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Have you ever wondered how to fix technical issues in yourself or others?

We have, which is why we have started a new series this week gathering the knowledge of coaches around the world. The series kicks off with a guide to helping a bowler who goes leg side too often. We come up with some solutions for you to rate and ask you for your own answers to the question.

The best answers are published on the site, so get suggesting if you want to help out. On the other hand, if you just want ready-made answers you can take what we have to the nets. Just don't forget to come back and rate the answers.

The rest of the newsletter is just as packed with the latest miCricketCoach show, articles and comment from PitchVision Academy Batting Coach, Gary Palmer.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Ask the coaches: How do you stop a young player bowling down the leg side?

This article is part of the 'Ask the Coaches' series. To get the full list of questions and answers click here.

Imagine you are coaching a typical club side of young cricketers. Aged between 11-13 they are of varied ability.

You have noticed the 12 year old opening bowler having trouble with his accuracy in both games and nets. He bowls down the leg side regularly.

You have tried to get him in a better position in his delivery stride by telling him to look over his front shoulder but he still sprays it past leg stump?

What do you do?
  • Leave your answer.

  • Read/rate other tips. Read on to find out the answers others have already given. Try them out, come back and rate the best/worst ones for their effectiveness.
1. Special stretches

Good technique in any cricket skill starts long before a ball or bat is picked up. If you think that is strange, let me explain.

A physio contact of mine who is also a coach told me that the body is very good at trying to find ways around problems so on the surface everything looks fine. In reality our player may be struggling to get into the right position because of these 'compensations'.

No amount of technical coaching can make a difference because his nervous system is blocking him off.

The good news is that we can relay the foundations and reduce the blocking off effect with some simple stretches as part of a proper warm up.

You don't need to be a physio to give these stretches to a bowler who is going down the leg side. They will do no harm to anyone so the worst case is you will have a slightly fitter bowler with the same problem, however you may catch the muscle imbalance or weakness and make a difference without having to do any coaching at all.

Dead bug

Side lying rotation

Chop and lift

In the video there is a machine that the tube is attached to, this is not vital and can be done with a partner or hooked round a sturdy object instead.

Encourage the player to do these stretches every day at home and not just before matches/training sessions. 2-3 weeks should start to see a difference in a player.

These are general stretches so it may be helpful to see someone who can provide something more specific to the player if you are worried that a player is not a strong or mobile as he could be. If you are in the Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire or Suffolk are please consider Liz Ward who suggest the idea to me in the first place. Liz can be contacted via email on e.k.ward@btinternet.com



2. Set guide lines

Seam bowling is all about straight lines and if the bowler concerned can get used to doing everything in their action between those lines on a regular basis that should go some way to a cure.

If you are working one to one with a player you can develop this feel for getting in the right position with cones or poles as guide lines as you can see in this still taken from an ECB 'Wings to Fly' video:

John Hurley calls this bowling 'in the tube'.

If you don't have access to cones or poles you can, as Darren Talbot suggested, use securely pegged down string.



3. Bowl around the wicket

You may not be able to go to such lengths with a bowler if you are in a larger group setting. Here you can adopt an even simpler solution, first suggested to me by long-time coach at Morriston CC, John Sayce: Tell your problem bowler to go around the wicket.

This makes it much harder to fall to the leg side, especially for right arm side-on bowlers and teaches them the right feel for when they return to over the wicket. The additional benefit is that is shows a bowler how to go around the wicket for tactical reasons, something many club bowlers are not confident doing.

4. Suggest something else

Do you have an even better suggestion than those above? Did you try something that didn't work?


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Classic bowling dismissals: Away swing

This article is part of the 'Classic bowling dismissals' series. To go to the start, click here.

Bowlers who can swing the ball away are a precious asset to a team: They take wickets. No matter what format you play, wickets win you games and moving the ball away from the bat in the air is one of the best ways to deceive a batsman.

As I previously mentioned, late swing is literally unplayable.

But the swing bowler has to be canny. He can't expect to let conditions do the work, even when they are in his favour (humid, overcast and ideally rain the previous evening).

For now let's assume our outswing bowler is right handed. Let's examine the common ways he can swing a batsman out:

Caught behind

For the ball to swing it needs to be a fuller length than the standard seamers delivery. It's just physics: The longer the ball is in the air the more it is exposed to the forces that make it wobble.

Get it right and the batsman is forced to play forward in defence, or even drive at the ball if it is getting close to a half volley. The ball moves in the air, the batsman misjudges and the waiting keeper or slips take the catch.

The line and length looks something like this:

This strategy is also carries a higher risk of being hit. If the ball over over-pitched the batsman can drive through the covers. For this reason, away swing bowlers are usually seen as ones who buy their wickets more than back-of-a-length seamers.

3 card trick

An extension of this plan is to set the batsman up for a bowled or LBW. This can be done over any number of balls, but the classic set-up take three:

Ball 1: Good length, just outside off stump, swinging away

Ball 2: Good length or fuller, slightly wider line, swinging away

Ball 3: Fuller length, similar line but not swinging, the batsman is used to going off side or leaving, plays down the wrong line and is trapped LBW or bowled when the ball carries on its line.

If you are a bowler with enough pace and a bouncy wicket you can try a similar trick with bouncer, bouncer, yorker.


With left handed batsmen the outswing bowler becomes an inswing bowler and can use their classic dismissals. The main difference is the angle, which will take the ball across the left handed batsman (if the bowler stays over the wicket). The ball that swings will be difficult to hit away.

