Pitchvision Academy


Arun Lal's impressive coaching nabs him the coach of the month award. We also look at bowling and fixing the issue of "falling away" for seam up bowlers and getting more wickets with net bowling.

Plus, improve your strike rotation and disintegrate the opposition's innings. Not bad for a week!

Have a great weekend.

David Hinchliffe

Coach of the Month: Arun Lal

According to the Coach of the Year panel, Arun Lal is the deserving winner of Coach of the Month.

The former Indian international has been coaching since he retired from cricket. This alone sets him above many peers, but it's his coaching philosophy that was impressive to the panel.

Arun has developed his coaching over the years. At first he looked at the elite level, wanting to pick the best players to turn into Test cricketers. He took on 200 boys to his academy with the plan of whittling down the numbers to a handful of talents.

He quickly realised that there was no point in dropping players in his quest for the best. In fact, he worked out it was better to coach as many youngsters as possible.

Arun's experience taught him that people develop at different rates. Some bloom late while others will never become professional players but can reach their own best level and enjoy the game through their life.

In fact, it is this focus on the wider benefits of sport for everyone that makes Arun such an excellent coach. He speaks of the coach’s role to help players enjoy sport first as performance will no doubt follow.

Arun focuses on individual development, letting his charges grow naturally by creating the right environment. Gone are the days of judgemental coaching. While he still draws on the wisdom of ages for younger players, Arun helps players without a rigid textbook.

One of his many brilliant sayings is that cricketers should befriend failure. He is clear that if you don't fail you don't learn. Dealing with failure is part of the sport. In fact, Arun is so clear about this that he rates the ability to work hard, enjoy cricket and believe in yourself higher than cricket talent itself.

It's there ideals that allow Arun to be a superb coach regardless of the players in front of him. His open mind, focus on the wider benefits of cricket and sheer joy he imbues into his players make him a great choice for Coach of the Month.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to Fix Falling Away in Fast Bowling

Falling away - or lateral flexion - is a common issue with fast bowlers.

Most coaches and players can spot the issue easily. But can (and should) you fix it?


There is no doubt it is a fault compared to the template fast bowling action. It can cause issues from loss of pace all the way up to serious injury. But it's not a done deal that you should correct it every time. Let's look at some cases.

What is falling away?

Lateral flexion happens at the point a bowler releases the ball. You can see an example here:

You can see the pink line going up their back has an angle in it. The bowler's head is over to the off side.

The green line is the ideal position of the back. So the head is over the front foot when the ball is released.

This matters because it allows you to both get more pace into the ball, and reduces your chance of injury to your lower back. If a bowler complains about a sore back, falling away is often the culprit.

So we should fix it then?

Not always.

Before you barrel in to try and overcome this flaw, think about;

  1. Do I need to fix it?
  2. Can I fix it?

If you are an adult club player bowling injury free and have both suitable pace and accuracy then there is not much point in making a change. It will take a long time and a lot of effort to fix for a minimal return.

On the other hand, if you are a young, ambitious bowler wanting to move up the ranks you have better motivation. You can change things more quickly. The investment in injury prevention and getting faster gives you a much better return.

Remember, big changes can take a lot of time, effort and frustration. Before focusing on technique, think about outcomes (bowling speed, back pain) and then decide if is worth committing the large amount of time it takes.

If you can, read on!

What causes falling away?

Falling away is a result of something else rather than an issue in itself. So, as Mark Garaway often says, go backward in the action until you find the root cause.

There are a couple reasons for it:

  • A kink in your run up.
  • The bowling arm not going back straight (not "grabbing the sightscreen" as bowling guru Ian Pont puts it).
  • Trying to "brush the ear" and ending up leaning to get your bowling arm high.

Video yourself bowling in games and in practice (from behind) to work out which of these is the root of the trouble. You can then apply your drilling to the cause, and not be scattergun in your fixes.

What drills correct falling away?

There's no doubt that Steffan Jones is the king of the bowling corrective drills and I give full credit to Steff for the ideas here. He has tried more drills than I have had hot dinners!

You can drill in bowler sessions and in normal nets. The former leads to faster lock in of your new habit but if nets are the only option you can sneak in some work.

