Pitchvision Academy


In this newsletter we keep the quality content coming with advice on winning cricket matches through focus, fielding and team spirit. Plus Mark Garaway gives us insights into hi time working with Cricket Ireland as they reach Test status this week.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

How to Work out If You're a Good Fielding Team

In the 2017 BBL, it was found that the better the fielding side, the better the league position. We finally had proof that catches (and saves and run outs) win matches.

But does this apply to cricket outside the pros?


There was only one way to find out, and that is to try measuring the effect of fielding on a club team. So, during the 2017 UK summer, I have been keeping fielding impact scores for my team.

Spoiler alert: It turns out that the better the fielding side, the higher in the league you are. Here's how I came to that idea.

What is fielding impact?

The first problem was to work out how you measure fielding. I knew we had to get in catches, drops, stops, misfields, stumpings and throws for run outs. But how do you turn that into an easy to understand number of runs saved?

The very clever guys at CricViz came up with a measure called "Fielding Impact". Click here to read the details. I took the basic idea of assigning runs for each incident and adjusted the basic runs to reflect average scores in 50 over non-professional cricket.

Naturally, you could pick this method apart if you wanted. It is trying to make a prediction and predictions can never be totally right. However it seemed broadly fair in rewarding good fielding skills with runs saved, and punishing errors with runs lost. Over the course of a season, this will average out to a roughly correct ball-park figure.

Judging fielding

During our 50 over games, I then took the role of analyst: I recorded for both the team I coach and the opposition the following stats:

  • Easy catch chances
  • World-class catch chances
  • Hit or miss stumps (and run out or not)
  • Good stops and misfields
  • Stumping chances

Naturally, some things are open to interpretation. A catch is a catch but was it expected or high-class? How do you tell the difference between a stop that saved runs and a stop that didn't? There is guesswork and cricket-knowledge involved. It's imperfect.

I feel strongly that as long as the analyst is consistent as possible, over time you will get a broadly accurate picture of how a team does in the field.

The results of fielding impact

Enough theory, what were the results?

The team I coach have played, so far in 2017, 10 matches. Here are the team scores (click to enlarge):


As you can see, there is a wide variation in impact. The overall impact for the team I coach is +64 (64 runs saved in total).

This compares favourably to the BBL scores where the best impact was +25 (in a shorter format).

Meanwhile, the opposition's impact is +15.

Currently the team I coach are top of the league, and so the fielding impact reflects the league position.

It's also now possible to say, despite dropping 17 catches in 10 games, this team hare have an overall positive fielding impact and are a good fielding side.

(Although as coach, the catch rate of 67% gives us something to work on.)

Mining the data

The other big advantage of having this fielding data is you can look for areas to work on.

For example, before this year I could not have said for sure where catches were begin taken and dropped. This year I can see easily that most catches are taken in the inner ring, we barely get a chance on the rope and we only take half our slip catches. I know what we are working on in training!

You can also see who is doing well individually. Here is a breakdown of impact per player in the team (click to enlarge):

From this information we can see who needs to do more practice in certain areas. The worst fielder by impact is one of the best fielders in the team, but he dropped four catches early in the season and has yet to recover from these expensive errors! Meanwhile the top fielder has not missed a chance.

Compare this to the traditional way of judging fielding: number of catches. A safe slip catcher and keeper will usually top the table but it hides things. For example, the player with the most catches in this team is only third in the impact table. The person in second place has only take one catch so far but has made a series of good stops, performed a run out and - crucially - not made a fielding error all year.

Is fielding impact worth it?

It's a lot more work to measure fielding impact, but if you are a team serious about getting better at fielding, you can use the information to better prepare.

If you can find someone to record fielding impact, go for it. It will be worth the effort when you take that league or cup winning catch!

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The Awesome Power of Cricket Focus

The five year old shocked me.


I was standing in front of a group of keen youngsters, many at their first cricket session. Zavvi - aged five and tiny with it - was one of those kids. I asked them "what's the most important part of bowling?"

Zavvi piped up instantly.


I've got nearly 40 years of experience on this kid and he nailed it first time. What a legend. The future is bright.

Because focus is very important indeed.

You play cricket at your best when you are "in the moment". You are not concerned with anything outside your bubble of concentration. You have a single-minded flow towards your goal of runs, wickets, or fielding skills. Nothing can distract you.

The result is a better chance of success, no matter how talented you are.

This is not just wishy-washy nonsense. Even a five year old can see the benefits!

How to stay focused

Focus is easy to talk about but very difficult to gain and maintain.

Like any other skill, some are naturally better than others, but we can all improve our focus with a bit of clever practice.

How do you boost your cricket focus then?

  1. At nets, practice focus switching by consciously turning your concentration up and down.
  2. Increase the intensity of practice, and your opportunity to focus, so you never just go through the motions.
  3. In games, learn when you are losing focus. Be able to talk yourself back onto the next ball instead of worrying about the last one.

For me, this can be summed up by the phrase, "game head on".

When you have your game head on - whether in practice or during games - you are focused on the task and not distracted. You can spot when your mind drifts (it always does at some point) and know how to get back on track.

Having a game head on means you can learn from mistakes then put them aside so as not to worry about them. It means you will improve or get back to form faster because every ball counts. A game head means you are giving yourself the best chance of success.

