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The main news in this week's newsletter is our competition. You have the chance to win a free membership to PitchVision Academy and a free online coaching course. It's a prize that can stand you in good stead for years to come as a cricketer. Take a look at the main article for details.

The Ashes rumbles on and there is plenty for us to learn from the games. This edition looks at tactics for inswing bowlers, batting buddies and how to do well under the pressure of trial matches.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Win free cricket coaching at PitchVision Academy

Update: The competition is now closed. However you can still send your work in informally using the same contact details.

Would you like a free membership to the world's most comprehensive online cricket coaching resource: PitchVision Academy?

Are you interested in having a free complete course from a growing list of online cricket coaching courses?

Now you can have both in our latest competition.

What's on offer?

The prize is pretty straightforward: One free membership to PitchVision Academy and one free online coaching course from PitchVision Academy's online courses.

All the courses are complete guides from experts in the field on their topic: mental training with David Hinchliffe, batting technique with Gary Palmer, bowling speed with Ian Pont, fielding skills with Derek Randall, captaincy with Mike Brearley and cricket fitness with Glamorgan CCC strength coach Rob Ahmun.

The membership also entitles you to a host of other benefits including:

  • A substantial discount on any future courses bought.
  • The ability to track your performance in bowling speed, accuracy, batting footwork, scoring areas, scoring rate and many other areas using the revolutionary PitchVision system.
  • Discounts with our partners including SPIN magazine and cricket equipment suppliers.
  • Access to the 'members only' forums and newsletter

Even if you never use these extra benefits, the course alone should be enough to substantially improve your game. If you are serious about becoming a better cricketer, how can you afford not to enter?

How to enter

We think this is a pretty special prize. The value in improved cricketing ability will be with you for years to come. As a result, we want to make this a special competition.

We know this site is read by a lot of students of all ages. We also know that many cricket-loving students do their assignments on some aspect of cricket. So to enter the competition all you need to do is:

Send in your school, college or university assignment on any aspect of cricket

The assignment can be old or recent, any grade (or even not graded yet). There is no limit to length or format so it could be a 200 word essay, a 10,000 word dissertation, a video or even audio. It can be on any cricket related subject including (but not exclusively): equipment, coaching techniques, biomechanics, strength and conditioning, sport psychology or tactics.

Simply: anything goes.

You can email your entry in to micricketcoach [at] pitchvision [dot] com. (If it's a big file like a video, email us first and we will let you know another way to send it, otherwise just mail the document straight to us).

Don't forget to send us your contact information with the email: name and phone number should do.

The winning entry will notified after the competition closes and will be published on miCricketCoach (unless you tell us otherwise).

You can enter from anywhere in the world.
Can non-students enter?

What if you don't have an assignment to email in?

Not a problem. You are welcome to enter too.

We will accept original entries as articles, videos or audio files on any subject related to cricket coaching. If you have something you always wanted to say, a drill nobody else knows about or a way of troubleshooting technical errors that solves a problem, we want to hear about it.

Also remember that if you have an old assignment, we will accept that as an entry.

Competition rules

The following rules apply to this competition:

  • The competition is run by miSport on behalf of PitchVision Academy and PitchVision miCricketCoach
  • Entries must be delivered by 12pm BST on Friday 24th July 2009. The email address for entry is micricketcoach [at] pitchvision [dot] com. Other delivery methods will be accepted, please contact the above email address for information.
  • Entries must be original work (copying or plagiarism is not permitted).
  • The winning entry will be selected by miSport after 12pm BST on Friday 24th July. This decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • The winning entry will be published on www.pitchvision.com/micricketcoach
  • The winner will be notified before Friday 31st of July via email or telephone. The winner must confirm acceptance of the prize before Friday August 28th 2009.

If you have questions please post them in the comments section. Good luck and we look forward to seeing your entries.

he competition is now closed. However you can still send your work in informally using the same contact details.


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How to force the batsman into a mistake against inswing

Picture the scene. You are in the field after posting a big score. The opposition look in little danger of being bowled out on a good batting track.

You need wickets to prevent the draw but all the usual ploys are failing.

It's time to get creative; It's time to force the batsman into an error.

Forcing the danger shot

The tactic of making a batsman play in unusual ways can be overlooked but is very effective in the right circumstances. Batting is about concentration, especially when the draw is favourite.

If you can break concentration you can create chances for wickets.

As you probably already realise, there are as many ways to do this as Sachin has runs. But to show you what I mean, it's important to use a real life example. So let's return to the first Ashes Test of 2009.

England were battling to save the game with Collingwood and Flintoff at the crease looking comfortable. The bowler, Hilfenhaus, was getting some inswing so captain Ponting changed the field to this:

What was the thinking behind it?
Close fielders

As the pitch was slow and edges were hardly carrying the traditional slips were down to just one and the catchers were all in front of the wicket:

  • Short extra cover
  • Short midwicket
  • Very close mid on (more level with the non-strikers stumps than in the picture).

