Pitchvision Academy


Are you fed up of batting at nets and not knowing how it's going? This newsletter has 40 ways to get you out of the rut and into a groove of more runs.

Plus there are ideas to improve your reviews, ways to set the tone and tips on consistency.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

40 Ways to Bat at Nets Instead of Just Hitting Balls. Now You Have No Excuse.

One of the worst things I can hear at cricket training is the dreaded phrase "I just want to hit balls".

Why is this so bad?


Because hitting balls without an intention is like trying to ice-skate uphill: You get nowhere fast. Of course, it feels good to get the ball from the middle of the bat a few times, but without that basic reason behind it, you won't improve.

This stems back to the basic reason to have a net. You want to improve your batting in some way. Improving skill is about being mindful and creating a "feedback loop" where you work on something, adjust, and work on it again.

So, in order to fight the dreaded phrase, here is the comprehensive list of things you can do at nets to improve your game instead of just hitting balls.

(Don't panic, you will still get to hit plenty of balls).

  1. Get throwdowns or use the bowling machine to groove one shot.
  2. Keep your net average.
  3. Set a match scenario and play it out as you would in a game.
  4. Try to hit every ball into the ground to improve your timing.
  5. Rotate the strike every ball.
  6. Run between balls to improve your fitness and skill while feeling tired.
  7. Take the net away and bat in the middle with real fielders.
  8. Put yourself under pressure by saying "out is out".
  9. Give yourself 10 points and lose points for getting out or making mistakes. When you are at zero, you are out.
  10. Use the intention 12.
  11. Only face one type of bowling and look to learn a new way to score against it.
  12. Bat like you are in at the death and have to hit certain gaps.
  13. Face fast bowlers bowling with a new ball and look to play like an opener.
  14. Face an over of bowling, decide what needs work, then face throwdowns while another batsman take an over.
  15. Look to hit everything into just one or two areas, or use just a couple of shots.
  16. Come down the wicket to every ball against the spinner.
  17. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone, be happy with failure (it's a sign of improvement).
  18. Listen to your coaches' and team-mates advice, but be prepared to politely reject it if it doesn't work for you.
  19. Take a moment between each ball to review the last one. Make the bowler wait a few seconds. It's your net so don't be rushed.
  20. Try and bat like someone else the whole session. You might learn something new you can do.
  21. Work on your body language.
  22. When you make a mistake, work on your reaction to failure.
  23. Try to pick line and length as early as possible. Decide how well you are doing after every 1-3 balls.
  24. Overload the challenge far beyond anything you would face in a game.
  25. Play a game with the bowlers and put something real on the outcome to add pressure.
  26. When facing below standard bowling, set yourself the aim of playing every decent ball properly within your game plan. Even if you face one decent ball in six, it's a good test of patience.
  27. Try some different "mind`` clearing" techniques to stay in the moment and focused on the next ball.
  28. Review your video after the session and ask yourself what happened, why did it happen and what you can do to move forward.
  29. After each shot, use this three step mini-review.
  30. Work on your decision making.
  31. Bat with a keeper in the net, use your feet and try to work the ball squarer than usual. It gives the keeper good practice and they can feedback to you instantly between balls.
  32. Have someone else (coach, team-mate) watch your net closely and give feedback both as you go and after you have batted. They will see things you miss technically and tactically.
  33. Write down your intention before you go into bat. When you walk out, tick or cross if you did it.
  34. Set an example to younger or less experienced players by having a positive attitude, energy and a heart filled with passion to improve.
  35. Ask bowlers to bowl in overs to give you more time to pick line and length from their action.
  36. Bat for much longer than anyone else. Start with simple grooving with underarms, face the machine or throwdowns, face bowling then go back to simple stuff again like hitting a golf ball with a stump.
  37. Measure your performance against different types of bowling, line and length.
  38. Try a different trigger move, grip, stance or backlift. If it fails, go back to the old one. If it works, keep it.
  39. Try leading with your shoulder into drives. Then try stepping to the ball. One works better than the other but you won't know which until you try both.
  40. Try range hitting.

Now you have no excuse to "just hit balls"!

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Four Ways to Connect With Your Cricketers During Reviews

I have become increasingly aware of different learning styles and preferences within teams over the years and have been trying to find different review methods that connect with those different styles.


