Pitchvision Academy


It's been a mixed week. My club team got thrashed by our local rivals as I detail the team spirit article below.

On the plus side, I have got the miCoach cricket show up and running. The show is a free weekly download featuring cricket interviews and advice. The first show is with coach Darren Talbot. Have a listen to it here.

If you want to submit any questions to the show about your own game then click here. I'll make sure every question gets answered either on the show or in the new 'Ask the Coaches' feature. You can see the first one below.

In other articles we discuss everything from what to put in your kitchen to the 80's classic film "Top Gun". So it's been more up than down.

Have a great weekend.

David Hinchliffe

Ask the coaches

Starting this week and every week I'm giving you the chance to access the PitchVision Academy coaches with your questions.

You can send your question to miCoach using the question form here. The best questions will be posted on the site and answered by one of our team of experts here on PitchVision miCoach.

This week we cover trigger movements, bowling fitness and what to do if you can't hit the ball out of the park.

"I've been hearing a lot about trigger movements and how they can help against fast bowlers but one thing i dont get is when exactly to use them. Do you use them while the bowler is running up or just as the ball is being released? I'm confused because you're always told to stay still before the ball is bowled. Can you help clear up this confusion? - Manish"

Whatever trigger a batter may have, their head is always still with eyes level at the point of delivery. The ball is hard enough to pick up when you are not moving so to have your eyes tracking side to side can't help!

The trigger move is used by some batsmen against faster bowlers (I'm talk super fast at club level here: 80mph plus which is rare) to 'unload'. That is to say get themselves light and on the balls of their feet. However, their heads are still at the point of delivery. Some use a deliberate trigger to stop a subconscious one like planting the front leg.

It's very personal and worth experimenting with to see how it feels, just remember to be still as the bowler bowls and you can't go far wrong.

"I was dumped from County level juniors last year, and replaced by a big lad who can't bowl or field but hits the ball miles.

I'm nearly 16 and only 5 feet tall, so I don't have the power to hit the ball out of the park. I could really do with some tips for impressive batting in shorter games, as I'm bored of going in at 3 and expected to bat through and score 20 not out in a Twenty20 game!" - Jack

It sounds like you have to have a growth spurt to sort out most of your problems. However until that happens, you your best tactic is to learn how to score runs without big hits.

The key to doing that is to learn how to work the ball into gaps and attack weak fielders. You don't need power to do that but it can give you almost a run a ball if you do it well. Here are some tips that could get loads of extra runs:

  • Focus on trying to get quick singles. Back up when you are non striker and call well with yes, no and wait. Always look for weak fielders and push them for quick singles or extra runs in the deep.
  • As early as possible in your innings identify gaps you can score runs in based on fielding position, fielder ability and bowler type.
  • Take a different mental approach.
  • Don't be afraid to use your feet to spin.

Most of all, practice these skill as much as possible. Always push your coach for practice games that teach good running between the wickets and if they are not keen get a load of mates down the park and make up a game with rules like no boundaries!

"I am a 16 year old wicketkeeper who plays first team cricket at club level. I have unfortunately hit a bad run of form this season. I haven't consciously changed anything about my technique and my fitness is good, but I still seem to be getting worse rather than better.

We don't have any team training sessions so I find it hard to practice, but this has never been a problem in the past. I am wondering if I have perhaps fallen into some bad habits when keeping without realising, and was hoping that you would be able to advise me on what may be wrong or what I can do." - Dale

To answer your question about technique I would need to see you keeping. If you want you can post a video up for me to take a look.

However, I don't think this is technical so much as mental. You are in a form slump and you don't know how to get out of it so have lost confidence in yourself. Take a look here for some tips

"After a shocking last season, I decided to be the fittest player on the field this year. At the moment in the off season, I've been doing a lot of strength and fitness work that goes a little bit like this:

  • Monday: Cardio (Interval Sprints)
  • Tuesday: Biceps followed by 1km jog
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: Squats
  • Friday: Triceps followed by 1 km jog

To be the fit and powerful to succeed at cricket, do you think my routine is sufficient? If not, could you suggest alternatives?" - Kevin

You have the right basic principles in place: strength power and work capacity. It's hard for me to give specific advice without a proper analysis, however I can give you some general tips:

  • Train movements rather than individual muscles. Look here and here for more information.
  • Don't bother with the jogging, it's almost certainly a waste of your time. Try replacing it with some core training (not situps though).
  • Finally, follow the strength training principles here when planning your workouts.

That's all the questions for this week. You can submit your own here.

If you do decide to send a question in, remember to put as much detail in as possible. This week I got a question that said:

"My son is going to play cricket and is preparing for team selection, please provide me tips. I would like to have some tips for good batting/bowling techniques."

I would love to help that person's son to improve, but the question is far to general and does not include any details.

So my request is; be as detailed as possible (videos also help, you can post them to youtube) and I will get back to you with answers either from myself for from the team of coaches I am in contact with.

Photo credit: steven.webster76

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How indestructible team spirit can turn your bad form around

A big part of the reason the team I play for is near the top of the league is our team spirit.

Last Saturday was a grudge match against our local rivals, a good team just relegated from the division above. Several of our senior players were missing including the captain, vice captain and main bowler (who was next in line for the captaincy). Due to another player falling ill just before play we had to go in with 10 men.

That's shameful at our level, even worse for a team challenging for the league title.

In our weakened state we decided on a last minute captain, lost the toss, were inserted and rolled over for less than 150. I then dropped their star batsman on nought. He went on to a match winning innings as they beat us by 7 wickets: A terrible day for us.

