Pitchvision Academy


In this newsletter we get stuck into some awesome cricket topics. There is a guide to praising your team mates to help them improve, an interview with a club batsman who has scored over 2,300 runs and a guide to captaincy starring Smith, Vaughan and Strauss!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Change How You Use Praise to Help Your Team Improve

Encouraging your team is a good thing. When you see your mate in nets play a nice shot, you shout "shot!" because it's the done thing. But, does this encouragement help?


Does it build confidence and help a player improve through positive feedback?

It can do, but only if you do it right.

Let's say your star batsman is in the nets facing a lesser bowler. The batsman can easily play the bowler. A half volley is is slammed into the netting at express pace. Everything is as expected.

Now is not the time to say "good shot".

It was a good shot of course, but it's only to be expected. The batter is far superior. The bowler has served a poor ball and it has been dealt with correctly. What's good about that?

The batsman has not build any more confidence nor improved. It wasn't that good.

Instead save your praise.

Save it for when a buddy does something that is difficult or at the edge of their ability. For example, for the good batsman against the weaker bowler, it's batting with focus for the whole net without getting bored of the poor standard. It's way more powerful to wander up to that guy at the end of the net and say "I know it was pretty easy in there today, but I loved how you stuck to your game plan and never got fed up.".

One sentence like that is worth 10,000 shouts of "shot".

The praise hits home in a stronger way. The person getting the praise appreciates it more because they realise you spotted something most miss: they achieved something challenging.

If you are more sparing with praise in this way, you help your team mates grow.

But hang on...

What if you feel the urge to scream "shooooooot!" Every time the ball hits the middle? It's a tough habit to break.

Try this; for a good shot say "good". If it goes slightly wrong another time say "fair enough". That way you can save the massive praise for genuinely good play and the telling off for genuinely poor play (like slogging because you get bored).

Try it out and watch how people respond. I bet you'll see some fast changes in skill levels.

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How to Score 2,342 Runs a Season

2,342 runs at an average of 90.08. Nine hundreds, including a double hundred and 309* in a 40 over match.


These are not the stats of a county cricket batsman. These are the 2016 stats of Cannock Cricket Club's Brian Barnard. He plays limited over cricket at weekends, like thousands of others in England. How the heck did a club player managed to score so many runs?

 PitchVision had to find out. So, we gave him a call.

We picked up a few tips from the run maker supreme. Here's what we discovered.

Brian is South African who is on his third visit to the UK as an overseas professional. He has a fine pedigree in the game, playing for Gauteng in the first-class competition. Much was expected of him stepping into club cricket. Yet, many overseas players come to the UK with similar expectations and fail.

Brian was not keen to join those ranks. He told me that much of his success is down to his frame of mind.

Many players play overseas to get a free holiday or take it easy during the off season. Instead, Brian decided he was going to give his all. He was going to be the model pro and the results would show on the pitch.

It's easy to underestimate this mindset. But, one of the keys to being a cricketer is having the grit to stay focused on your goal. Distractions and other priorities will always be around. They player who can handle these and still focus on runs is in a powerful position to succeed.

Training plan

So, what does this preparation look like for Brian?

He trains with his team mates at the club during the regularly scheduled sessions. He goes with the flow and takes part with enthusiasm.

Then, outside these sessions he trains three times a week on his on game. It's here he hones his method and game plan in different situations. He doesn't spend a lot of time on technical things, instead trying to build confidence in the way he plays against the type of opponents and conditions he will face at the weekend.

He stressed that his training during the season is not about going outside of his limits. He wants to have a mastery of his game rather than trying to do everything. Even a man who can score a triple century in 40 over has limitations. He knows exactly what they are and sticks to his strengths instead.

When he's not training, he makes sure to get into the gym. He trains every day, even on match days where he does a light workout to get going before a game.

And what about time away from cricket?

Even the best players need R&R time. Brian makes time to visit friends from previous trips to the UK when he has some down time. He can step away from the game for a while and enjoy himself, recharge the batteries and return to his main focus.

A template to follow?

It's tempting to think that if you do the same a Brian you will get the same results.

It's also tempting to scoff at Brian's approach. You might argue you would do well too if you train four times a week and have nothing else to distract you.

In fact, neither of these views are entirely true. Every cricket player is different and responds in different ways. Some prefer more training, others less. Non-professionals usually have a work and family life begging for time too. However, you can take lessons from Brian into your own game and your own life without trying to copy things exactly.

So, set your priorities, do your best to eliminate unimportant distractions, train as hard as time and enthusiasm allow, and learn to relax at the right time.

No one can promise you over 2000 runs a season but if you do these things, you will bat with a great chance of success.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 30: The Long Road

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and Khyati Gulani join David Hinchliffe to talk cricket. The show stars with a discussion about the best time to start a big change in your game. technical or tactical changes that need a lot of work need to be done at the right time and for the right reasons.

Plus, there are questions on end of season training and improving concentration for opening the batting and keeping wicket.


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 Catching Agility Drill
This is a useful cricket catching drill for smaller spaces where you also want to improve athletic ability. 
The sideways shuffling allows you to develop speed and mobility, useful in a number of cricket situations. The catching just makes it fun!

What Captains Learn from Great Skippers

Have you ever asked for captaincy feedback?

Those who are brave enough often pick up great insights that help shape their future and more effective leadership approaches.


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: 425
Date: 2016-08-19