Review is something that top quality teams and leading coaches do very well.

Every team is likely to have a combination of the following learning preferences:

  • Verbal. The spoken word being the thing that these players connect with
  • Visual. Video, pictures, infographics, mountainscape
  • Auditory. Sounds or music
  • Kinaesthetic. Acting things out or "shaping" shots, deliveries, throws and other skills/

Every player will have a leading learning preference and a secondary learning preference. If a coach can connect with different combinations of these stimuli over the course of a few reviews then every one of the players in your group would connect with key developmental points.

Verbal cricketers

Players with a verbal preference are always ok as I have yet to sit in a Silent review!

Now there is an idea to ponder!

Auditory cricketers

30% of the general population have a auditory preference.

Auditory players can connect better with key words or imagery if it is associated with music. I used to do this with the England players by finding out what their favourite songs were and combine the music with video and key coaching messages.

We had one player who took a defensive line to the ball when fielding so I built a fielding video which had a heap of top quality stops, run outs and catches in it.

The key coaching point that I wanted to get across (subtly) was to promote the line of attack from the world’s best deep fielders at the time (Hayden and Symonds). The video contained lots of fielders doing some great things. The music was Tiger Feet by T-Rex. The video would show both Aussies completing run outs or preventing extra runs during the chorus of the song.

At the next training session the player in question asked if we could work on running different lines to deep hit balls to test what angles were workable and which were not.

Job done!

Kinaesthetic cricketers

5% of the general population have a kinaesthetic preference.

Some players that I know have a kinaesthetic learning preference will take themselves into a space and simulate the reviewed point if technique or method is on the agenda during the review meeting.

One of the England Captains I worked with would listen to a discussion and then stand as if he was playing the bowler in question simulating his game plan there and then.

These types of players will learn from feeling the reviewed point rather than sitting in a chair nodding their heads.

Give these players scope to move around and simulate and the reviewed point. It then has more chance of landing.

Visual cricketers

65% of the general population have a visual preference.

The addition of video footage, stills taken at the game, some infographics displaying key developmental points are all brilliant for those players who have a visual learning preference. The information on the screen will be more easily by the visual learner.

Here is an infographic that we use at school with our teams that is taken from our Analysis software.

The information is no different to verbal information or tabled stats, just presented differently. Some players really connect with this approach.

A more subjective way of reviewing is through the Mountainscape approach.

The “Y-value” is a percentage based on performance at given points (1-100%).

The “X-value” is the timeline through the day which highlights 10 over segments and any breaks in the flow of the game (Lunch/Drinks/Tea).

Here is an example taken from a recent Millfield U14 game against Cornwall U14s.

We plot some crosses to show our level of performance at each point on the X-Axis. Then join the crosses up to create a mountainscape.

If there is a valley or a peak in the mountainscape then we will attribute what has led to the positive or negative performance shift.

The visual learners find this a great way of connecting to both the events from the game and the key learnings.

Have a go at tinkering with the different delivery styles in your review process and see your how that impacts on performance.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 23: An Audacious Goal!

David Hinchliffe discusses cricket with top coaches Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery. This show opens with a discussion about fielding standards: How to measure them with relevance, and how to raise them further.

And it goes on to talk about goals. Can you really go from club to international cricket in four years? One listener has that ambition and the team look to help him. Plus, there is a listener playing 25 over cricket who feels he needs to score more quickly. Listen in for the diagnosis and cure from the "Cricket Doctors".

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+

Or you can call and leave your question on the Academy voice mail:

  • +44 (0)203 239 7543
  • +61 (02) 8005 7925

How to Listen to the Show

Just click the "play" button at the top of the show notes.

Or, the show comes out every Friday and you can listen to it on your phone or tablet every week automatically. Simply choose your favourite podcast player and do a search for the show:

Or subscribe manually with the RSS feed. Right click here, copy the link and paste it into the appropriate place for adding new feeds in your podcast subscription software or RSS reader.

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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Set the Tone: How to Win the First Ten Overs in One Day Cricket (and Why it Matters)

There is something magic about the first ten overs.

How to Become a Consistent Batsman

Are you driven enough to be consistent batsmen?


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: 417
Date: 2016-06-24