What amazed me was the team spirit throughout the game. We still felt in the game right up until defeat was inevitable. We bowled well, our tail wagged brilliantly and we didn't give up. Everyone considered the defeat a blip we will be back from next week.

Below are the 6 things I have noticed about our team this season that has taken us to the top, and given us fight, even when everything seems to have gone wrong.

In short, why I think we will be back to winning ways next week:

  • Take personal responsibility. Just like your cover drive, attitudes of team unity take practice. That means each player taking responsibility for his attitude on and off the field. You must consider yourself a leader even if you are not captain. Show a never-say-die attitude, use positive body language, motivate others and be unwavering in your confidence. In short: be a team of captains.
  • Pull together. The best teams all know what their goals are so they can all pull together the same way. Imagine a tug-o-war team all doing their own thing! Cricket teams need to be just as efficient. This efficiency comes about through agreed goals at the start of the season and a captain who the team trusts to lead them in those goals even under the fast moving pressure of a game.
  • Know your role, know everyone else's. Everyone in the team needs a crystal clear idea of their own job so they can concentrate on it fully (pinch hit, take wickets, stem the flow of runs, etc). On top of this, everyone needs to be clear of others role in the team so you all know all bases are covered.
  • Unite against a common enemy. Nothing brings people together quicker than a common enemy. Show the opposition how united you are with tricks like running on the field together, doing impressive fielding drills, having a huddle and making them doubt themselves through well placed comments.
  • Keep standards up. Standards of dress, appearance and practice vary widely but everyone needs to know what they are in your team. Ideally they will be agreed and written down in an obvious place. People who don't meet them quickly realise they are letting down the team unit.
  • Balance out personalities. Some people are natural players in it for the fun, others have to practice hard to keep up standards so can be more focused and serious. Everyone, especially the captain and senior players should know what type of players are in your squad and how much they can put up with of discipline or creativity. To force too much of one on the wrong player will cause them to get fed up and eat away at team spirit.

Good team spirit builds up the confidence of individuals. Even when you are playing badly, the team can pull you through it with the right words. Knowing someone is backing you all the way is a powerful way to improve your own performance and the results of your team.

Photo credit: zunami

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9 Kitchen essentials every cricketer should have

Cricket is very time consuming, so who has time to be the next Jamie Oliver?

I know I don't, but I also want to be able to eat in a healthy way while getting in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible. That's why I place high importance on having the right tools at hand to help me out.

Here is what I consider essential.

1. Knives

A really good knife is a joy to use and makes chopping anything easy. This saves time and frustration. Yo do have to pay a bit more for the chef style knives with the curve in them, but once you have one or two you will wonder what you did without them (even if you have no pretentions as a chef).

2. Spoons

The multipurpose sets of spoons you can buy from any hardware or kitchenware shop are so ubiquitous they are often overlooked. If you do any cooking at all (and if you are eating healthy you should be) then having large spoons for stirring, a ladle for soup and a spatula for flipping are critical to efficiency.

3. Pans

Stainless steel pans are an essential and usually cheap to buy. If you have the budget to go up market then high quality pans heat food more quickly and stick less, saving you time.

4. Blender

Blenders are great for making shakes and smoothies. If you do it right you are looking at at fast and healthy snack or even meal replacement.

There are loads of blenders out there but for sheer reliability, versatility and power the Magic Bullet beats everything hands down in its price range. You can go up scale and buy an industrial strength blender instead but you are talking hundreds.

5. Food processor

You could chop your own vegetables and get pretty fast at it. Even the best can't beat the speed of a food processor. You can chop all your veggies, bag them up and put them in the fridge so you can save time cooking in the week.

6. George Foreman Grill

If you need something cooking fast, the George Foreman is indispensable. I use mine so much I wore the first one out in about 6 months. You can grill loads of food in 10-15 minutes. Perfect if you are in a rush on weekday mornings. I honestly don't know what I did without it.

7. Measuring spoons and scale

Healthy eating does require you to measure out how much you eat somewhat. Nobody wants to be counting every last calorie but it's easy to over or under eat if you estimate. Using measuring spoons and a scale makes sure you are not sneaking in calories if you are watching your weight (or not getting enough if you are trying to add some lean muscle).

8. Steamer

Steaming keeps more of the nutrients in fresh vegetables that using the microwave or boiling. Plus the taste is better in my book. Steaming is one area I take a little longer on when cooking, purely for the extra nutrients I know it gives me.

9. Wok

Woks are not just for Chinese food. They are larger than pans so you can cook bigger batches and store for later. I cook chilli in mine and have been known to make big omelettes if I'm feeling particularly hungry.

All that may seem a lot for someone not 'into' cooking. But for me the pleasure is not the cooking itself, it's the knowledge I'm eating healthy without spending half my life in the kitchen. That's worth the outlay.

What's in your cricket kitchen?

Photo credit: deadlydesigns.com

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6 reasons why you need to rethink your current cricket fitness training

You need to rethink your current fitness plan.

You could be starting out or have years of training experience, but those who are not actively thinking about their fitness are just spinning the proverbial wheels.

You are not training because its a-good-thing-to-do, you are training to be a better player and to do that you need to be thinking about it almost all the time.

What ' Top Gun' can teach you about cricket

Remember how the pilots were chosen in the 80's film Top Gun?

They were the best of the best.

They were the elite within an exclusive club. Men wanted to be them, women wanted them. Or so the cliche went.


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: 6
Date: 2008-08-01