Pitchvision Academy


Scoring is high on everyone's minds at the moment for a lot of reasons. It's becoming scoring, analysis and entertainment all in one! Get more details below.

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Use Digital Scoring to Make Things Faster and Easier: Here's How

The benefits of going digital have never been greater.

For the first time in history, it's a straight choice between old fashioned paper scoring and using a laptop or tablet to score. Both have advantages, but the clear winner is digital.

Let's be honest, if you have read this far, you are probably already nodding your head. The Luddites will be gone. But perhaps you need some convincing and guidance to get you off the paper trail and into the virtual scorebook.

Why digital scoring?

Years ago, computers were unreliable, heavy and difficult to use unless you knew your stuff. Old laptop scoring software worked well but the devices made it such a pain to use that most of us stuck to pen and paper.

Now it's different.

Everyone has a tiny trusted computer in their pocket thanks to the smart phone. Laptops and tablets are lightweight, long-lasting and trusted to be used by even the least technical people. They just work.

And that opens the door to some incredible advantages over paper.

My favourite is speed through simplicity.

Scoring, as we know, is surprisingly stressful to keep up if a lot happens. Even a standard run needs to be entered in triplicate with a paper system. Then a wicket falls and all hell breaks loose. That's before some character wanders up to ask you how close Simon is to his fifty and how many balls Amrit faced.

Digital scoring takes all that away. You tap a button for runs. You tap a couple of buttons for wickets. It happens in mere seconds and you are done.

If you are the type to get stressed out, using a computer to score is a zen experience.

If you are the type who wants to keep busy, you can use the extra time to make pitch maps and wagon wheels on the fly. The players and coach will be delighted and you are still keeping an accurate record of every ball.

Getting started

But lets get back to basics: How do you enter this brave new world?

It's very simple.

You'll need a laptop or tablet, and PV Match app to score.

Open it up and start scoring.

That's all there is to it!

Of course, there are some things that can help you along the way too.

You will need power. Most devices these days have amazing battery life but to be safe, make sure you are close to either a power outlet or a battery pack to recharge.

You need a backup. There is always the chance something will go wrong - although I have scored two seasons worth of games on a device with no issues -so cover your back. Some people use paper in addition to digital. Others rely on their scoring partner from the opposition like in the good old paper days. Whatever it is, know what to do if something goes wrong.

But the key point is this: Digital scoring is not just an option for determined geeks anymore. It's faster, more reliable and easier than pen and paper.

Get started and you will not regret it.

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Case Study: Use Bowling Strike Rate to Get More Runs

Good batting sides build innings. And that means having nous.

 You can boost this knowledge by analysing strike rate stats. This is something PitchVision have been doing all season with a club side. The team, McCrea West of Scotland, have played 14 matches (50 over), winning 11 with an average score (batting first) of 210-7.

But there's far more we can do than look at the team total and assume 210 will win you most games.

We can analyse how these innings were built to better understand how to improve further and avoid fatal mistakes.

Why strike rate?

The team's strike rate (balls per wicket lost) is important because it gives us an insight into how many balls a partnership is likely to last. This gives us a benchmark: Work out how to make the number bigger and you end up with the highest runs you can achieve against any given team on any given pitch.

In this case study, the overall strike rate (SR) was 36.39. That's a wicket falling every 36 balls.

This was done at at a Rate per Ball (RpB) of 0.72. Meaning the average runs per wicket was 26.26.

Do you know the same for your team?

Do you know what effect this has on your overall score?

In our example, when the team did below average on strike rate, the final score dropped to 170, and the chance of winning fell to just 50%

When the strike rate was above average, the final score rose to 225, and the team never lost!

Of course, batting teams don't normally look at bowling strike rate. Taking the time to work it out will give you insights other teams have not considered. In a world where every 1% counts, this could be the deciding factor.

Strike rate by phase

The overall rate is a great starting point, but to find out even more we need to break things down further.

Here's the SR and runs scored broken down into each 10 over stage of the match:

As you imagine, the deeper in the game, the more the run rate increase and the SR decreases. Batsmen both tend to take more risks and be lower down the order as the game goes on. This means wickets fall more often at a trade, off for faster scoring.

This is expected, especially as the tactics are based on a gradual acceleration rather than hell-for-leather. Yet it also reveals some areas for improvement.

  1. The SR for overs 10-20 is out of line. Can more runs be scored by pushing SR up to where it "should" be around 43?
  2. The SR in the last 10 overs dips significantly to just 23, yet this only generates 8 more runs. Death batting certainly needs some work!

Looking at strike rates and working out why this happens allows you to build practice and tactics in a highly specific way. Instead of going into nets to vaguely hit balls, you walk with an aim in mind: If I only have a dozen balls to face on average, how am going to score from six or more, including a couple of boundaries?

Strike Rate by bowling

Another factor we can mine is the type of bowling.