Well done Zavvi for reminding me how important focus is, even for a five year old!

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12 Test Nations: What Your Club Can Learn from Ireland's Journey to Full Membership

Cricket Ireland and Afghanistan have been awarded Test match status by the ICC in the past week; fantastic news for both countries.


The Cricket Ireland story is personally special. It provides a fantastic example of how a clear vision and direction can result in an organisation achieving the seemingly impossible.

I have seen teams and clubs take themselves to their next level and beyond by following a very similar process.

So how have they done it and what can we learn from Cricket Irelands success?

1. Keep banging the drum

Warren Deutrom has been the man behind the vision. The Cricket Ireland CEO banged the drum for “Test Status by 2020” from my first day as Performance Director in September 2009 through to the momentous decision of last week.

Warren is the best public speaker that I have ever worked with and has been unrelenting in his belief that Ireland, would one day, become a Test Playing nation.

There were many days in my time with Ireland when I started to doubt our appropriateness for Test Status. Every time I showed an element of doubt, Warren would bang his Irish drum and my doubt instantly dissolved.

Warren’s insatiable energy and belief inspired everyone to try harder.

At club level, I was inspired by Ventnor Cricket Club Chairman, John Hilsum who worked solidly for the club to be accepted into the Hampshire Cricket League at the bottom rung of the ladder with the vision earn the right to eventually play in the Southern Premier League after 15 years of successive promotions. The club, and “Hils” achieved this after 16 years.

John and Warren took very similar and ultimately simple approaches and were relentless in their quests. Both achieving their long term outcomes.

Who is your club’s drummer?

How simple and clear is their message?

2. Co-operatition

This is a term that I have nicked from my old England U15 captain and incredible Sports Psychologist, Jeremy Snape.

Snapper introduced me to “Co-operatition” in my Ireland years. In order to achieve your goals, elements of your organisation work with each other in a highly competitive way: Each element trying to outdo another.

The great Australian Test Teams of the past were only as strong as the quality of competition within the Sheffield Shield State Cricket Competition. The West Indies had an incredibly strong inter-island competition and it lead to World dominance for 15 years.

In Ireland, there used to be 3 incredibly competitive Cricket Unions. Leinster, Northern Cricket Union and the North West Cricket Union.

Tim Simmonite (Development Manager) worked tirelessly to develop and strengthen cricket in less established areas of Ireland and soon the Munster Cricket Union started to develop players and feel more connected to the National Governing body. Tim and I headed across to the Connaught region and started to link up bodies of keen cricketers and budding coaches. The CCU was born.

Cricket Ireland now have 5 Cricket Unions who are doing some incredible things to develop talented cricketers, beautiful cricket grounds and inspirational coaches.

The competition within Inter-provincial matches, cricket development, club initiatives, the all-Ireland club cups and in youth coaching was fierce. As a result, the game grew and the quality of players coming from these regions increased at an accelerated rate.

The Co-operation element wasn’t that strong when I arrived in 2009 so it became a huge emphasis to maintain the excellent sense of competition within a more all encompassing approach.

3. Coach education

We started building an all-Ireland Coach education pathway, developing Irish Coach educators rather than relying on English ones to sporadically come over the Irish Sea and developing initiatives which would support coaches and their junior players across the Unions.

We had 1 nearly-qualified Coach educator and assessor back in 2009. By 2012 we had 17 and now there are many more. My successor, Richard Holdsworth has done a great job in building on that foundation and now there are 1000’s of coaches working throughout all the Cricket Unions.

How good is the “Co-operatition” in your cricketing organisation?

4. Build relationships

Ireland would not be a Test nation without the essential financial support from the two government based sporting organisations, Sport NI and the Irish Sports Council.

I was lucky enough to build relationships with Eamonn McCartan Sport NI CEO and his sidekick, Chris Moore as well as the Irish Sports Councils chief John Traecy. Over two years, the government supported funding increased exponentially as our systems professionalised and the International teams qualified for more World Cups and beat Full Member Countries on a regular basis.

Their support alongside main sponsors (RSA and now Turkish Airlines) have given Richard Holdsworth, Warren Deutrom and Irish Cricket more resource than ever before to invest in state of the art facilities, resources and education programmes. That funding will now be increased further as the ICC additional funding kicks in with Test Status in the bag.

Do you know all of the funding avenues available to your club of organisation? There are little pots of money available from councils, NGBs, local businesses, charities and benefactors which can be utilised for pitch maintenance, coach development, equipment and player support.

Explore all the options, develop good relationships with key external stakeholders, spread your vision, connect them to your aims and goals.

Then take those partners with you on an incredible journey. Just like Warren Deutrom, Richard Holdsworth, Suzanne Kenealy and Cricket Ireland.

Congrats to everyone involved in cricket on the Emerald Isle. My Guinness never tasted so good last week!

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Cricket Show S8 Episode 24: Accidental Great Coaching

David Hinchliffe is joined by Sam Lavery to chat about coaching and playing cricket. There are discussions about playing left arm seamers and getting a kind of cricket revenge.

Win More Cricket Games with a Realistic Code of Conduct

Winning is important but for most cricketers it's not the only thing, and that's a problem.


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: 469
Date: 2017-06-30