Pitchvision Academy


One of the biggest reasons PitchVision exists is to inspire you onto greatness. But what if part of your job is being inspirational too? This week we explore the topic.

Plus there is a drill for improving your catching under pressure and and old school game that just might make you great against spin!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Cricket Fielding Drill: Triple Pressure Catching


Use this cricket fielding and catching drill to boost your fitness, agility, catching skills and ability under pressure. More drills in PitchVision's drills section here.

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A Practical Guide to Inspiring Cricketers to Win Cricket Games

When was the last time you were inspired into cricket action?

 Perhaps, like me, your strongest memory of being inspired is from watching your heroes on TV and running out into the sun to copy their feats in your own small way. We played for hours both in real games and in knockabout matches.

Thing is, you don't have to be a superstar on TV to be inspirational.

Every week across clubs and schools, coaches and senior players are working hard to provide inspiration. They help people come back again, have fun, improve their cricket and bring some positive results.

In fact, for coaches, inspiring others is a key part of the job description. With so many other options, inspiration is your unique selling point.

So, can you inspire?


Anyone can inspire. It's not as difficult as it seems. You just need a little planning and a lot of relentlessly positive hard work. Here's how.

Deliver passionate effort

Superstar players are inspirational because we want to emulate them. We hang off their every word because we hope they can sprinkle some magic upon us too.

But for most people trying to be an inspiration, we don't have the luxury of being an international cricketer with thousands of runs and hundreds of wickets. We need something more.

(And in fact, even the greatest players of all time can only inspire for so long on reputation. Everyone need something more eventually).

That something is unwavering effort in service of others.

People love to be cared about. We all have egos that love the boost. What shows others that you care more than effort?

Of course, this effort must be genuine. People can see through you if you fake it and you can't keep up the facade for long anyway. So, find what drives you and give you energy and do it as much as you can.

Here are a few examples,

  • Stay in touch with people with personal conversations, ideally face to face.
  • Write session plans and distribute them to the team.
  • Be the first at training to set up the drills.
  • Offer to work with players one to one if they are struggling on something specific
  • Read up on the latest in coaching, teamwork, tactics and technique, and offer summaries to your team.
  • Keep the team averages up to date.
  • Record your team's matches.
  • Video training sessions and analyse performance
  • Be the fittest person on the team and tell others how you did it.
  • Enjoy talking to people about themselves and get good at listening more than instructing.

The common thread of all these actions is that you are helping others. They are not compulsory, but people will quickly notice how much you care and will be motivated.

If you are lucky they might even work a bit harder too! That's the ideal and it works often.

I mention luck here, because the trouble with inspiration from selfless action is that it is unreliable.

You could do every single thing in the list above and some people will still not be inspired. In fact, they might even be hostile towards your actions.

I had this experience as a coach with a player a while back.

I was new to the team and putting in a huge effort to inspire the guys. I was doing most of the list above. It was leaving me tired every day, but I could see the shoots of inspiration coming through.

Even here, a couple of players were staunchly against my work. One told me he thought it wasn't worth coming to training because I wasn't helping him get any better. In his mind, that is the coaches job and anything that doesn't directly help with this is a waste of time.

In reality, I could not have been doing much more to try to help. What he wanted was impossible to deliver: instant improvement by doing the same things he had always done.

He wasn't really looking for coaching, just someone to blame when he did poorly.

And the fact is, you will always experience moments like this when you try to inspire because people are people, not programmable robots! Some will be enthused and inspired by what you do, while others will reject any efforts; no matter what.

The real skill here is to keep working to inspire as much as you can, while accepting that it doesn't always work. That is the balance of a cricket life in service.

Eventually, most people will learn to trust you because they see they have your best interests at heart.

Keep that in your mind and you will never lose the motivation and energy to inspire.

Humility is strength

Tied to this is the ability to stay humble because, despite what your ego tells you, people love a bit of humility.

And they can't stand egomaniacs!

You could strut around pretending you are the best ever and telling everyone what to do because you are never wrong. That only works if you are really never wrong. The moment you are wrong you lose trust, inspiration and probably friends.

It's far better - and far more difficult - to admit your errors. It's far better - and far more difficult - to say that you don't know everything. It's far better - and far more difficult - to open up and ask for help.

This humility is what truly inspirational people practice all the time.

It makes you seem human. It shows that you are open to learning new things. It builds trust in others that you can speak openly and honestly because it is the hard thing to do.

It's tough because we all have a part of our mind that does not want to admit weakness and failure. We want to be the best we can be and falling short of that is hard to accept.

Get over that hump and it's easy. Try some of the following:

  • Ask questions rather than tell people what to do.
  • Admit when you made a mistake ask people how to do it differently next time.
  • Ask others what they think you could do to help them more
  • Tell others when they are better at something than you. Ask for advice on how you can improve your skills.
  • Make time to do jobs that your ego might consider "beneath" you; like cleaning up the changing rooms or selling raffle tickets to boost the club's profits.
  • Make it clear you are always looking to improve and never satisfied with where you are.

These are practical components of a simple philosophy: Stay humble.

The tough part is to get past your own reluctance. There will be moments you fail in this. But with the right attitude and enough simple actions, you will get there.

There are few things more inspirational than humility.

Combine this with passion and hard work and you have a simple - but not easy - formula for inspiring people into cricket. In the long run, it's really not about your feats on the field, but about these simple ways to create a team spirit that keeps people self-motivated.

Have fun, stay motivated and keep inspiring!

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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.

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Improve Batting Against Spin with Old-School Stump Cricket

Learning how to play spin can be great fun. A lot of players don't put the hard work in to becoming good players of spin as they feel that it involves thousands of dull repetitions of the same drill over a significant amount of time.

Cricket Show S8 Episode 31: The Gather

Mark Garaway, Sam Lavery and David Hinchliffe on cricket. This show focuses on bowling as the team discuss the gather in the bowling action and the daily routine of fast bowlers.

Remember to follow PitchVision Academy for free bonus content.

Listen for the details.


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: 475
Date: 2017-08-18