Pitchvision Academy


More drills and skills for you? You bet! From the "Ryder Cup" net to tips on batting against spin, it's all here again in the newsletter.

There is also tips on joining a new team (if you need to) and even more over at pitchvision.com (so much we couldn't cram it all in this week).

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Spice Up Your Cricket Practice with The Ryder Cup Net Session

Do you recognise this practice situation?

Nets, minimal equipment, 90 minutes and an abundance of players eager to hone their skills. This is a common scenario for club coaches both during the season and over the winter period.


With Europe and the USA having just battled it out on the golf greens of Hazeltine, perhaps there’s an opportunity to incorporate some Ryder Cup themes into your session. Here at Cardiff Met University for example our Ryder Cup Session looks like this:

  • EUROPE = Batting Team (eight batters, two per lane)
  • USA = Bowling Team (eight bowlers, two per lane)
  • One hole = five minutes (each batting pair bat for four holes so 20 minutes in total)

At the end of each five minute rotation, both teams come together to briefly discuss who has won the hole to gain a +1pt, or whether they cannot be separated and the hole goes down as ½.

You can set contextual parameters on each net; opening the batting in lane one for example, or last 10 overs in lane four. Your your players can take responsibility for setting their fields in addition to determining the criteria for how a hole is won.

It might be that a dismissal wins the round outright, much like a hole in one does; or it might be the assertiveness the batting pair displayed in their running and calling; or the extent to which wides and no balls affect the hole.

The criteria can be as precise as you like; as long as it is purposeful and drives good standards. That is all you can ask for as a coach.

This technique allows you to take a step back and observe how your players respond when the competition is on. Some may rise to the challenge, becoming more vocal and take onus on their field settings; others might become introverted and just bowl or bat to the scenario you’ve given them. They may not show initiative in finding a solution that best suits them.

So let’s look at an example.

After 20 minutes, Europe have batted and USA have bowled. The score might be 2 ½ v 1 ½.

Have a discussion with your team captains; are they happy with the set criteria? Is there anything that would help improve the standards and practice heading into the second half? Do batting pairs need to show more intensity during their running?

Swap the teams over and see how the they respond, after which you’ve hopefully had a productive, focused and high quality net session which beats turning up, whacking some balls and getting cleaned up five times, or running in at low intensity and bowling an assortment of deliveries randomly picked out the hat.

If you still have time left in your session why not make some fielding drills competitive to continue the battle? Catching, stump hitting you name it! Either way, you should have one team walking away happy at having had some “Ryder Cup” success!

Matt Thompson is Director of Cricket at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Captain of Devon County Cricket Club. You can find out more at The Coaches Corner.

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PitchVision and Cricket South Africa Join Forces to Reveal Technology Used in CSA Development Programme

Cricket South Africa and PitchVision Cricket Technology have revealed the ball tracking technology behind their countrywide talent identification programme.

 Centurion Mall, Pretoria was the venue for an event to unveil how PV/ONE coaching systems will be rolled out across 20 South African provincial academies. The technology, that can be used in any net, allows coaches and players to track their performance from bowling pace and accuracy through to video analysis of technique.

PitchVision is the official coach education partner to CSA. Formed in 2005, the company have supplied systems to CSA with the aim of helping identify and nurture talented cricketers across the nation.

 “It is the evolution of cricket,” said Craig van Dyk, Director of PitchVision SA. “The world is in the grips of a Technological Revolution and we are merely bringing this into cricket. Our aim is to take this technology to all levels of the game”

“With more and more young South Africans starting to play cricket as early as 5 years old we need to ensure that the talented ones are identified as early as possible and coached properly so as not to pick up bad habits which are often difficult to change.”

Cricket South Africa’s General Manager: Cricket, Corrie van Zyl, said

“Coaching education is a vital part of ensuring that we have a pipeline that continues to produce talent at all levels. With the additional investment and commitment from PitchVision, we are able to place greater emphasis on our coaching education programmes and look forward to upskilling our coaches,”

Press and other invited dignitaries attended the event to get more information. The venue is also the site of South Africa's first cricket simulator, PitchVision PowerPlay, where anyone can try their luck batting against world-class bowlers like Jaques Kallis and Jimmy Anderson.


From serious talent to serious fun, PitchVision provides the best cricket technology.

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Two Different Ways to Play Spinners from the Back Foot

The best batters in the world have excellent back foot games when playing on spinning tracks.

AB de Villiers, Yonus Khan, Rahul Dravid and Joe Root all get as far away from ball bounce when the bowler misses his length on the short side.


This depth of crease gives the player more time and creates different options to access with scoring shots.

These players are masters of manoeuvring the ball, even on the driest pitches at the end of a five day Test match. And if the bowler misses their length by a sufficient margin, the batter will be able to back foot punch or pull the ball away for boundaries also.

Sub-continent batting

Traditionally, northern hemisphere batters have developed lazy habits as the ball generally sits in the wicket and doesn’t spin significantly on greener surfaces.

As a result, they tend to shift their weight backwards rather than create distance between ball bounce and ball contact.

This approach works until the ball starts to spin quickly or break a bigger distance off the pitch.

That’s why Westerners have now learnt from the sub-continent players who have fast feet. I analysed these movements and now coach players to copy sub-continent approaches.

Even if the player is never likely to play in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Pakistan.

You see, the “northern approach” is simply not transferable to wickets that really spin. The sub-continental approach will thrive in any cricket environment.

More time. More options. That works everywhere.

Different lines of movement

So, depth of movement is one thing. Now here are two methods of playing back foot to to the same bowler.

England’s Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood would practice to face Murilitheran using as much depth of crease as possible.

Where they differed was their angle of movement.

Colly would move back and towards leg stump with the intention of hitting the ball with a punch drive through extra cover. He would aim to score 2’s into that often vacant gap. If he timed the ball beautifully then he would pick up a boundary.

Now in truth, it would be fair to say that Colly didn’t always pick Murili -not many batters did!

So this method gave Colly the chance to get away from his slightly under-pitched ball and play him off the pitch.

If the ball turned in then he could hit back into the spin with a safe punch drive and if it turned away then he could use the width as well as his short punch through the ball to generate speed off the bat.

Vaughan was different.

He would push into off stump and look to clip the ball through mid wicket with his excellent wrists. KP did the same (when he wasn’t switch-hitting).

Vaughany would use the spin on the off break to help him access open spaces beyond short leg and defend the ball if it was Murili’s doosra.

The boys practiced their own movements and approaches religiously.

And whilst neither mastered Murili in his own backyard of Kandy and Columbo, they were able to put the great man under some degree of pressure through their excellent footwork options.

So, depth of crease is important: It’s a given against spin nowadays but now you have two movement options to practice.

By doing so, you can find out which one is your preference

Then also experiment to see if there would be a circumstance or a challenge that may lend itself to adopting the other method rather than your preferred choice.

Give them both a go and come back to me with your follow up questions and experiences.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 37: Getting a Job

Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe join forces to talk cricket, with a little pre-recorded help from Mark Garaway. The discussion is wide ranging. It starts with a chat about the reluctance to share drills, techniques and tactics with others. Then moves on the questions of job hunting and aligning yourself to an unusual bowler.

Listen for the full show.

Get Settled in Your New Cricket Team with These Tips

How do you break through that awkward first few sessions at a new team?


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: 432
Date: 2016-10-07