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Spin bowling is a fine art that takes years to learn, yet there are precious few places to go for advice on the subject unless you happen to know an experienced spinner to learn from. This week, that's exactly what we have as PitchVision Academy coach Menno Gazendam gives us a free preview of his Spin Bowling Tips eBook.

We also look at a brand new cricket training product, teach you how to work with an umpire rather than against him and get your opinions on the type of cricket you like to play.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Spin bowling tips: Flight

This article is an extract from Spin Bowling Project: A comprehensive manual that covers every aspect of spin bowling on sale now. To download the rest of the book click here.

Flight is absolutely crucial for any spin bowler. It does not matter if you are an off-spin or leg-spin bowler, without getting proper flight on your deliveries you can never hope to become a great spin bowler.

Flight is bowling the ball above the batsman’s eyes when the ball leaves the bowler’s hand. The idea is to bowl and spin the ball up, get it just above the batsman’s eyes and have the ball drop on him just short of a good driving length. Do not bowl the ball too high as that will make the delivery too slow. The rule is to just ensure the ball gets above the batsman’s eyes.

Why is flight so necessary? A few reasons:

The batsman has to keep moving his head to follow the ball’s trajectory. Ever wondered why a full toss is so easy to hit? It’s because the ball is coming straight at the batsman and he does not have to move his head. However, if the ball is going up and then coming down the batsman has to not only to contend with the spin, line and length you are bowling, but also try and keep his head still while following the ball. And as you know the downside for any batsman is when he is not keeping his head still when playing a shot.

Flight also helps with creating drift or curve. This is when the ball slowly drifts to the side in the air when bowled. For the off-spinner the ball will drift in the air towards the off-side and for the leg-spinner the ball will drift towards the leg-side. The reason for this drift is different than what makes the ball swing for a fast bowler. The technical term for this is called the “Magnus Effect” but all you need to know is that the harder you spin the ball and the more flight you give the ball the more it will drift.

Another crucial advantage that flight gives any spin bowler is that it will result in more spin and bounce. When proper flight is put on the ball it will be bowled at a slower pace and will thus have more time to grip on the pitch giving the ball more time to turn. If the ball is bowled at too a flat trajectory it will only skid on like a fast bowler. A spin bowler does not want this as he is looking for plenty spin and bounce.

Giving the ball flight will have the ball drift, spin and bounce. Getting it all right will result in the batsman having to move his head up and down as well as to the side even before the ball bounced. Which means plenty wickets for any spin bowler. So, do not be afraid to toss it up!

For the most advanced and up-to-date cricket spin bowling tips and techniques that will supercharge your spin bowling, purchase "Spin Bowling Project".

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Is Dura-band Cricket going to make you a better player?

When a coach with the reputation of Ian Pont comes up with a new training product you listen to what he has to say. In this case it's the Dura-band Cricket trainer. So is it any good?

To find out I'm going to review it in two parts. This first part will be based on my opnions on what I think the product is capable of. The second part is to put it to the test with a real cricketer.

But before that, let's look at Dura-band Cricket in more detail.

What do you get?

The product arrived in a mesh bag with an array of implements that look like they might have been used in medieval times to torture prisoners. In fact it's a set of large rubber bands that have a variety of attachments for different ways to train.

Two of those attachments include a familiar looking cricket ball and something that is quite similar to a cricket bat handle that has no bat attached to it: More on those later. You also get a neat instruction book with all the usual warnings about seeing your doctor before starting an exercise program, as well as some suggestions for how to use it.

The whole thing is small and portable enough to be carried around and stored easily. It could easily go into a cricket bag stuffed with kit or be taken to the gym with your towel.

What does it do?

The basic idea works on progressive overload. The bands offer increasing resistance so you can gradually make the exercise harder as your body adapts to it. You can use the bands in two ways:

  1. General exercises to improve strength and flexibility.
  2. Copying the movements of bowling and batting but with added resistance to make the exercises specific. So for example you can attach the bat handle

The benefits of increased strength and power (either general or specific) mean that the bands will directly help you to reduce your chance of injury, play at full intensity for longer and produce more power for fast bowling or batting.

