Pitchvision Academy


Another week, more amazing tips!

This time Mark Garaway looks at "belief" and what it really means. Sam Lavery talks about the basics, even if you are world class. We have a video drill for the fielders and a way to train that will boost your skills.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

The Role of Belief: Lessons from English Cricket and Four Minute Miles

Graham Swann was at his inspirational best during the Edgbaston Test between England and Pakistan; not with the ball, but with his passionate words in the commentary box.


The Pakistani tourists had bowled England out for 297 and were 230–2 in their first innings when Swann nestled into his Test Match Special commentary seat. The new ball was over 10 overs away and the writing was on the wall for England. They were seemingly down and out and their dominance in the previous Test in Manchester was a distant memory.

Swann started his commentary stint with a plea to his fellow countrymen

“What I would love to see is someone running from slip and to give Steven Finn a supporting slap on the back, encouraging him to keep working hard and keep believing.”

He continued

“I don’t see anyone believing that they can turn this game around, Pakistan are still behind in this game, 60 runs is a lot of runs in Test cricket, their tailendersl aren’t that great and England must start believing that they can bowl Pakistan out here.”

I loved the passion in Swanny’s voice, so indicative of a man who lit up many an England changing room. Swann is an optimist, someone who lives for each moment and a cricketer who always thought that there was a chance of a win even in the most dire of match situations.

“Our captain, Andrew Strauss would implore us to apply even more pressure in overs 70–80 leading into the 2nd new ball than we had previously laid down. Normal teams would drift towards the second new ball in the hope that the change in ball would change their fortune. What’s wrong with trying to apply pressure now, trying to dry up the runs now and trying to take wickets now? Come on England, change your attitude, change your body language, change your belief!”

And with this, Gary Ballance shone the ball and ran over to Finn and delivered an encouraging tap on the Middlesex fast bowler’s Gluteus Maximus. Swann’s fellow commentator spotted this and said “they must be listening Swanny”.

Swann’s inspirational words came at a time when England were struggling. I know they couldn’t hear him, but he got me believing as I drove through the New Forest on my way to a friend’s wedding.

England started to apply more pressure with the old ball, the fielders body language and energy picked up, the run rate started to drop. All of this was tangible, even on the radio.

England were setting a foundation for a new charge with the ball. Centurion Azhar Ali was dismissed by the last ball of the 89th over and England started to take wickets at an increasing strike rate on a very slow and low track.

They started to believe.

Deficits in cricket

Whilst a 1st innings deficit of 103 is not to be sniffed at in Test cricket, you are only one top order partnership away from parity.

Alistair Cook and Alex Hales put on 126 for the first wicket and England had a chance. That chance would not have happened without England shifting their belief when Pakistan were romping towards a 200+ first innings lead.

England went onto to register a 141 run victory in a game that looked out of their reach after two and a half days of cricket. This was their biggest ever victory in Test cricket after having a 100 or more run first Innings deficit. Their next biggest victory in similar circumstances came only last year, against New Zealand.

It’s amazing how history can repeat itself once you break that initial barrier that once seemed so daunting and virtually impossible.

No-one gave England a chance at the half way stage of the Lords Test match of 2015 against Brendon McCullum’s team and yet they turned that into a resounding 124 run victory.

I am sure that Alistair Cook would have use that experience as a motivator to his ever improving team.

The role of belief

Once you have experienced something for a first time then you can then you can tap into your previous experiences, thoughts and mindsets to help you in the present.

We see it all the time in sport.

During the 1950’s there was a belief that it was humanly impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes. Record attempts were coming up short time and time again.

In 1954, Roger Bannister broke that limited belief when he recorded 3:59:4 and then watched as his “impossible” record was beaten only 46 days later.

The world now believed!

This belief has fuelled athletes in the mile event. American Steve Scott has broken 4 minutes on 136 separate occasions. The world record now sits at 3:43:13

Belief in cricket

I have been working with a young player for about three years. He has talent, that’s for sure. His ball striking is fantastic and I admire the way he manages match situations. Yet, getting a hundred was his equivalent to the four minute mile.

The young player had come up short on so many occasions and then, in the highest level of cricket that he had played up until that time, Sam scored 121 in the ECB U15 Bunbury Regional Festival.

That was three weeks ago and Sam has gone on to score 115 not out and then 175 in his last two County U15 matches for Somerset.

He now has belief.

So what can we learn from this?

There are 2 lessons here.

Firstly, be as optimistic as Graham Swann in seemingly impossible.

Trust me, it works!

Secondly, remember as much as you can about your successes and performances that have made you most proud.

The best players and teams tap into their experiences regularly to repeat and beat their own cricketing history.

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Fielding Drills: Four Point Pick Up and Throw

Here's great warm up fielding drill for throwing at the stumps, backing up, and picking up a moving ball. It's high energy and gets everyone in the mindset to field well!


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

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 29: All About Averages

David Hinchliffe leads the cricket discussion between Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and Khyati Gulani. The topics covered this week range from video analysis to averages. The old and the new!

Plus, there are questions on getting more flight as a spinner and improving your acceleration. Have a download and listen.


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!

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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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Improve Your Batting and Bowling with Clever Constraints

Recently, Mark Garaway spoke about the power of using constraints in practice to improve your cricket. This article will give you even more ways to use the same principle across batting and bowling.

Simple Not Easy: What Younis Khan Teaches Us About Basics

Sam Lavery is Cricket Professional at Portsmouth Grammar School.

For any young cricketer, it seems a little far fetched to say the basics of the game apply to international heroes as much they do to themselves.


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: 424
Date: 2016-08-12