To fix a run up kink, place cones out to create a "railway track" (another Ian Pont term) that restricts you from jumping in at the last minute.

When you first try this, you may well feel off balance. This is because your feet want to align towards fine leg and you are encouraging a straighter alignment. The picture below shows the difference between alignments in pink and green:

To counter this, you can drill to get the feel of a balanced and aligned foot position at the crease. My favourite way to do this is Steffan Jones' sequence here:

You don't need to do every drill - especially if you do not have the equipment - but the key is letting your body learn it can stay balanced with feet alignment to off stump.

And in fact, these "sequencing" drills also help with your bowling arm position.

The eventual outcome - after starting with static positions and moving up in speed until at full pace - is a straighter back and no more comments about falling away!

How difficult is it to change?

Letting your body learn how to move through this sequence in order is a hard habit to establish.

Get it out of sequence and you quickly end up falling away again. That can be frustrating.

However, your ability to learn an aligned and balanced bowling action depends on letting go of "trying" to do it, and just let your body work it out for itself.

Brain scientists have long known that the subconscious mind is where the body learns to move. It's how babies teach themselves to walk without any corrective drills or coaching! When your conscious mind tries to help out by criticising errors and looking to correct mistakes, it shows you are not trusting your own ability to learn.

Of course it still takes time to learn a new habit and prevent falling away. But the big secret is not that you need fight for hours with corrective drills, but that you need to build an environment where your body can work things out for itself.

Trust the process, do the drills, take as long as it takes and don't sweat it. You'll get there if you let yourself!

Let us know how you go.

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Batting Tip: Rotate the Strike with Auto-Singles

Keep the scoreboard ticking with this simple trick.


We all have heard the moans from our team that we did not rotate the strike enough. It's tricky to measure but we often get a feel for runs missed and runs pinched as an innings goes on.

Miss a few and frustration sets in. Mistakes happen.

Nab a couple and the fielding side start getting cross. The average final score slides upwards.

The team I coach are getting pretty good at it, so I feel we are in a position to offer a tip to sides who need work in this area. In 50 over limited over games, we rotate the strike - on average - 18 balls more than the opposition (and that equates to about 25 more runs a game). We also pick up 13 "stolen singles" a game.

(More on these stats and how we capture them another time, but PV/Match is a big help here)

What's the trick to more strike rotation?

Automatic singles are easy

Auto-singles are the ones where you know you can get a run as soon as you see it. No need to judge or call as the whole thing is decided beforehand.

Here are some examples:

  • Hitting towards the non-striker, who has to dodge to avoid the ball.
  • Hitting to the weaker hand of a specific poor fielder.
  • Getting an inside edge straight down, so the ball trickles away from close fielders.
  • Getting hit on the pads with the keeper standing back.
  • Taking on the arm of a weak thrower.
  • If the keeper has to dive down the leg side and is unable to gather cleanly.

The trick is simple, get together as a batting partnership when you are in the middle and decide what will be your automatic pick up areas.

The trust each other to call it.

The trust part is the most difficult, but as your team bat together more, they get to understand each other.

You can play safe at first then build in more sneaky runs as time goes on.

Nets for auto singles

You can learn "on the job" with auto-singles, but what if you want to practice it too?

It's hard to get right in middle practice as fielders tend to try less hard, but you can do it in nets too: Mark areas on the net where weaker fielders are standing then bat in pairs. You can practice calling and running if any of the above auto-run moments happen.

It's not perfect, but it does ties calling and running into a net situation so you can get used to the basics (And get a bit of specific running fitness in too.

Do a bit of this practice, add some focus during game time and see your batting strike rotation score shoot up!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

Take a Wrecking Ball to the Opposition's Innings

Most people think you need a demon pace bowler with pace or a wily spinner to run through a team. The real way to destroy things is to use the wrecking ball in the opposition's head. Batting collapses are mental.

Improve Your Bowling by Working on One Wicket at a Time

Nobody can ride two horses at once.

That’s an old cowboy saying, and it’s equally true when it comes to your cricket. It means to get good at something, you need to focus on that one thing.


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.


Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 474
Date: 2017-08-11