Image credit: Andy Genders

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How Australia can show you how to improve your batting (and why England can't)

By Gary Palmer; PitchVision Academy Batting Coach.

If you don't bat with good technique and mental strength you are wasting your talent.

Great natural ability counts for little if you have technical flaws. Your desire to be a cricketing success is wasted energy if you have the wrong attitude.

For me, that is exactly the problem England's batsmen have at the moment and it's exactly why the Australians excel. Want proof? There are twice as many Australian batsmen in the world top 30 than English ones.

Mental toughness

The Australian top order batters get big scores because they are disciplined, focused and, above all, don’t give their wickets away lightly. Bowlers have to work hard to dismiss them as they don’t often get themselves out. They know it's what goes on in your head that sets the good players apart from the average players.

In short, Australian batters value their wicket more than English batters.

I have coached alongside the great West Indian batsman Alvin Kallicharran. His mindset for batting in a Test match would be: Get to 20 and then bat to the end of the day. Alvin valued his wicket and bowlers would have to work hard to get him out.

'Kally' says the high the class of bowler you face the more important to have a good technique to combat that bowler.

Alvin had the ability to score big hundreds on a regular basis because he was extremely mentally tough. No matter how much flair you have as a batsman you must still have the discipline to adapt to the match situation.

Alvin also had a very good technique.

To bat successfully you have to be mentally tough but without a good basic technique you will find it difficult to sustain performance and place in the team.

Solid technique

The Australian's technique is about getting the job done rather than flair and how many different shots they can produce in an innings.

Players like Ponting and Clarke play technically sound shots in the 'v' from both front foot and back foot, even under pressure.

Like them, you must be able to play straight well with a good technique to bat long periods of time. This is the key to getting big scores.

Based on this, my coaching sessions at CCM Academy revolve around playing straight for long periods of time while fine tuning techniques and striving for perfection every shot. This make the muscle memory crystal clear on what positions the body needs to get in to on a regular basis.

The minute you neglect your technique, performance can become inconsistent.

For me this can be summed up in three areas:

  • Alignment
  • Balance
  • Completion of shot (An exaggerated finishing shape after contact with ball)

Put simply, from backswing to completion of shot your bat needs to swing in a straight line to target area when playing straight, this can only be achieved if your technique is sound. I reveal my drills on how to improve this in greater detail in my online coaching course. Click here to start improving your batting ABCs.

Certain principles of batting will never change.

The bat is the same width as ever. The stumps have barely changed for 200 years or more.

Swinging the bat in a straight line for as long as possible down the ine of the stumps is still the best way to protect you wickets when defending and when attacking it gives you the highest percentage of hitting the ball without being bowled.

Playing straight will never go out of fashion.

The best players in the world just attach their individual flair to a sound basic technique, which they always have there to fall back on if they need it when confronted with a challenging situation against good bowling.

With a good basic technique you can bat more positively, with plenty of self belief

And this will lead to more runs.
Correcting batting technique

To show you what I mean, let's look at an English players technique.

The techniques of English batsmen appear to be sound. However, if you put them under the microscope and look at them with a critical eye you will find that many of the players have intricate flaws.

Some small technical changes will make a big difference. 'Alignment' is at the top of the list. Playing straight well is the key but you can't do this effectively and consistently if your alignment is out.

For example; Alastair Cook

The opener has got out 4 times because his back foot is too sideways when the ball pitches on middle and leg stump line as shown here:

This 'closed off' position causes him to tip towards the off side. He is forced into playing too square on the leg side and not quite straight enough on the off side.

The simple change of turning his back foot in will help him to access the ball better with a straight bat thus being well balanced and aligned with the ability to play the ball back where it came from with the full face of the bat, more like this:

If Cook opened his stance slightly he could lead with his head towards the ball when it pitches on middle and leg, this would help him automatically turn his back foot in.

Maybe you have a similar problem in your game. I see it all the time in players of every age and ability. If you do, you can drill it with the drills you can find in my online coaching course on PitchVision Academy. Click here to get the drills you need for proper alignment and more runs.

Cook has only scored runs in the Ashes because Australia have bowled a lot of loose balls; especially Mitchell Johnson at Lord's.

How will the England batsmen with technical defects perform if and when the likes of Mitchell Johnson starts bowling to his full potential and he starts hitting his length and line more consistently?

The answer to this problem is simple. Like Australia, England need to think more about occupying the crease and playing straight. 

The key is to play with good technique and put the bad ball away rather than working the ball around and hitting across the line to do so. This is where Australia beat England every time.

At any level, the batsmen who can bat patiently, score off the bad balls and spend time at the crease are the ones who score the runs and put their team in the driving seat.

If you want to be one of these players you can get lifetime access to the drills and techniques in my online coaching videos and worksheets. Click here to get instant access to all the tools you need to become a better batsman.

image credit: RB.rajesh


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Cricket food ideas: Hummus

Want to power-up your cricket teas with extra nutrients without sacrificing taste?

Hummus is the snack food for you.

The traditional Mediterranean dip, made from chickpeas and sesame seeds is quite the performer. It can liven up most meals and carries a host of health benefits.

What are some of the reasons to start adding hummus to your diet regularly?

Cricket Show 39: Batting technique (and pre-match warm ups)

The theme of the show is batting technique this week. However we still have time to chat to Ian Pont about why bowlers are not getting faster. We also unveil our new feature in association with the LCA.

We also answer 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: 57
Date: 2009-07-31