Pitchvision Academy


The first newsletter of 2017 takes over at full pace. We talk scoring singles, bowling fast, hiting hard and playing professionally.

The standard has been set, let's raise our games this year!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

This Year Turn More Dots into Singles

Here’s why you should never underestimate a single.

Sure, the six gets the headlines. The four is a bold statement. Doubles and triples are rare creatures. The single is more glorious than them all.

Is there anything more cheeky than dropping a good ball at your feet and calling through an easy run? I know there are few things more sublime than a hitting boundary followed by taking an easy pushed single to the man on the rope. The classiest of fives.

It’s wonderful because it demonstrates total control of the situation: The bowler puts a man out, you hit the ball through for one. The spinner moves a fielder from midwicket to square leg so you roll it into the gap.

It’s cricket as pure art.

But the single is about even more than subtle skill.

It’s infinitely better than a dot, yet easier to get than a boundary.

And the more dots you turn into ones, the more you win games of cricket because singles seem to have this halo effect where the more you score them, the more your score increases beyond them.

For example, last cricket season my club scored from 32% of the balls faced (50 over limited over games). On the games where less than 68% of ball were dots, the average score rose by 25 runs. Most of those 25 runs came in singles because the number of boundaries stayed about the same.

I’m not sure why this happens, but it clearly happens. My best guess goes back to the start of this article: The single means control of the game. When you are in control you feel confident to score more runs.

So, if you want an easy way to win more games, practice scoring more singles, then go about making it happen.

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Improving Technique to Bowl Faster

Sam Lavery, Head of Portsmouth Grammar School Cricket Academy, talks about bowling fast.

Over the past couple of months the fast bowling squad at The Portsmouth Grammar School have been considering how they can improve their speed.


With speed being one of our main areas of focus in the off season, we’ve approached our development from a few different angles.

Fitness development plays a big part, and completing their weekly gym sessions underpins their strength, power and body control.

Regular crossover sessions and exercises are great, these apply power development principles to a more bowling specific environment (eg. med balls and weighted cricket balls).

And then finally, technical development; improving alignment, movement patterns, synchronisation and sequencing. More specifically,

  • Fast controlled approach
  • Pre turn of the back foot
  • Long delivery stride
  • Front foot heel strike
  • Locked front leg
  • Delayed bowling arm (creating a stretch reflex action)
  • Shoulder and body angle at release

Given the above list, consider this thoughts and sequence of events:

  1. The locked front leg is one of the most difficult elements of fast bowling to achieve. However, undoubtedly does have a direct impact on resultant ball speed.
  2. Locking the front leg is largely a result of a front foot heel strike. Striking with the heel first and toes up, puts your leg in a position where it’s going to be straighter at first impact. Whilst also increasing to likelihood of the posterior chain firing, which can limit any subsequent flexion that does occur.
  3. Front leg bracing is also the result of a long delivery stride, extending the front leg towards, and some cases beyond a 45 degree impact angle. The closer to vertical the front leg is, the more likely the forces at impact will cause the knee to buckle and bend. Extending the stride closer to 45 degrees at impact, will discourage the knee from flexing.

So the likelihood of achieving a heel strike is increased by a long delivery stride.

While the chance of a long delivery stride is largely a result of run up speed.

While I’m not going to point to run up speed as the silver bullet of speed development and fast bowling - chasing a single solution to all problems is a long road you don’t want to go down - you can see the impact it has in contributing to a number of other well recognised factors of speed generation.

Improving run up speed

So how do we improve our approach speed? Is it a simple as bringing in a sprint coach alone, or reading upon running technique?

Well, in my opinion no.


While a sprint coach will almost certainly be useful, are they going to be equipped to deal with cricket specific skills: running with a ball in hand, holding focus on bowling the ball and moving into pre j-mp transition of arms and legs into the jump and load up? For me it sounds like something of a crossover of roles between the sprint coach and the bowling coach.

In my next article I’ll be discussing the ways we can develop this speed. But arguably more importantly, challenge the approach to retain the all important balance and body control that’s vital as we reach take off.

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Julian Wood: PitchVision Coach of the Month

Julian Wood is the PitchVision Coach of the Month.

He was chosen from dozens of nominations across the cricket world for his innovative work with attacking batting and power hitting.

Wood is a former Hampshire cricketer who moved into coaching after he retired. That’s not especially unusual, but he had an experience in America that changed everything.

After working with baseball hitters and hitting coaches in Texas, Wood realised that the techniques of hitting home runs could easily be adapted to six hitting in cricket. If anything, the fact that a cricket bat is 25% larger than the same tool in baseball makes it easier!

As Twenty20 was taking off, Wood found himself sharing ideas with cricket coaches and players in England. They all wanted more power. Before long he was working with professional county cricket clubs as a power hitting specialist, taking baseball hitting into the short format.

In the last year, cricket has begun to progress even faster. So, Wood has not stood still. He continues to develop power hitting but now his philosophy goes deeper. He calls himself an attacking batting specialist and works on more than clearing the ropes. In recent times he has taken cues from the Irish sport of hurling and admitted he has not coached a defensive shot for a very long time.

Wood works with young cricketers at Bradfield College in the UK and acts as a freelance coach to the professional T20 franchises and the ECB player pathway talents.

It’s clear that Wood is not only a passionate, hard working coach but also one who is constantly iterating and innovating to drive the game forward. He is a worthy winner.

Find out more about Julian Wood’s coaching, click here.

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Mark Garaway's Coaching Highlights (Part Two)

Last week I gave you the first part of my highlights of 2016.

Here are the the rest of my favourites from my top coaching year to date.

Become A Cricketer: What A Talent Scout Looks For At Trials

This is an exclusive excerpt from How to Become A Cricketer, from IPL Coach Monty Desai. For more information about the videos and eBooks, click here.

When we are looking for players at cricket trials there are some important qualities beyond runs and wickets and stat figures.


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: 444
Date: 2017-01-06