Fortunately, Justin’s coaching style fitted with Brian. They worked together, learning how Brian moved and what path was most comfortable to get him to his goal.

Brian said he knew he could trust Justin, even when it was at the darkest hour because he knew Justin was working to helpl him learn his own way, and not trying to prescribe something that may or may not work.

It may have felt like an age, but before long Brian was running in from a couple of step again.

Using PitchVision

The role PitchVision played was more than video analysis.

Brian said the system help him to stay motivated by showing him speed and accuracy data. When he was bowling he instantly saw his new action gave him more pace. It flowed more and as a result he was bowling quicker with less effort.

Most importantly, his arm was straight.

Everything was working well. Brian felt good and Justin was positive.

They had used a combination of high-class coaching with PitchVision technology to rebuild an international action.

At the time of writing, Brian is having a couple weeks break to allow for his body to recover, he will then return to Justin in South Africa where they will spend another two weeks together, once again performing simple drills to perfect the action by breaking it down into its various components enforcing the muscle memory needed for when it is all brought together.

Thanks to his hard work and the use of great technology, it won’t be long before he is back in a Zimbabwe jersey.

For more about how PitchVision helps cricketers improve their game, give Neil Fairbairn a call. He will tell you more stories, give you drills and outline easy ways to get you on PitchVision system.

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Six Proven Ways to Bowl Faster


We all feel the need.

 Whatever your pace now, more is better. Speed creates new problems for the batsman. It's your job to create problems for that guy.

The problem is that everyone has different needs, and not all fast bowling tips work for all fast bowlers. You have to experiment with some things to see what works for you. The good news is that the feedback is instant: You either got quicker, or you didn't.

So try these ways proven ways to bowl faster and let me know how you got on:


Copy javelin thrower's legs

Fast bowling technical expert Ian Pont can be credited for this one. Ponty, after studying javelin thrower technique, realised that a straight, or braced, front leg is a powerful method of generating power. The lower body of a fast bowler and a javelin thrower are identical.

The braced leg acts as a block that throws energy up your body and into the ball.

When you bend your front leg, some of that force is lost and your pace will dip. So it's an easy win to tech yourself to keep the front leg braced like a javelin thrower. Get the drills to learn this method from here.

Grab the sight screens

This technical tip also comes from Ian Pont. It's another simple way to make a technical change that improves bowling speed. In this case, you imagine grabbing the sight screens both in front and behind you.

Doing this as you move from the front foot to the back foot will stretch your upper body to it's full extent. Our muscles are like an elastic band. When stretched they will ping back to their resting length with force. And force means speed into the ball.

Build the right body

PitchVision Academy has long screamed against the idea that gym work means bodybuilding. But, as a bowler you can build a body that is designed for speed rather than the beach.

If you are too skinny you need more muscle.

If you are too overweight you need less fat.

If you are in between you can do a bit of both.

Whatever your body type, you can do with being stronger. This is because bowling speed is improved by putting power from your body into the ball. Power is strength times speed. So, the stronger you get with weights, the faster you get as a bowler.

Raw strength is best developed in the gym with tradition methods like lifting up heavy weights. Bodyweight training has a place but at some point you are going to need to squat, deadlift, press and pull weights. So, find a gym with good trainers who can show you the right way to lift heavy, then get to it.

Join the gym to pitch dots

Simply getting strong will make a huge lift to your speed, but to add even more kph's you can learn to transfer raw strength to bowling speed with specialised tools like kettlebells, weighted balls and medicine balls.

These tools are heavier than a cricket ball, yet lighter than the free weights you find in the gym. That means they act as a bridge between the extremes of a 100kg front squat and bowling at 140kph.

Naturally, you can't just throw things around and hope for the best. You need to plan your training to peak at the start of the summer and maintain that standard throughout the season. Lucky enough, Steffan Jones has plenty of advice for you.

Stretch where your body stretches

As you know from the technical tips above, when you bowl you stretch as much as you can because the greater the stretch the greater the reflex. You can improve this stretch by improving the parts of your body that stretch.

For speed this is your thoracic (or middle) spine and your hips.

In fact, it's the case that the main difference between a "slingy" fast bowler and someone more orthodox is mobility in the t-spine.

It's impossible to be too mobile in these areas whatever your action, so you can work on mobility every day if you are especially weak in these areas. It only takes a few minutes a day to do mobilisations. You can do them as part of your usual warm up for games, gym or training. And you can do them at home as no equipment is required.

If you take the time you will find that over the period of a few weeks you can stretch further than before, grab those sight screens and get into better positions. That means more speed.

Bowl enough, not too much

One of the problems of being a fast bowler is that cricket is a long game. Sprinters don't have to reign in their speed because they run 15 100m in a day for 4 months, but that's exactly what you find yourself doing. So, the key is to find a balance.

Lucky enough, the ECB have researched how much bowling is optimal and have come up with the 7/4/2 system. I would recommend sticking to this as it avoids the dangers of over bowling (and slowing down) while giving you "overs in the legs".

Yes, it is compromise, but unless you can work out how to keep your pace up during long spells, it's the best we have at the moment.

And that's your pace primer.

I know it's a lot to take in, and will take time and planning to put into place. Only the truly dedicated to bowling fast will take advantage of the advice. They are the ones who you will see on your TV taking wickets.

I hope you are one of them too.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 14: Practice Under Pressure

Sam Lavery and Mark Garaway join David Hinchliffe for cricket coaching chat. On the 356th edition of the podcast, there is a discussion about adding pressure to practice. How do you do it while still getting a fair go?

Plus, there are questions about helping an all-rounder quickly fix a bowling issue with a limited time, and helping a leg spinner understand the benefits of the "bowling arm circle".

Listen in for the details.


How to Send in Your Questions

If you want to win a cricket coaching prize, you need to send in your burning questions to the show. If your question is the best one we give you a free online cricket coaching course!

Send in your questions via: - email - twitter - Facebook - Google+

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You can also download this show onto your computer by clicking the play button at the top of the article, or clicking on the mp3 to download.


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How to Deal with Cricket Setbacks

This is a guest article from Jordan Finney, cricket coach and sport psychology degree student.

Left out of the team. Opposition counteracting your batting. A new player who can take your role in the squad: The list of cricket setbacks is endless.

How to Coach Your Batting Tail to Wag

I love working with lower order players. To me they are still ‘run getters’ and ‘partnership builders’ irrespective of their less extensive batting experience and limited practice hours.


About PitchVision Academy

Welcome to this week's guide to playing and coaching better cricket.

I'm David Hinchliffe and I'm Director of the PitchVision Academy team. With this newsletter you are benefitting directly from over 25 Academy coaches. Our skills include international runs and wickets, first-class coaching, cutting-edge research and real-life playing experience.


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Issue: 408
Date: 2016-04-22