Pitchvision Academy


The Coach of the Year Awards are the only worldwide award that recognises the incredible work of cricket coaches. PitchVision is proud to take part. Read below for details.

Plus there are articles on hitting sixes, bowling at nets and growing the "will to win".

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Coming Soon: Coach of the Year

The Coach of the Year Awards are the only worldwide award that recognises the incredible work of cricket coaches.

The awards, that are entering their third year, are the pinnacle of coaching achievement, providing an incredible incentive to coaches to develop excellent teams and individuals, from every point on the cricket compass.

The Coach of the Year (CotY) Awards are noted for taking open nominations. This means all coaches: grassroots, semi-pro and fully professional, can be rewarded for excellence in any cricket environment.

The annual CotY awards are presented at a glittering ceremony where the winners are presented with a suitable trophy for their excellent achievements in the previous 12 months. Winners have included every level of coach.

Coaches from anywhere in the world can be nominated through the PitchVision website by any fan, player or other coach. The nominations are pored over and compared by the CotY panel. The panel whittles hundreds down to a dozen, and eventually down to the overall winners.

The final shortlist for the 2017 awards will be announced soon.

Stay tuned to pitchvision.com for all the details, analyse, profiles and the announcement of the big winner!

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How to Make the Most of Bowling at Club Nets

At training it’s easy to “just bowl” for long periods. This is useful for batsmen, but not good for you as a bowler.

For bowlers at cricket nets, it’s crucial that you self-manage and not bowl for the sake of bowling. This might mean working together within a small group in the session or even having periods of different (or even zero) activity. As long as it is serving the interests of your bowling.

So, here are some ways to combat that tendency to bowl for hours, reduce your chance of injury and give you a better chance of improving your skills.

Strength and conditioning

Use any of these drills at practice to improve bowling pace and reduce injury risk without changing action.

  • Foam rolling
  • Medicine ball partner throws or single person slams
  • Standing long jump and high jump
  • Squats and lunges
  • Push ups and rows (with dumbbell)
  • Band shoulder exercises
  • Run up speed/distance sprints
  • Dynamic stretches

These can be done in a circuit (one set of each exercise for 30 seconds, stretch for 30 seconds) to improve leg, core and shoulder strength alongside stamina. You can count how many rounds you do to track fitness improvements.

The can also be done in “downtime” between drills that are lower in activity (such as when bowling in overs in nets).

You can also work on pace improvements with overweight/underweight ball bowling (not at a batsman).

Technical drills

It’s hard to alter bowling action in nets. However, you can reinforce good habits with technical drills. You do not need to alter technique to benefit from improvements in pace and accuracy associated with these drills.

These drills are low physical effort, but are useful for downtime moments.

  • Run up into bound: run through cones.
  • Take off: jump over cones.
  • Tent peg 1: Back foot contact (static and dynamic).
  • Tent peg 2: Front foot contact (static and dynamic).
  • Tent peg 3: Release (static and dynamic).
  • Tent peg 4: Follow-through
  • Band-resisted bowling

If working in pairs on groups, you can video actions to further discuss and analyse areas for improvements. Don’t be afraid to stop activity if it is to discuss and review things.

Skill drills

This set of drills are designed to directly improve skills rather than technique (mainly accuracy). They are best done without a batsman.

  • Target bowling at cones or on PitchVision. Track outcomes.
  • Experimental bowling: working on something that is not currently a skill such as an in-swinger or yorker.
  • Caught and bowled: bowl and take a catch.
  • Spinners and keepers: bowl at a target and have keepers nicking to each other.

Advanced net bowling drills

These are games that you can play in nets to work on your “combat” skills, batter vs. bowler. As much as the situation allows, bowl in overs. If you find you have to wait to bowl, remember there are other drills available. Or you can use the time to video others and review performances.

  • Agree a match scenario with the batsman and take each other on in nets. Winner has a forfeit!
  • Middle practice with set scenario (no net).
  • Battle zone cricket

Possible scenarios are: batsman trying to survive and thrive, middle over strike rotation and death overs. Come up with whatever points system or game motivates you to work on that skill and get to work.

In net situations, it’s important not to fall into the habit of “just bowling”. Keep the number of balls you bowl to the number you need to bowl to make an improvement.

Then go into battle with a clear goal in mind.

Review and Analysis

Training downtime between drills is also a great time to do a “review drill”. Either self-analysis or with the coach or another bowler. You can use video footage taken in the session or just discuss it with an aware observer. You can put it in writing or just talk.

  1. Ask what happened (both helpful and hurtful to your game).
  2. Think of reasons why it happened.
  3. Plan what you will do next time to develop further.