Here you can see very little difference between seam up bowling and spin bowling. Spinners are slightly more effective at getting the batsmen out but only by 4 balls, and with both SR over 35, that's enough time for the average pair to score more than 20 runs and sail past 200 as a final total.

This team has avoided the dangerous part: being weaker against one type of bowling. In the league they play, spin tends to dominate, so playing spin well is a crucial skill.

It's possible to further look at types of bowling in more detail (left and right arm as well as types of shots played, scoring rates and risks taken), but that is for another time.

Strike Rate by shot

Finally, for tactical reasons, we can see SR by type of shot.

You might imagine the attacking shots have a lower SR than the defensive ones, but this chart shows it's not that simple.

Front foot attacking shots (drives, sweeps and power hits) are riskier to play but carry a much higher reward in that runs are scored 66% of the time with 19% going for a boundary (compared to 6% overall).

Back foot attacking shots like cuts and pulls carry far less risk that the front foot counterpart, but still see 64% of balls scored.

However, back foot attacking shots are played much less often partly due to the lengths bowled and partly due to batsman reluctance to play on the back foot on slow, low pitches.

Looking at this information might change the tactical approach in future.

The team could explore how often the cut and pull is put into action as it is not as risky as it seems.

Meanwhile, the defensive options are both much safer and much less likely to yield runs, as you would expect. Back foot defence is by far the safest way to play, but still gets a scoring percentage of 29% (close to the overall innings target of 35%). Front foot defensive shots are still safe, but riskier than back foot and about as risky as cutting and pulling. They are also the least likely to get runs. The average batsman scoring just 7 runs per innings from this shot.

What does this mean for batting tactics?

Playing defensively is not quite as safe as it seems unless you are on the back foot. This means batsmen can look to attack more balls, especially on the back foot and know that the overall SR will not drop.

Take this knowledge into practice and start working on ways to play more back foot attacking shots.

Strike rates improve your batting

Hopefully by now you have seen how this one example can throw up interesting areas to work on and develop your team.

It's important to use your own stats and not assume things will be the same for your team as for the example above, so plug in to PV Match to get access to scoring data quickly (that is also combined with video highlights).

Dig around like we have done here and you'll be on the way to getting the edge!

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Find Your Fielding Coaching Philosophy

I ran an ECB Level III Fielding module yesterday which is always great fun.


The cohort had a wonderful mix of coaching experience ranging from coaches who running grass root programmes through to coaches leading their teams into World Cup Qualifiers on the International Stage: An excellent opportunity to share ideas and no one has a monopoly on ideas, do they?

I always break the large group into sub groups of 5. They are tasked with discussing their personal coaching philosophy and seeing what parallels, synergies or contradictory views they have within in the group.

  1. What key points do you think underpins excellent fielding performance?
  2. What are your coaching statements which support your beliefs – One of my fielding catchphrases is “If you don’t give it a go; You will never know!” – This relates to risk taking in the field. Always have a go at a catch, if there is a 10% chance of a dive at square leg saving a run, then do it! If there is a chance of a run out then throw it. What are your fielding catchphrases?
  3. What would your fielding sessions look, sound and feel like if I came to watch you coach?

Then finally...

  1. Show me a drill that best represents what you have just told me.

After 20 minutes of discussion, a spokesperson delivers their key points and the group run their “representative fielding drill”. Its great fun.

Group 1 were brilliant yesterday. Their effervescent spokesperson delivered the key points with massive presence and passion.

Key Points:

  • Desire/Want to field/Passion/Wanting the ball
  • Fearless - Have a go, then Promote confidence. Even if someone does not succeed.
  • Huge levels of Physicality and in particular, Mobility.
  • Unity - working as a unit each ball and supporting your team mate. Fielding is not an individual game!
  • Intensity
  • Creating opportunities

Here is the fielding drill that they came up with to best represent the thoughts of the group.

Once we had watched the drill through to completion, I then asked the onlookers to assess how it looked in relation to the key elements of fielding coaching that they had heard.

Coach #1: “Spot on, they nailed it”

Coach#2: “Hit every point they came up with”

Coach#3: “Simple but perfect. That would be a good warm up or competition drill”

Me: “That drill is super simple, could be developed through progressions and was totally authentic against the key coaching points. Love it!”

Drill progressions

  1. One handed catching with preferred hand
  2. One handed non preference hand catching
  3. Bounce feeds (two hands and one hand)
  4. Ground ball feeds (two hands and one hand)
  5. Fall to ground and then pop up (using press up onto feet) half way across your transition from one cone to another
  6. Different sized balls (Small football and tennis ball being used at same time
  7. 10 perfect rounds against the clock or against another team (to build pressure).

The best drills are the simple one that you then build progressions into.

Ask your coaches or alternatively, your players to discuss their philosophies about fielding and then develop a fielding drill which best represents those thoughts.

You never know, you may learn something!

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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: 476
Date: 2017-09-01