Pitchvision Academy


In another great week for cricket coaching, we take a look at a range of skills. From batting timing (or not) through to bowling in the dark.

Yes, it really can help, check out Garas article!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Shot Wagon Wheels in Nets with Shot Plotter in PVC 3.6

The cricket ball tracking and video analysis app - PV-Coach - has announced it's latest version. Version 3.6 leads with a new shot plotting feature.

PVC 3.6 is the app that runs PitchVision's ground-breaking smart nets. With this latest version, batsman can create wagon wheels of their net sessions with the shot plot report.


The new report works seamlessly with the existing reports, matching wagon wheels with line, length and pace of bowling. It also ties perfectly to the video replay of the shot.

Batsmen can work on their tactical approach with the fields set by the bowlers and everything becomes more realistic as game situations can be practiced and nets become more relevant to matches.

And of course, everything ties back to each individual player records to track progress over time. The release also contains other new features:

  • Take a screenshot of the dashboard to print or email.
  • Default session names created automatically.
  • Better options for "colour by" and pitch values.

PitchVision customers will see the update roll out next time they open PVC. To find out more about becoming a customer, click here.

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And Then There Was Light!

It's October so the winter is closing in around the UK. This causes a couple of challenges for the coaches and players at Millfield School.

 Our main undercover facility at Millfield is the Cricket Bubble. It’s a very basic, yet functional space that is lit and heated by the big fireball in the sky; the sun!

In summer, the temperatures in the bubble can climb to 45®C which makes it unsafe to use so we tend not to be in there much during the summer term. In winter, we can get to freezing point which means that we add a few base layers and, in my words echoing in the players ears, we simply “get on with it!”

At this time of year the temperature is not a problem, but the light is. So we adapt our early morning sessions to take advantage of the lighting constraints that are placed around us.

Josh came in for a bowling session on Monday, it was 06:55 and the bubble was pitch black. You could hardly see one metre ahead of you. Josh is a top order batter who is looking to develop his second skill: Legspin.

Use your practice constraints in a positive way

I asked Josh how we could use the lack of light as an advantage to us at the start of the session and he came up with the correct answer straight away (he is a very switched on boy).

“Garas, we could focus on how my action is feeling rather than where the ball goes until the sun comes up”

Spot on kiddo!

So we moved to the far end of the net so that Josh could bowl the ball from an imaginary crease next to some stumps up into a net which was 3 metres away from him.

We do a lot of this kind of practice in daylight also as it helps the bowler to focus more on what they are doing (the process). It’s far too easy to get wrapped up into the outcome when bowling over 22 yards into a target or to a batter and a mixture of process based drill work that is then tested in a more open environment is a sequence that I prefer to use then working with spin bowlers.

The benefit of dark conditions was that Josh could only get kinaesthetic feedback in the early stages of the session.

Kinaesthetic feedback

Through this process, Josh identified that his body was leaning towards the left as he went to release the ball.

He felt that his arm slot was being pulled over above the line of his head which would then have impact on the way that the ball would come out of his hand.

Then, as the sun started to come up, we were able to see how a slight realignment of his feet could be beneficial to his vertical alignment of his torso.

If the feet are blocked off (the action) then the body tends to compensate in order to propel the ball in the general direction of the stumps or batter (the reaction). In biomechanics this is an action/reaction principle.

Josh started to realign his feet in his static drills and felt that his torso was less likely to create a reverse “C” shape heading towards his left hand side as he moved through his action into point of release.

This is something that Josh is now wanting to work on for the next few weeks and knowing him, he will drill this until his body knows no other way but to remain more upright which in turn, will get his arm to release the ball the right side of perpendicular.

The light continued to get better which then gave the chance for Josh to look at some video.

I stood at the side of with the camera and Josh noted that his body weight was always falling forward in his action rather than transferring from back foot to front foot effectively.

So we then looked at starting with more of his weight on his back leg by shifting his body weight onto his back leg in his static drill. He would then transfer his weight across his base and over the top of his front leg as he heads into the release point.

After a few goes, Josh reported that he felt that he was timing his release better and that the increased transfer of weight from back foot to front foot was having a positive impact on the feeling he had as the ball came off the end of his spinning finger.



As with many players, Josh is keen to finish each session with a “barometer of progress”.

He wants to know if the drills that he has been working on and the feelings that he has had in the session are providing him with a more favourable outcome.

Josh’s development areas for the winter have been identified as increasing his ball speed whilst maintaining/developing his ability to put revolutions onto the ball.

We started by videoing Josh from the crease delivering the ball over 22 yards in his static drill.

The aim of this test was to see if the ball was going to spin. It isn’t easy for a 14 year old to propel the ball from a static drill perfectly into the right length and spin it at the same time. So this was a spin test rather than an accuracy test.

Josh was happy with that outcome. The ball consistently bit into a fairly slick surface and turned.