These were in place to catch the mistimed drive; more likely on a slow wicket with the ball not coming onto the bat well. There was one extra catcher on the leg side as the ball was swinging in.

Out fielders

It is in the outfield that the trap was set.

  • Mid on and mid off were very straight, cutting off the full face of the bat drive.
  • Square leg and fine leg are in place to save the ball that is too straight and swinging onto the legs.

There was no one in the traditional covers, with cover point set deep meaning there is a big gap between straight mid off and slip as shown here:

The tricky part about this gap was the need to drive square to hit it. This is a risk against any bowling as you are not showing the full face to the ball so are more likely to edge it.

On top of that, the bowler was bowling full, straight and inswinging balls. This brings bowled and LBW as a risk, especially when looking to play square.

The ploy is an example of one way you can try and tempt the batsman into an error by setting a field and bowling to a plan.

Do you have any other examples? Leave a comment.

Image credit: kennysarmy

Scoring area and field setting images supplied by PitchVision - Coach Edition. Available to purchase now for clubs, schools and cricket centres.



Want to be a better captain? Learn from the best with the interactive online course Cricket Captaincy by Mike Brearley.


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How to benefit from a batting buddy

Although it may sound like it, a batting buddy isn't the latest technological aid to your game from PitchVision.

It's when two teammates join forces: The better batsman coaching the weaker one with the aim of improving the tail-enders skill with the blade.

It seems to be working for Monty Panesar and James Anderson: The unlikely English batting heroes of the first Ashes Test of 2009. Monty and Jimmy teamed up with the more recognised Paul Collingwood and Alistair Cook to work on their game and ended up batting out for a draw.

The question is; if it worked for those four, can it work at club level?

If the partnership is right, it could be a real boon to the team. If your side has a coach (and many don't, relying on the captain to act as head coach) he will rarely have time to work on the batting skills of lower order batsmen. That problem is neatly solved by pairing up: The better batsman providing coaching advice and mentoring to the weaker one.

It's not all one way traffic either. The batsman in the partnership can improve his or her ability to spot and correct technical flaws, the former skill being very useful when working out the opposition batsman's weaknesses in the field. Plus, you get a deeper insight into a team mate. Ideally, although not always, for the better of the team.

It seems a good idea to me. At club level coaching resources are severely limited, so why not exploit what you have?

How to work with a batting buddy

Let's imagine you have been buddied up and left to get on with it by the coach. What happens next?

It would be a bit short term to get straight into the coaching. A good pair will ideally work together over a long period, learning how each other tick to get the most out of the situation. If you don't know this already, it may be worth sitting down initially to talk about what you want to work on, and how you like to train.

Once you have a few basic rules you can get to work. The buddies can work together in several ways:

  • Technical batting drills with the aim of developing or improving shots. The batting buddy dropping balls, giving throwdowns or feeding the machine while using coaching methods like shaping and chaining.
  • Net coaching; the batting buddy watches the weaker player in the nets noting technical errors (and also things they do right). Although it's not ideal to coach directly during these sessions, the batting buddy can get a better idea of what to work on.
  • Tactical discussions where the players talk each other through different game situations and learn how to play.
  • Mental training in which the better player passes on the tricks he or she uses to be confident, stay calm and concentrate through an innings.

A really good batting buddy might also set 'homework' for his partner. This could simple stuff like thinking about ways to improve themselves all the way through to goal setting techniques and drills to perform away from training (for example stretches to help a player improve posture so he can play shots with less restriction of movement).

Reader's homework

Just to spice things up, I'm going to set you a mission.

Whether you are a batter or a bowler, find someone in your team to buddy up with at your next training session. Once you have done it leave a comment and let us know:

  • How the session went.
  • Wether you think it's worthwhile doing as a long term partnership.

I have never seen batting buddies in the teams I have played in or coached, so I want to know how well the system works at club, school and youth level. Leave a comment and let us all know if it works for you.

image credit: Gone-Walkabout



If you want the world's best batting buddy, check out Gary Palmer's interactive coaching courses. Gary's drills, tips and advice are online 24-7 for you to seek out and use to improve your game.



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How to be the best player at cricket trials

Love them or hate them, trial matches are used the world over to decide the fate of young cricketers.

They are the exams of the cricket world: Do well and you could be on your way to a professional contract. Mess up and... well, let's not think about messing up.

Cricket Show 37: Fast bowling length and different batting grips

Ian Pont makes his return this week, answering a question on fast bowling length. David has rain stopping play and Kevin hits the gym. We also answer your questions on:


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: 55
Date: 2009-07-17