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Get Fit For Cricket


We cricketers are competitive types. One moment you are having a friendly warm up with a football, the next you are hacking down your opening batsman to stop him scoring a last minute winner. This week we look at the pros and cons of playing other sports as a cricket warm up.

As if the thought of doing someone's ligaments wasn't enough, we have a host of other tips. If you think team meetings are a boring waste of time you are not alone. If you must have them, we show you how to at least make them efficient. A much more exciting pastime (at least for the cricket geek in me) is talking about the finer points of the Laws which is why we answer some unusual questions in this week's miCricketCoach show.

Finally we announce a new galaxy of star coaches on PitchVision Academy and catch up with some free content from an old friend.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Is football a good warm up for cricketers?

As we are sport-loving types at my cricket club so there is normally a football being kicked around the outfield by a couple of players on the morning of a match. As we are competitive types too, this gentle kickabout tends to become a game with jumpers for goalposts, sliding tackles and elaborate diving in the box.

It might be fun, but is it a suitable way to warm up before a cricket game?

We all know the importance of warming up. A game of football (or touch rugby or any other sport) will certainly get the blood flowing and body moving in a way the body needs.

Everyone can join in and most people do. This neatly sidesteps the problem of players not warming up at all because they find it dull or pointless. With the competitive draw of a football match most players will be running around and working up a sweat in no time.

Where did it all go wrong?

England players Matt Prior, James Anderson and Joe Denly have all seen a negative side of the football match as warm up.

All three picked up injuries during a pre-game football warm up. Denly's looked the worst when his knee buckled under a tackle that was probably a bookable offence. Although no serious damage was done, he and Anderson missed games.

It shows that it's easy getting carried away with these games. One minute you are just passing a ball around the outfield, the next you are attempting a bicycle kick to score a last minute winner or hacking down your star opening bowler because he's through on goal.

A football game is also not the best way to warm up for cricket based skills, especially bowling and throwing. It does get your muscles warm, but it doesn't get them moving. A good warm up will activate and stretch the muscles you are going to use during the game in the way they will be used. For example, a bowler needs a stable core and a flexible upper body. A football game won't help with either of those but a good active mobility and stability session will.

To play or not to play?

Where does that leave the humble coach or captain when deciding what warm up is best?

If you are in charge of warm ups for a senior club side who take their cricket very seriously you may want to err on the side of caution and leave the knock up game out. Focus on a well planned, progressive warm up that finishes with some higher intensity drills (sprinting or fielding) to get the same effect with fewer injuries.

On the other hand, if you captain a more social team it may be a football game is the only warm up you do. It's certainly better than nothing. In the long run you may try to incorporate some mobility drills to make things more specific and keep your players injury-free (even a park side needs its players on the pitch).

image credit: a.blight


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6 Ways to get the most from your cricket team meetings

When done wrong, team meetings are a waste of time. I know. I spent years working in a big company who had the ability to make meetings about meetings last for hours for no reason.

So if you are going to have one make the most of it by doing it right. It's only respectful of the player's time.

When done right, they can be very useful, especially in teams where there are arguments brewing or factions forming. A good meeting can cut off these problems as well as making sure everyone knows what direction the team is going.

1. Bring an agenda

Let's not get geeky about meeting structures, but even the most informal gathering is going to need an agenda: Even if it is written on the back of a napkin.

The reason for an agenda is to keep things on track. Meetings can wander very easily away from the point and time can get wasted on minor issues. If you have an agenda you can refer back to it to redirect the meeting.

The other advantage of a printed agenda is that it stops people fiddling with phones and PDAs. The temptation to text, email or surf the web is ever great with all-singing electronic equipment but putting a piece of paper in someone hands makes things seem formal and important enough to put the Blackberry away.

2. Air problems

Meetings are the ideal place to bring out gripes and problems. Deal with the little things up front and they don't turn into big ones further down the line. For example, in my team a few years ago we had a player who was talented but didn't do much to help around the club. This was breeding resentment from the players who always mucked in. It was discussed in a meeting and the player agreed to do more to help the atmosphere of the team.

The important thing here is to give everyone a chance to both air their views and come up with a solution. Some players don't say much in meetings but they may just be feeling shouted down. Take time to give everyone a chance to speak in an atmosphere based around solving problems rather than blaming each other for things going wrong.