This can be completed in five minutes, during the session or right after it.

You might look at a strength and decide to improve it further, or look at a weakness that you can iron out or hide. The point is, you are identifying something specific that you can go to work with.

Summary: Growth mindset

Naturally, you will also want to join in with the batting and fielding work that is going on. This is also fine.

There are many options for useful an enjoyable things to do at nets. It’s your responsibility to have a growth mindset when you walk in the door. Use the drills instead of defaulting to “having a net”.

The former is harder and takes more brain effort.

It will result in much better results to your cricket, and more satisfying training sessions. And that, after all, is why we come to training in the first place!

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More Sixes Are Raining Down Than Ever: Here's How to Join the Cricket Revolution

Since Twenty20 began, the rate of six hitting has risen by 20%.The trend for power hitting in unmistakable.

How do you get in on this rope clearing action?

Sixes are not just for the pros. Even the smallest youngster can improve power. Here are a few ways.

Be patient

The first thing to remember is everyone is different. Some players take more time to work out the big shots than others.

It helps if you are naturally bigger and stronger of course, but there are plenty of example of smaller cricketers who use timing and technique to clear the rope.

So, never despair, you will get there with the right amount of work, determination and patience.

Strengthen your base

Whatever your base strength, it helps tremendously to put more power into your swing.

Naturally, technique is crucial because power without efficiency is useless. That said, efficiency without power is much harder to get right. Both combined is a superb recipe.

So what kind of strength training should you do for power hitting?

  • Get relatively strong in base exercise movements: squatting, hip hinge, pushing and pulling.
  • Transfer this base of strength into power with medicine ball throws.

Naturally, you can get stronger without doing this. There are plenty of ways - the easiest being to have naturally strong and big parents - but this is the most effective method when done consistently.

Find your range

While you are hitting the gym (or doing a few press ups), you can also find out about your hitting power with some range hitting.

So, get out of nets and try and hit some sixes in different areas from gentle throws from the coach or a team mate. Try hitting straight as well as on the leg side.

This takes some guts if you are still learning. You might mess it up totally and look a fool. You might hit it as hard as you can and it is nowhere near a six. You might do this for several sessions. It's frustrating and inconsistent. You will want to give up and call yourself a stylish touch player instead.

But if you are serious about sixes, you can't leave it to chance and luck - especially if you are naturally smaller than big hitting guys - so keep at it.

It's going back to that point about determination. Those that make the difference are those that keep at it until they find a way. Life, and cricket, is not easy. But it's worth it in the long run!

Develop your technique

However well you did when you tried hitting, you can improve with some technical work.

The best way to do this is through trial and error. Power hitting is different from traditional batting. you have to learn a new way that is mainly based on getting speed into the hands by using your body. Try and find something that works for you as different people work in different ways. That said, there are some things that tend to work for most:

  • Hit from a balanced position with head still. Ideally, both feet are on the ground.
  • Drive your back hip through first, then the hands follow.
  • Aim to make contact earlier than you would if you were timing the ball along the ground.

A common mistake is to play traditional cricket shots but try to hit the ball harder. You end up losing balance and body shape. Any power you have gets lost and you end up swinging hard with no real method. Avoid this.

Work on ways to use your body to get maximum power into your hand speed (how fast your hands holding the bat move through the swing).

If you want more details, coaches like Julian Wood can coach you. he does a great job with the pros. But honestly, you can do most of the work yourself with experimentation and a growth mindset.

Look for the rope

If determination, strength and technique come first, the final piece of the jigsaw is intent.

The biggest reason the six percentage has grown in pro cricket is that guys are going for it more often. They don't fear failure because they know where and how to hit the ball. They can clear the ropes by so much it doesn't matter about fielders.

You can take this attitude with a slight variation depending on your game. You can still hit with intent, but you can look to clear the infield. A good tip is to aim for a one bounce four over the head of someone fielding in the ring. If you miss hit that you will probably get away with it. If you get it out of the middle, it's six.

The point is this: whatever trick, method or technique you use is fine if it gets the ball over the rope.

More important is the mentality you bring to it: Never give up, work harder and smarter and be prepared to go for it. It's the only way to develop your long game.

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Cricket Show S8 Episode 12: Motivation

Mark Garaway and Sam Lavery talk about motivation in cricket, especially related to this article.

Can You Grow a Will to Win in Your Cricket Team?

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “wanted it more”.

It pops up in cricket post-match interviews when a result is unexpected. Ireland beating Pakistan in 2007 is one example.

Is it a meaningless cliché or truth?


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: 458
Date: 2017-04-14