Pitchvision Academy


Let’s take a moment, between you and I, to talk about technique.

Good cricket technique is a never-ending quest. You can always improve and hone things, even in these days of big muscles, new variations and mental toughness. So, this week we have a look at some technical parts of the game to keep you on the road to getting world-class at the basics.

We talk catching, front foot batting and spin bowling. The we also find time to deliver some tips on building a team of committed cricketers. It’s another fabulous newsletter!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Catching Drill Progression for Better Technique and Hand to Eye Skills

Improve your catching technique and hand-eye skills with this simple, insanely effective, drill progression.

Using the Katchet ramp you can do a lot of work in a very short time to turn your basic skills into world-class basics. Practice is often touted as the main difference between "good" and "great". Simple drilsl like this take you from where you are to stellar levels.

If you can't see the video above, ">click here.

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Solve Batting Problems with Downswing and Follow-Through

What is the purpose of the follow-through?

I ask it a lot, particularly from a batting perspective. Some of the answers are brilliantly inaccurate but tell me that we, as coaches, have done a poor job of explaining the follow through despite the frequency of use in coaching dialogue.

So let’s put this into a front foot drive context. What explanations do I hear on a day to day basis?


Follow through in a front foot drive

“it helps me to produce power” & “it keeps us aligned with the target” are two of the common explanations coming back from players I interview. Whilst there is some relevance in these statements, the primary function of the follow through is to decelerate the body and bat after contact with the ball.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some brilliant Gary Kirsten coaching language when he is working with batters,

“Hit the ball on the downswing, not in the follow through”.

This is a great bit of advice and language to promote the merits of playing the ball late and letting the ball come all the way onto you when playing a straight drive or a forward defensive shot.

It is particularly applicable to early season batting when the pitches aren’t always going to be quick and the ball tends to stay in the wicket.

My U14 team know all about this. We basically lobbed up soft catches into the inner ring in the first three weeks of the summer. The boys counteracted this by practising with more intent and controlling their contacts more effectively.

The results in terms of control have been outstanding. Their output - runs, balls played and strike rate - are on the rise and largely, this has been down them connecting with Gary’s coaching language.

The other reason why their strike rate has improved has been that the downswing carries far more bat speed into contact than the follow through.

Every drive has more punch in it as the bat is near or at its top speed at point of contact whereas, a few weeks ago, many of the contacts were being made whilst the bat was rapidly decelerating.

How can I be so sure of this?

We measure it.

For the past 3 weeks, we have had players batting with a sensor on the end of their bat handle. It’s basically an accelerometer and altimeter combined.

The sensor provides magnificent stats feedback on hand speed and bat speed. Then it can graph those stats on a timeline and we can see how bat speed and hand speed correlate to affect the contact outcome.

Here is an example of Kanvir striking the ball when the bat is travelling at its maximum speed. See how the peak of bat pace corresponds with the impact point. Also notice how quickly the bat decelerates once the bat has reached its maximum speed.

Contrast this to a graph of another player who has a tendency to make contact with the ball early when playing a front foot drive. Notice how the bat speed at contact is decelerating and the impact point is seen during the follow through ("finish phase" as it’s called on the app) of the shot.

A decelerating bat going through impact reduces the speed that the ball comes off the bat. The early contact is also more likely to lead to the batter lacking control at impact and the ball could go airborne when the intention was to hit it along the ground.

So Gary's brilliant coaching point isn't just about control. It's also important in the brave new world of batting where "power" is the new currency.

That's got to be music to most batters ears and maybe a "new" way to get to young batters to wait for the ball on all surfaces.

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Improve Your Spin Bowling with Better Hip to Shoulder Separation

This is a guest article from Max Andrews

“Hip to shoulder separation” is one of the most important movements in generating spin and velocity.


The movement creates an angle between the hip and shoulder which, when done properly, generates greater torque, and as a result increased spin and speed.

Interested in getting some of that?

As a bowler, we generate energy from the ground up. Therefore, producing power from our legs is essential. To be able to transfer this energy through the kinetic chain we need to use our hips. To create a powerful hip rotation, we need to create a shoulder to hip separation.

To help you visualise this action, think of a power baseball or cricket hitter when they swing. They generate their energy from the legs, their hips rotate first and then their shoulders will “catch up” and be aligned with the hips and the target.

Bowlers do they same. They open their hips at front foot landing whilst keeping their shoulders closed for just a split second. This fraction of a second - where the hip and shoulder separate - enables the body to transfer these rotational forces up through the kinetic chain and into the bowling arm.

This will equal increase speed and revolutions.

So, how do we do it?

The first drill is a medicine ball throw. There are two types of throws to work on here, shovel throws and shoulder throws.

The key to this exercise it to ensure that you keep in mind that you are trying to create hip and shoulder separation, so let your hips rotate first and then explode and really drive through with your back shoulder.

The next drill is performed with a dowel rod, a broomstick or something that will allow you to keep your shoulders aligned. First, place the rod behind your head on your shoulders and get into your back foot landing position. This drill is similar to the one-step bowling drill, here we focus on rotating our hips whilst keeping our shoulders closed, but still aligned.

The final drill is a variation to the previous drill. Some people will find this works better for them. On this occasion, rather than holding onto a rod we can either rest our hands on a wall or hold onto the netting. Again, we are focusing on creating separation in the lower body from the upper body. You should really be able to feel your hips separating and creating a big angle from your shoulders.

By now you should have developed a deeper understanding of the feeling of hip to shoulder separation.

The movement is tied in with the front leg brace and both are very important in developing a correct bowling technique. Work on this and you should see an increase in spin and velocity.

Click here for more from Max Andrews.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 18: Faster and Slower Balls

Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery join David Hinchliffe and discuss the thorny cricket issue of a lost cause. How do you react to it at the time and how do you find a way through? From selection bias to bowling the wrong end, there are plenty of chances to feel at the end of your tether in the game.

There are also some more classic coaching discussions as questions are answered about hip-shoulder separation and slower balls for fast bowlers. Drop in for a listen!

Put a Ring on it: How to Grow a Committed Cricket Team

Have you ever been frustrated by the commitment and motivation of your cricket team? Do you think, like Beyoncé, if they like it they should “put a ring on it?”


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: 412
Date: 2016-05-13