Pitchvision Academy


This week the newsletter covers a range of topics from high emotions to fun games and drills. There are some tips for bowlers and another chance to nominate your coach of the year.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

6 Proven Bowling Practices That Are Better than Having Nets

Nets are used poorly by bowlers.


The net is the "Swiss Army knife" of cricket training: Players who stick to just using the knife are ignoring the screwdriver, corkscrew and bottle opener at their cost. With the right drills, nets develop technical, tactical and mental skills as a bowler.

But it doesn't happen by magic. If you turn up to nets, wait for your chance to bowl and fire a few balls down for the batsman to slog you won't get better at bowling. In fact, the best you can hope for is just to stop from getting worse.

So don't waste net sessions. Use the right tool for the job.


To truly make the most of net sessions and learn how to become a better cricketer, throw in these different ways to train. You'll be surprised how fast you improve.

Target practice drill

As you already know, there is nothing simpler, easier or more effective than good old target practice. Bowling well means bowling accurately and the way to improve your accuracy is by trying to hit the area on the pitch that you consider accurate.

This is not rocket surgery, but how often do you do it?

Without a batsman, place or draw a target on the point in the net you want to hit. Run up and bowl at the target.


An important point here is to track your progress over time. This means using more than your memory, as it's terribly unreliable at such tasks. Keep a separate record like with PitchVision.

You can do this practice for any type of delivery:

  • Hitting the top of off stump
  • 4/5/6 stump line
  • Back of a length to ‘hit the deck’
  • Fuller to allow for swing
  • Yorkers
  • Bouncers
  • Slower balls/variations

Practice your stock ball 80% of the time with variations making up the rest. In these days of IPL drama you can consider the yorker as your stock death ball. It will certainly help if you plan to become a cricketer.

The more you bowl the better (although remember the fast bowling guidelines if you are a young pace bowler).

The size of the target can be varied but aim to make it as small as possible to improve your accuracy. Start with a big area to hit and gradually reduce the size as your accuracy improves.

What's a good score for accuracy? If you are around 60% at the start you are doing OK. If you get up to 80% you are in the world-class level.

Double target practice

A variation on traditional target practice is to place two targets on the pitch instead of one. This is designed to improve your ability to adjust your line and length. Good bowlers are able to do this to set a batsman up, for example a bouncer followed by a yorker.

Your job in this practice is to bowl to hit one target then change length and hit the other consistently. This is much harder than hitting the same target over and over.

This practice is less useful for spinners who rely more on flight and turn while hitting the same area, but can still have a place if you change to hitting the same spot but with more pace and less turn.

Bowler's play and leave drill

This game brings the batsman back into play. It's designed more to improve tactical awareness and mental strength in a specific way.

In this game your job is to make the batsman play (stats have shown that the more a batsman plays, the more likely he is to get out). The batsman is trying to leave as many balls as possible.

You bowl to a pair of batsmen in 6 ball overs per bowler. The batsmen get 4 runs for every leave and lose 4 runs if they get out. Pairs of batsmen compete against each other while the bowlers compete individually for the most economical overs.

You can do this in nets or as a middle practice with fielders.

It's an effective practice because it forces you to focus on making the batsman play the ball; a very simple way of getting wickets.

Perfect over drill

This is a more exciting version of target practice, designed less for technical and more for tactical development.

Perform the drill by planning out an over beforehand, then trying to bowl it. The idea is to think about how you are going to set a batsman up in a set of six balls, then see how well you can do it (you don’t need a batsman).

Gate bowling

This is an outcome-based drill for working on technique. The drill lets you practice spinning or swinging the ball.

Set it up by putting "gates" on the pitch and trying to get the ball to swing or spin through them. The exact location will vary depending on how much movement you get and which way the ball moves.

Middle practice

Finally, you can get out of the nets altogether and work on your tactical and mental game against a batsman in the middle.

The limitation of bowling in nets is lost when you practice in the middle, but it's not a place to work on technique, so forget target practice and start thinking about how you respond to and deal with pressure.

Some bowlers use friendly or low importance games for middle practice, but you can also set it up in your practice sessions if you have something specific to work on (like bowling at the death).

For most of these practices, PitchVision is a tool that all bowlers can use. It allows you to track your progress in pace, accuracy and deviation over time, and then adjust your practice to match the best results. That’s a lot more sensible than trying to guess at things. I strongly recommend it if you are looking for technical developments as a bowler.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 25: Energy Levels

Sam Lavery, Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe talk cricket coaching. The subject of energy levels is first on the agenda as long seasons can sap enthusiasm. The team have the tips to keep you going.

Plus, there are questions about bowling left arm over and convincing others that cricket can be your career.


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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Cricket Games: Diamond Cricket

This is a classic cricket game for kids to learn a lot about the basics of the game: hitting, catching, stopping, throwing and tactics all come into play in this frantic game!

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

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Coaching to Win: An Emotional Time

The first week of July is always a week of mixed emotions for me at Millfield.

Nominate Your Coach of the Year by 18th July!

Who's your coach of the year?

PitchVision is proud to present the 2016 Coach of the Year Awards. This year, we want you to nominate the coach you think deserves recognition. It'syour chance to show love to someone with great coaching skills!


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: 420
Date: 2016-07-15