Pitchvision Academy


The two biggest articles this week are for the batsmen: Facing quick bowling and getting back to nets after a lay off.

That said, there are also tips for bowlers on bowling more dots and coaches on developing talent and giving feedback.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Face Real Pace Bowling

Imagine batting against a paceman who can get the ball up to 150kph. No one is comfortable, not even the best.

If you get it wrong at that speed, it’s going to hurt.

Most of us will never even face that kind of pace. Yet you still feel the same discomfort. For youngsters it might be 100kph when you start to feel it. Even for adult players, 130kph (80mph) is faster than most club players.

You can’t style it out, you have to be ready, physically and mentally for the challenge, whatever the pace that you consider “quick”.

Here’s how you get there.

Warm up with technique

It’s important to have a trusted method for batting against faster bowling. You don’t have a lot of time to make a decision, so you have to trust that the first choice is the best one.

Doubt brings fear, fear brings failure.

So, before you face pace, get some technical work done with simple throws and drop feeds with soft balls. Get your movement and position drilled as best you can.

A full discussion on technique is too long to get into here, but the best players of pace all have a way of;

  • Moving in line quickly.
  • Transferring weight.
  • Driving the ball on the downswing.
  • Pulling the ball with full arm extension.

There are lots of ways to do this, and you will have your own preferences. Whatever they are, work on grooving them in the warm up until you feel you are moving well.

Overload your method

The main chunk of your session against quicker bowling is best designed to overload your method safely, and gradually improve it against faster and faster bowling.

That means nets against bowlers are not right.

Nets usually see a range of paces and a range of abilities. If you only face a quick bowler every five balls it’s hard to overload your game, especially if they bowl a lot of wides and no balls!

Instead, two of the best overload methods are;

Bowling machines are more accurate than any bowler and allow you to increase the pace against certain shots consistently.

This “lifeline” drill is an example of using a bowling machine to practice batting against much faster bowling that you are used to.

The sidearm is slightly different.

While you can still vary the pace from 80–130kph like a machine, the accuracy is not as good as the machine. On the plus side, it’s much more like facing a bowler because you get to see the approach and release.

In the hands of a good feeder, the sidearm allows you to slowly increase the pace you face until your method breaks down. It’s less technical drilling and more about being aware of how your method works against varied line and length at a consistent pace.

At my club, I use a yellow “club” sidearm to warm a batsman up, move onto the white “pro” when they look comfortable, add a run up to increase the pace, before finally moving to the pink “elite” cricket ball thrower. The pace moves up through the range.

Bowling with a Sidearm on PitchVision at 82mph

At some point, your technique fails you and you know this is your zone to work to improve. Drop the pace a little and keep going until you feel good there, then move up again.

You will be suprised how quick it gets with this “boil the frog” approach.

Head in the game

Intimidating fast bowling relies on both skill and getting into the head of the batsman, forcing errors.

If you trust your method because you have systematically tested it like above you will not worry, even when you feel uncomfortable.

You know you can defend, weave and duck.

You know you can pull and drive.

You know you can get runs.

If you are coming up against real pace soon, make sure you prepare well and feel ready with this approach.

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Back to Nets: What to do at Your First Net Session for a While

Has it been a while since you got to nets? If so, this article for you.


Many club cricketers find it hard to train: Family and work commitments - and maybe even a lack of motivation - all add up to many weeks passing without a jot of practice.

You're not alone, so don't be ashamed.

Of course, it's not ideal, but you can pack a lot in to your available time if you do the right stuff.

Turn up

Step zero is getting to nets.

We all have life away from cricket, but there are times you can get to practice. It's easy to come up with reasons not to go - it's wet, you don't like the drills the coach does, you're tired or something else - but it's always better for your chances in a game if you get tough with yourself and turn up.

For most of us, turning up is the hardest part.

Often it's down to your mindset. Guys who train more tend to have a growth mindset, so find a way to get along. Guys who train less are in a fixed mindset, fearful of looking bad because they are out of form and are looking for reason to not go.

So, use a growth mindset and get to practice as much as you can.

Focus on one thing

When you get to nets the temptation is to bowl a bit, bat a bit, take a few catches and go home.

Avoid this generalised training.

Instead, focus on something that can help you.

It really doesn't matter what it is. The point is there is always something you can use as your focus.

Here are 40 options for batsmen. Remember you only usually get 10 minutes or so in your live net, so you may as well get focused as there is only time for one thing.

You can come up with an equal number for bowlers.

When you focus on trying to improve, you get better. When you try and do a bit of everything you might just about stop getting worse. But you won't get better.

Avoid overbowling

In a two hour team net session you will end up bowling for most of it.


If you have not played for a while this is a recipe for, at best, soreness. At worse, you pick up a strain from overdoing it with muscles that have not seen action for a while.

Why risk it?

Instead, make sure you warm up before you touch a cricket ball.

Then, manage how much you bowl.

If 30 minutes bowling is enough for you then don't do more. Get in other stuff; fitness work, drills, fielding work and so on.

If you feel guilty about not bowling all session then learn to use a sidearm and use it. You don't get sore from sidearm throwing, and it doesn't matter if you bowl half volleys!

Have some fun

Sessions don't have to be all serious all the time. Cricket is supposed to be fun!

You can do other stuff at nets other than run yourself into the ground. You can take five minutes to do a drill that makes you look silly if it serves a greater good by pushing your ability. And you can laugh at each other along the way.

You can take a session where there is greater focus on reflection and rest than on a lot of activity. Sometimes, thinking about things is as important as doing things.

Maybe even "standing about" is fun, if you do it right.


  • Coming back to nets can be tough.
  • The hardest part is turning up.
  • When you can get alone, stay focused.
  • Avoid overbowling, there is plenty more you can do.
  • Most of all, enjoy yourself, whatever happens!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket Show S8 Episode 10: How to Bowl Dots

Mark Garaway and David Hinchliffe get their Director heads together to talk cricket.

David is part of a four year strategy for his cricket club and Garas has some words of wisdom from his time planning at various cricket organisations. But it's not all high falutin' goal setting.

There are also questions about keeping your head still when you bat, and bowling dots in one day cricket.


You're welcome internet!

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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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.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

Skyrocket Cricket Skills with Better Feedback

Feedback is easy to give, but hard to give well. It's worth doing well because great feedback is a powerful way to improve your cricket.

Patience is a Virtue: Working with Teenage Cricket Talent

Every now and again, a different kind of cricketing talent lands at a scholarship assessment at Millfield. This happened in January 2013 when a tallish U13 fast bowler walked into the cricket bubble.


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: 455
Date: 2017-03-24