Pitchvision Academy


This newsletter has a focus on batting, especially if you bat at three.

But there is also a chance to help design your dream indoor cricket facility, courtesy of Mark Garaway. Scenes!

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Help Garas Design An Indoor Cricket School, And Win A Prize!

Fancy helping design a new indoor cricket centre with me?

2018 has started pretty well, but the thing which has got me most excited was a phone call asking for me to design a brand new facility at Millfield.

It’s been 17 years since I last led an indoor school design process and a lot has changed since the turn of the century!

There are so many more options available to me. You only have to look at our Campus at Millfield to see examples ranging from brick built sporting environments to our incredible Equestrian Centre to see. And that’s on the outside of the building!

So I have an outline plan that I am adding too and balancing each day.

Naturally, I have PitchVision technology lined up for each of the five lanes within the centre, and a few other things besides.

To me, there is no monopoly on ideas so I have sought far and wide for innovation and inspiration.

I have looked at best practice centres around the world, and picked the brains of some excellent coaches and players who have spent lots of time working inside centres of all shapes and sizes. Both sources have given me some great ideas and now I want to cross reference those ideas with yours.

What’s your dream?

What would consider vital for a “dream” indoor cricket centre?

And why?

The best idea that we receive on PitchVision in the comments, via twitter, on email or through our Facebook page will receive a Pitchvision Academy Online Course of their choice.

Even better, will obviously be credited if the idea ends up being incorporated into the design and the build.

You have the chance to influence the shape of a world leading cricket centre and pick up a fantastic PitchVision course in the process.

Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid idea...

I look forward to hearing from you

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What Makes a Classy Number Three Batsman?

It’s not easy being number three.


That's why most people shy away from the position. Your chances of failure are high, but the the rewards of succeeding make you the best batsman in your team: Bradman, Sangakkara, Dravid.

Whether you are forced into that position or chomping at the bit to have your chance, what can you learn from these great names that can be taken into your own game?

You’re constantly ready

You have no time to relax. You have to be ready to bat from the first ball and you still have to be ready to bat when the openers have put on a 250 opening partnership. It’s the unknown which is the worst part.

Those lucky openers know they are getting right to the task. The show-pony number four can switch off for a bit. While you have to be ready any moment. Sometimes for a long time. You have to be the battle hardened gritty warrior while still having a good looking technique.

More than any other position, you are expected to both look the best and have the strongest focus. If you mess up after an opener has made a mistake you have put your team in trouble. That’s a lot going on in your head while you sit and wait. So, build up a method of keeping you mind positive while you wait.

Being on high alert for long periods is not easy. Some people handle it better than others. Natural number threes can do it well, the rest of us might struggle a little more but even the worst “waiters” can develop a method of doing well.

You’re adaptable

Batting at three consistently requires a vast range of skills. More than any other number, so adaptability is crucial.

If early wickets fall you need to rebuild an innings, keeping risks as low as you can whilst also thriving. The longer you wait, the more you have to become the swashbuckling middle order dasher. Occasionally you even need to be an outright hitter if you find yourself batting in a powerplay or at the death.

It’s all about context.

You still have all the same shots no matter what the match situation. The difference is how you use them. Be clear on your plans for each scenario and put some practice in so you know what types of plan work best for you in different situations.

A quick side note related to this is about T20. In the short format, number three has even more options. You might be asked to bat through and score quickly, or smash the opening bowlers to all parts with abandon. Knowing your strengths and adapting to this role is even more crucial in T20.

You‘re a team player

Speaking of roles, despite batting being about you individually, cricket is also a team sport. That means “putting in a shift”.

Mostly, batting well yourself leads to the team doing better. Runs are runs after all. Determination is a powerful trait when it comes to batting. It’s not always about you though.

You may not like or agree with the plan for the innings, but you need to go with it for the good of your team spirit. You might have to go with a few other things you don’t like as well, to fit in with the culture of the team.