The Josh added in his approach. This game him the momentum to propel the ball over 22 yards and into the black target area on the pitch. This now became a barometer of spin and accuracy.

Josh didn’t hit the target every time and why should he at this age and with the intention to spin the ball hard? But, interestingly, when he missed, he missed by only a little bit.

This encouraged Josh and he went away from the session with enhanced confidence that the drills he is working on are helping him to gradually become a more accurate and impactful leg spin bowler.

So, don’t give up and go home if the lights (or the sun) goes out: Use whatever constraints you have around your practice environment to shape a positive learning experience. Just like Josh.

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How to Handle the Timing Trap with Your Batting

How do you improve your timing without stressing about it?


One practice trap club players fall into is worrying about timing. Of course, timing is important, but only when it doesn’t becoming distracting to improving your batting.

Here’s what happens.

There you are at off season training; it’s months from the season beginning and the surface is very different from the outdoors. You get a half volley and go to drive it, mistiming it and hitting it in the air into the net.

The bowler is jubilant. “That’s out!” They cry. You can’t argue. The coach tells you to hit it along the ground (as if you didn’t know).

Your timing is off.

How you respond next tells you if you are in the timing trap or not.

Mindset is more important than timing

It’s not really about the mistimed shot, but about your reaction to it.

Some cricketers respond with anger or frustration. They get distracted by the lack of timing and start trying to hit everything. They have fallen for the trap.

Others become despondent. They wonder if they have lost the small amount of ability they had. They walk out the net after their session and say “that was a waste of time, I think I actually got worse”. They have fallen for the timing trap.

A third type respond in a positive manner.

This person might say something like,

  • “That’s interesting, I wonder why that happened, let me try again”
  • “Great, I know I have work to do but what a chance to beat this challenge!”

For cricket players in the timing trap, this sounds like crazy talk. How can anyone be so aggressively positive in the face of abject failure?

For those standing above the hole looking down on the guys in the trap, this is the only sensible response. It’s perfectly normal. Why would you think anything else?

Working on useful batting skills

Of course, whatever your mindset, your goal is still to improve that timing and get the nice feeling of hitting the middle of the bat.

So how do you stay out of the timing trap and get to work?

First, stay focused on the most useful task.

Before you even walk into a net, you should know exactly why you are netting. If it is to get your timing seven months before the season begins on an indoor pitch perhaps you need to rethink your plan.

There might be more important things to do.

When I am coaching players in nets, I encourage them to stay focused on other key points:

  • Do you know how you play when you are at your best?
  • Do you know if anything is different from that at the moment?

For batsmen, this is things like footwork, balance and bat swing. These things do not vary much no matter what the bowler or surface.

These are things you can work on by reviewing the videos from PV/VIDEO, drilling, and netting again until you are getting into good positions.

That way, even if you are mistiming the ball, you are still getting most of your game in place, which is perfectly acceptable as a starting point.

You might still say you want timing over all these things.

That’s fine too. I get it.

Especially during the season, when you want timing to be the main thing.

You can still avoid the timing trap.

“Variability” and “constraints” are helpful

Working on timing in nets is tough, even with a growth mindset, but there are two ways to do it: Variability and constraints.

Variability is easy.

In cricket nets it means mixing up the length, pace, bounce and deviation of the ball so you can never quite be sure of ideal timing.

That sounds very much like a traditional net!

This approach leads to a lot of failure of timing as you learn slowly to adapt your game every ball. This is much harder than in a a real match where bowlers bowl in overs and spells on wickets that largely stay the same through the match.

So, you can respond with frustration or you can respond with determination. The latter - especially if you track the results - will see you steadily improve the adaptability of your timing.

Playing in games becomes easier as you feel yourself improve.

The second way to improve timing is with constraints.

In a net with bowlers, there is not a huge amount you can do to constrain your batting (that’s one of the big problems I have with nets; it frees you up mentally from match pressure).

But you can do a few things.

  • Change the surface (make it faster or slower, higher or lower bounce).
  • Change the ball (make it swing or spin more, make it smaller or lighter, increase or decrease the pace).
  • Change the bat (use a thinner, heavier or lighter bat).

Each option constrains the way you play slightly.

That might be a bit more difficult (like a thinner bat) or it might require more focus (like a slower delivery that moves more off the pitch). The key point is, you make training timing as hard as possible so you force yourself to adapt.

Again, the chance of failure is high: You need to have the right frame of mind and, ideally, a way of monitoring how you do so you can improve session to session. PV/ONE is ideal for this kind of monitoring.


  • Timing can be a distraction unless you approach practice with a positive mindset.
  • Before timing, worry about other aspects of your technique.
  • Use variability and constraints to build better timing.
  • Use video and review as much as possible to stay focused and in a growth frame of mind.

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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: 483
Date: 2017-10-20