Pitchvision Academy


There is magic in the air this week. The newsletter has a magic drill to boost nets, a training trick that boosts your game by 15% and the story of Haseeb Hameed, and his bat like a wand!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

The Cricket Training Trick That Boosts Your Game by 15% (or Makes You 15% Worse)

How good are your cricket skills under pressure?

It’s said that pressure either makes you 15% better or 15% worse. The good news is that you get to choose which way you go with some simple work in training.


These who turn up to just hit some balls are choosing to ignore pressure. Pressure, however, rarely will ignore you. So, imagine standing at the crease in a vital match or trial with 80 needed to win, eight wickets down and the opposition fast bowler on fire.

It doesn’t matter how many balls you “just hit” at this moment.

Maybe you are lucky and you respond to pressure with confidence and grit. Or maybe you are like most of us and tremble at the risk of failure.

Can you still win the game batting with a 15% deficit?

Add pressure to nets

Let’s rewind back to the net sessions you had before the game. How can you choose plus 15% instead?

There are three ways.

  1. Count. Every drill or net is counted on some kind of clock. It could be actual timed, or a number of balls. Knowing your time is finite and running out makes you focus on the task with full intensity. If you don’t feel pressure as the end draws near, you’re not making it tough enough.
  2. Compete. Winning is easier when you practicing winning. Make the bowlers take on the batters in some kind of game. Have a points system. Keep score in everything and make the league tables prominent.
  3. Communicate. Everyone is accountable for everyone’s level of focus and intensity. If someone is not engaged, enthusiastically communicate the need for focus. When the culture is about racking up pressure, the slacker stands out quickly. After the pressure building session, discuss how players felt and responded.

This is simple, but it’s not easy. Pressure and stress take you out of your comfort zone. Most of us like to train safely in a comfortable way. It helps us feel better and that we are working hard.

But true hard work is challenging yourself in practice.

And one of the best ways is understanding how you respond to pressure and make it your ally. If you practice well and make pressure an opportunity to raise your game to the best you can be, you’ll get your 15% boost.

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Use This Story to Create Resilient Cricketers

How many cricketers have you met who get stroppy and throw the towel in when they have been dropped from a team or suffered a loss of form?


I have met loads of them.

And was in fact exactly like this myself when I played.

I was crying out for someone to tell me about a brilliant case study of someone who had hit a “speedbump” in their development roads and had found a way over it.

Well, you are in luck.

As England’s latest Test Match batting sensation, Haseeb Hameed, has turned despair and embarrassment in February into a hugely successful Test Debut in November, only nine months later. It’s a great story and one that we can all learn from.

Overnight success?

Haseeb’s has become an overnight sensation in Rajkot this past week scoring 31 and 82 on Test debut at the tender age of 19.

The real truth is that Haseeb is not an overnight sensation at all. He is someone that I heard about five years ago when then Lancashire Academy Director, John Stanworth, an exceptional cricket coach, spoke with me about a very talented 14 year old that he was working with.

John showed me some footage of the boy playing and talked to me about his strengths and development areas that they were working on during the winter development phase.

Concentration, composure, freedom of movement and his ability to play spin were the standout points that I saw on the screen and heard in Johns glowing reference.

It was fantastic to see the same qualities, refined and enhanced, very much on show last week. They are qualities that will stand Haseeb in good stead in his International career.

So it was a huge surprise when I learnt that Haseeb was not going to be selected for the England squad for the 2016 ICC U19 World Cup in Bangladesh back in February.

At first I thought that the England selectors had made a huge mistake, then, through a more logical lens I started to sense that there must be a very good set of reasons for his non-selection given his technical competence.

When England were knocked out by Sri Lanka on a typical Bangladesh pitch in the quarter finals it was easy for people to point the finger at the selectors and coaches and cite Haseebs non-selection as the main cause of the teams failure.

Leaving the best player of spin behind when entering sub-continental playing conditions is scandalous, surely?

The very same player arrived in Bangladesh eight months later as a member of the England Test Squad. Now, that is some achievement.

Speed bumps maketh man

I’m sure that Haseeb was devastated to be dropped for the U19 World Cup. He had worked so passionately over the previous five years and that is a huge kick in the backside for anyone to take.

Many people would have been despondent, negative or demotivated by this news.

Haseeb chose to work even harder.

He took the feedback from his non-selection on the chin and used the experience as a motivating - rather than derailing - experience.

Very few players have a seamless journey from junior cricket all the way through to the pinnacle of the game.

In fact, it has always worried me to see players progressing without speedbumps.

You know that if they don’t experience disappointment, injury or non-selection during their journey to the top then there is a good chance that they won’t possess the skills to cope with the disappointments and pressures that are inevitable at International level.

Resilience - to me the most crucial mental attribute - is often developed as a result of coping with “speedbumps” along the way.

Haseeb’s non-selection was a huge speed bump and the Bolton-based teenager responded brilliantly to that experience.

It is this resilience as well as his technique and temperament in the middle which has made some of the biggest names in the game stand up and wax lyrical about him in the past week.

Here to stay

England Coach Trevor Bayliss said of Hameed “He’s been with the squad for about six weeks, but it feels like he’s been here for two or three years - he’s got that type of a personality”

This is exactly the sense that Duncan Fletcher and I got when Alistair Cook walked into the dressing room at Nagpur just over 10 years ago.

The composure was very similar, his thinking was very clear and it also felt like Cooky had been with us for years.

Both Haseeb and Cook have embraced the speed bumps in their early years to be able to come back from disappointment. Obviously, Cook has proven this over and over again to become England highest Test run scorer of all time but the signs are also good for Hameed.

Support is crucial

Hameed was backed significantly by Lancashire Director of Cricket, Ashley Giles back in February.

Ash has overcome his own speed bumps as both a player and as a coach. Ashley’s own resilience has been developed as a consequence of being told that he wasn’t good enough as player at various points in his early career and still kept grinding it out, getting better each day.

He converted from pace to spin, moved Counties and came back from being heckled by most commentators in his first Test to take over 140 dismissals in 54 Tests.

Ashley has won championships with Warwickshire, T20 Trophies with Lancashire and come through another speedbump with England when they shifted back to wanting only one coach for their three formats instead of two. Giles was harshly jettisoned at the time, yet this experience only strengthened his resolve and determination to do well.

What better person to guide the impressionable Haseeb through his first significant cricketing speedbump?

The net result of the way that Haseeb and Giles dealt with the non-selection was that the Lancashire teenager scored 1198 runs at 49.19 in the 2016 County Championship season and secured his place on the Test cricket plane!

So next time you hear a player moan about being dropped, whinge about the luck they are having or claiming that their career is over, remind them of how some speedbumps in the road helped build England’s newest Test batting sensation.

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Cricket Show S7 Episode 43: Blockers and Bowlers

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe talk about playing and coaching cricket.


The topics this week start by talking about how much of a "system" you need to be effective at coaching cricket. Then questions are answered about stopping openers blocking and how long it takes to become a good bowler.

Listen in for details.

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:

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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Can You Turn Information Overload into Better Cricket?

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Use the Magic Nets Drill to Stop Wishing and Start Improving


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: 438
Date: 2016-11-17