3. Keep control

As well as having an agenda, you need to keep control of the meeting so it doesn't spiral out of control with both time and topics. Chair the meeting with ruthless efficiency.

Generally it's a good idea to keep to strict times and wrap up each agenda point with 5 minutes to go. It also helps to keep at least 15-20 minutes at the end of a meeting to bring the meeting to a close with any actions needed by anyone.

4. Make plans

Meetings are an excellent place to make tactical plans. It's a chance to get your heads together as a bowling and batting units to work out what tactics work best for you. The captain and coach should still have the final say of course, but the more suggestions you can make the better.

One good way to do this is to look at the opposition for the coming game and talk about the players who might cause you problems. The opposition's star batsman may have got a hundred against you last year but he may also be vulnerable outside off stump early on. Talking about it can bring everyone in line with your plans.

5. Keep it fresh

If you have a regular meeting it can very quickly get repetitive: Constant pleas from the captain to 'give it your all' eventually fall on deaf ears, even if the players know it's true. The solution is to only have a meeting when you need one and to keep it on theme when you do have it.

By all means get together once a week to discuss the upcoming game, but avoid chest-beating clichés. Most teams won't need to meet so often, if at all. Think of a team meeting as an option, not a requirement.

6. Remember: It's never going to be perfect

Meetings are always a bit messy. Don't worry if a tangent takes up too much time, someone doesn't turn up or you end up having an argument. By their very nature meetings can't improve you as a cricketer. They are planning and discussion sessions so avoid focusing on them obsessively. It's better to get 10% of something than 100% of nothing.

image credit: tmlvngs


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Improve your cricket at PitchVision Academy with new courses

As you know, PitchVision Academy is the place to go for detailed online coaching advice from the best coaches in the world.

We don't like to rest on our laurels so we have been working like mad to come up with even more courses for you to improve your game. So now we are going to shout about them from the rooftops because we believe no-one comes close to matching the range and quality of advice we have. You may have noticed that last week we launched three new coaches and three exciting new courses to take your game to the next level.

Alvin Kallicharran – On Cricket

I was fortunate enough to spend a day picking the brains of former the West Indies captain and batsman recently. Alvin revealed to me a host of technical and mental tips to become a better player. He should know, he has been to the very top: Winning World Cups, scoring Test centuries and being part of the greatest team of its era.

Of course we filmed it all and turned it into a fully interactive coaching course for you to follow. If you are serious about reaching the top there are few better places to start than getting lifetime access to a master cricketer.

Click here to find out more about the course.



Shayamal Vallabhjee – Sports vision training for cricket

The quicker you are able to judge the ball, the more time you have play the right shot or pull off that brilliant catch. If I was to pick one question we got asked the most it's "how to I pick up the line and length of the ball earlier?"

How would you like cutting edge advice on how to do that made simple by one of the coaches of the 2003 Indian World Cup team? Shayamal Vallabhjee has had that experience. He currently works with top athletes from a range of sports including ATP tennis and elite cricketers.

Shayamal's first course brings together his research on vision and presents it in a way that cricketers and their coaches can find easy to understand. You can start applying the drills straight away.

Click here to find out more about the course.


Menno Gazendam – Spin bowling tips

Our first spin bowling product and it's a cracker! This comprehensive 129 page eBook shows you all the tips and tricks used by spinners to take wickets. With over 100 illustrations you can understand the techniques and tactics of all types of delivery from the orthodox to the latest doosra.

Click here to find out more about the eBook.


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Gary Palmer's Batting Tips


As you know, Gary Palmer is a friend of PitchVision Academy. He is the official batting coach of PitchVision Academy, runs the highly successful CCM Academy and contributes all kinds of free stuff to PitchVision Academy readers.

Cricket Show 46: Laws and umpiring

David and Kevin scratch their heads over this week's theme of umpiring. Many times club players find themselves having to umpire games and a good understanding of the Laws is important but how many of us can say we really know what we are doing?

Ian Pont is also back with his regular fast bowling segment and we look at some unusual situations in the questions section. The questions include:


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: 64
Date: 2009-09-17