Does it work?

I've not used these bands as part of a training plan before. I do have reservations about whether using band can directly improve cricket performance.

Bands have become popular in recent years in gyms but before that they were used as rehabilitation tools by physiotherapists. They work well in this area because people coming back from injury are very weak so the bands have a chance to have a training effect. Now imagine a young bowler who is injury free using the same band. Their muscles are stronger so the training effect is greatly reduced right away. Even the strongest band would become too easy quite quickly when used for general training.

You could say that's not a problem, just use standard resistance training for general work and the bands for 'sport specific' style movements such as the bowling action or batting shots.

However, there is a risk in doing this. Cricket movements are not balanced. We don't bowl or throw with both hands. We bat with one hand dominating the other. Over time this movement imbalance leads to differences in strength and mobility between the left and right hand sides of our body.

For cricket this is no problem. It's just our body adapting, as it always does, to the stress we are putting on it. For injury prevention this is a disaster. Research has shown that as little a 15% difference between left and right sides can dramatically increase your chances of injury.

On top of this, the added resistance to these movements may not be enough to improve strength but might be enough to alter technique. If you have ever thrown a heavy object you know you have to 'heave' it whereas a cricket shot is more of a smooth swing.

The take home point is this: applying resistance to cricket movements is risky.

At least, that's the theory.
Putting Dura-band to the test

The fact is these bands have not been tested in a live cricket environment means that before we can decide either way on the product we need to test it.

The good news is that, with the PitchVision system, we can test a player's performance before and after using Duraband Cricket. If the performance improves we have a winning product.

Stay tuned to miCricketCoach to find out more.


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How to work with the umpire

I was recently lucky enough to meet former Test umpire Ken Palmer and hear about the games he was in charge of. One common thread to his tales was that the best bowlers always knew how to work with the umpire.

Bowling is tough and I can imagine that sometimes you think the umpire is out to get you. Umpires don't cheat though. They just want to be fair. They much prefer a bowler who is prepared to work with them because it makes their job easier. The good news is that if you make their job easier, they tend to do the same for you.

Of course, the man in white is not going to cheat for you, but if he trusts and likes you then you may be able to gain a small advantage. Here are some ways you can do that:


Appealing only when you think it's out is a good general rule of thumb. Umpires soon get fed up with bowler's who appeal for everything, even when it's pitched outside leg stump.

If you do appeal and the umpire gives it not out you might get upset or want to grumble. Complaining get you nowhere though. Keep quiet and make a polite enquiry at the end of the over. The umpire doesn't have to justify himself, but the better ones will tell you briefly what they thought. You might even offer an explanation yourself to show you understand the umpires position.


It might seem obvious to say, but we can forget to be polite to umpires, especially in the heat of battle. However, taking a moment to say 'please or 'thank you' can go a long way with an umpire.

Also, no matter how poor you think an umpires decision making is, never try to get them into a discussion. Umpires are there to decide and once the decision is made there is no going back. The only thing arguing can bring is a penalty from an overly-officious umpire.

Know yourself

As you play more with certain umpires they will get to know your reputation. If you are a bowler who bowls a lot of no-ball the umpire will probably be extra aware of your front foot. If you bowl straight and from close the stumps he will know you are more likely to get LBW shouts.

If you know your strengths and weaknesses you know how much you can appeal based on the umpires view of you.

Really, it's just advanced common sense to do these things, but at the very least you will enjoy your cricket more if you are working with an umpire instead of against him.

image credit: bored@work


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Ask the readers: What type of cricket do you prefer?

Rating Test, Twenty20 and ODI cricket in order of preference is a common cricketing arguement. But what about the cricket you actually play?

Today's article intends to find out with a quick poll. What is your favourite format?

I prefer playing shorter format cricket. Twenty over games would be ideal for me although I play most of my games in the traditional English style of 1 day, 1 innings each with draws and declarations possible.

Cricket Show 47: Coaching

The show turns its focus to coaching this week. David and Kevin discuss some of their coaching experiences and look at your questions. Ian Pont is also back with another tip, this time for spinners.

This week's question section features 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: 65
Date: 2009-09-25