If you’re a clean-living tee-total fitness freak, you might have to find some ways to socialise with the rest of the side who consider the social side more important. That’s why understanding culture is important.

Know your place in the team as both a cricketer and as a person. It’s vital.

You’re fit

Fitness is about more than playing a long innings without getting exhausted. But it’s mainly about that!

Again, it's adaptability which is at the root of it all. If you can still hit a long ball and scramble a quick single on 100 not out you are the perfect player to bat at number three.

One simple way to do this is to commit to being fitter than anyone else in the team.

It’s not only helpful to batting, it fires your competitive spirit, motivates you and brings you closer to your team mates. You are setting a standard and leading the way, just like people want to see you leading the way in the middle. You gain more respect from team-mates and opponents.

There are no down sides.

You’re lucky

Most of the time you can’t do much about luck. That said, there are things you can do to have some more good luck.


Psychologist Richard Wiseman has researched into luck and found lucky people behave in certain ways: You can make luck.

You can also be more accepting of bad luck. If something out of your control happens, why worry about it? Instead focus on what you can do and enjoy the random luck you do get by taking full advantage.

Surely there are few more satisfying ways to get a big score than doing it after getting dropped on nought! With the right mindset, you can do it too.

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Here's How Much Batting Practice Cricketers Need

How many balls do you have to face to make improvements in your batting?


This question underlies most aspiring cricketer’s practice, although very few actually think about it. Mostly we are concerned with “as much as possible” without applying a method.

Let’s get the thinking done today, so we can get back to practice.

Walk 500 miles

I want to give you a number right away.

500 balls.

We know from both common sense and skill acquisition science that doing something gets you better at that thing. It’s reasonable to assume we can make a noticeable improvement in around 500 balls faced at cricket practice.

If you did something 500 times, you would be disappointed if you had not become reasonable at it. You may not be a master, but you will have confidence that you can play that sweep after 500 goes.

You can track your progress to this goal easily with PitchVision.

With a conservative estimate, a 500 ball practice takes about 10 hours of nets. You could reduce this time significantly if you focus on, say, drop feeds for drives or bowling machine feed for cuts and pulls.

Of course 500 balls, like ten thousand hours, is not a magic bullet. It does give you a better metric to aim for than generally as much as you can find time for.

But, let me explain why that number not as important as we think.

The context issue

The issue with this number raises its head when you think about scoring runs in a match rather than practicing shots.

Hitting a ball off a tee, for example, will get you to 500 drives pretty fast. However, it won’t improve your ability to pick the right ball to drive. So, you have probably not got much better at batting!

You need to practice as close to a game context as possible to improve. And a game context includes:

  • Technique
  • Shot Selection
  • Tactical Awareness
  • Physical Fitness
  • Mindset and focus

All of these things are happening at the same time.

We cannot separate them as batsmen because the game of cricket requires them all. Try making serious runs without any one of them. It’s literally impossible.

That means our practice has to reflect reality as close as possible.

You’re much better off facing 500 balls in a middle practice than you are hitting 500 balls from a tee or even a bowling machine. The latter isolates, the former integrates.

Training smarter

The real answer to the question, “How much cricket practice do I need?” is to say “it depends upon the quality”.

That’s what coaches mean when they tell you to train smarter not harder. If you want to - as Graham Gooch says - be a run maker you need to build every part of your game as an integrated whole.

Facing 500 balls in focused middle practice and reflecting as you go takes a lot longer (it might take you 30 middle practice sessions compared to a handful of tee hitting sessions). Yet, the learning opportunities are so much greater you can surely compare the two.

So, to train smart ask yourself three questions.

  • Where is my game now?
  • Where do I want to be and what skills will get me there?
  • How can I make practice as close to real cricket as possible?

Then hit every practice as smart as possible.

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Cricket Show S9 Episode 1: The Mason Crane of the Podcast

The show returns for series nine!

How to Become a Consistent Batsman

Are you driven enough to be consistent batsmen?


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: 495
Date: 2018-01-12