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The big talk this week has been about the launch of the video coaching service, giving you access to first-class coaching by sending your videos to us to be analysed. A few years ago this would have been impossible, but now all you need to improve is a video camera an internet connection and some commitment.

In the rest of the newsletter we examine the mental tricks that can bring down an opposition's batting innings and some rules for junior cricketers from John Hurley. Speaking of mental tricks, the miCricketCoach Show puts 'confidence' in the spotlight. If you have ever felt your confidence has been a bit low, this is the show for you.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Take a Wrecking Ball to the Opposition's Innings

Most people think you need a demon pace bowler with pace or a wily spinner to run through a team. The real way to destroy things is to use the wrecking ball in the opposition's head. Batting collapses are mental.

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have studied the reasons behind team collapses and have found that most of the reasons lie not with the tactical or technical brilliance of the bowling but with the loss of what commentators call 'momentum'. Or in other words: negative thinking creeping in and the assumption things are going wrong.

So how do you encourage that?

1. Take advantage of your luck

My club side recently played a match where a single stroke of luck turned the game. We were fielding after setting a decent total but the opposition were cruising to victory and well ahead of the rate. A bad ball led to a brilliant catch. This changed our attitude and the momentum of the game. Suddenly we were bowling brilliantly and backing it up with good fielding. The solid opener who was there to support the more aggressive players got stuck facing a series of maidens and the efforts to push the score along at the other end just lead to more wickets.

As research has shown, there is no real difference in the amount of luck we all get. It's just the lucky ones know how to take advantage.

2. Put batsmen in a tunnel

One of the key things the Swedish researchers found about team collapses was poor communication. Or to put it another way, the more trouble they got into the more players got confused about how to deal with it. You can add to this by further distancing the batsmen in the middle from reality.

In strong teams, everyone knows their role and knows how to adapt to changing situations. However, in most teams this is not as clear as it should be and you can add to that feeling by squeezing the batsmen in the middle. You outnumber the opposition 11 to 2 out there, so take advantage:

  • Cut off the batsman's best shots and field with passion so they feel they have no get-out shot.
  • Keep talking to each other in the field with enthusiasm and energy. Although you can't fake it, a side that seem all in it together against a batsman can be very intimidating.

This will encourage the kind of blinkered negative thinking that leads to more pressure and worse shots.

3. Speed the game up

If you have a team under the pump, rack the pressure up by getting through your overs as fast as you can. Batsmen will feel under more pressure if the balls are flying by and they are getting further away from the game.

This works best when you have spinners with short run ups on, but you can still be quick between over and avoid dallying about field placings when the seamers are on (which also adds to the energy in point number two).

4. Cause confusion

Former England player Ed Smith calls it the 'bad pitch mentality'. I'm sure you recognise the symptoms: A couple of good balls leads to wickets falling and confidence dropping as you lose faith in the wicket or assume the bowling is just too good. Before you know it you are all out for a below par score.

With hindsight the situation was not as dire as you thought at the time.

When you are in the field you can add to this mentality in subtle ways against the new batsmen:

  • Talking loudly to your team mates about how much the ball is swinging, seaming or turning today. Or discussing how you can take advantage of the difficult bounce in the pitch as a new batsman takes his guard.
  • Asking a batsman if he is ready to play the big match winning innings (especially good against tail-enders).
  • Placing fielders in very obvious places and making sure the batsman knows you think the fielder is there for his weakness. Or moving a fielder away from a position and being clear it's because you think the batsman can't hit it there.
  • Do something unexpected with field placings or bowling changes that will throw the batters off their rhythm some more.

You can also set the tone while you are batting. My side had a game on a difficult pitch once and the captain caused great confusion in the opposition merely by declaring about 5 minutes early. We had a low score but the captain felt it was enough so why wait?

5. Play well

Finally, the last four tricks are of no use unless you put in a good performance in the field. You must bowl, throw and catch at a good enough standard. That is 90% of the secret of crushing an opponent. That said you don't need to put in a brilliant once-in-a-lifetime bowling spell to cause a collapse. Just good standards back with proven psychological methods.

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How to use online video coaching to take wickets and score runs

Having announced our new video coaching service today, we thought it would be right to give miCricketCoach readers a look 'under the hood' at how it all works.

This article is a guide to the PitchVision Academy Video Analysis service. We will give you the lowdown on what you need to do to make the most of it.

1. Record your video

Let's be honest, we can't do much until you have a video. So get out your digital camera or camera-phone and get recording yourself batting or bowling.

You don't have to be the next Spielberg, but there are better and worse things to do when you film. The ideal angle for batting is from somewhere near where the umpire stands.

Like this:


It makes it a lot harder to analyse your technique if the angle is to the side or from far away. It's also tricky if the camera is shaking so use someone with a steady hand (or a tripod). So make it easy for you and us by getting your angles right. It's completely optional for you to make your fingers into a frame beforehand, but we find it makes you look like a real pro.

Film yourself playing all the shots (up to 8 including the cut, pull, front and back foot drives).

If you are a bowler there are two angles you need to cover:

  • Side on from the open side. Make sure you get in the bound, delivery and start of the follow through.
  • Front on. Take care if you are using someone to help you film when taking the front angle. Stay safe and film from behind the net or wicketkeeper.

Once you have your video, put it onto your PC and head to step 2.

2. Send the video to PitchVision Academy

Your perfect video is ready to go (in fact, you can send up to 4 videos that are up to 50mb in size). How do you get it to the coaches for them to do their work?

You upload it using our easy upload tool (it's not only easy, but it's super cool, all the fashionistas want one). Click here to go there now.

All you need to do to get the video from your PC to the coach is log in and follow the instructions:

  • Select "Feedback Type" (batting or bowling).

  • Click "Browse" and select the video file on your PC.
  • Type a short description in the box "Joe Bloggs Batting Video" for example.
  • Click upload

  • You can add in your notes once you have uploaded all the videos (You can put anything in here you think might help the coach, such as specific issues you are having or past problems you have solved)
  • Once the notes are in, click "I'm Done"

  • Double check the notes in the pop-up box, click OK

Finally click "Send to coach"

Congratulations, your video is on its way.

3. Get back detailed technical analysis and drills

It only takes 72 hours (excluding weekends) for the coach in your speciality area to get back to you. But what will the feedback look like?

Here is a nice screenshot of one of the interactive feedbacks we have prepared earlier:

You can also see the full example lesson on the WattaCoach page on PitchVision Academy.

4. Get in the nets

Now we get to the nuts and bolts. You are armed with all the feedback from your coach but none of it will do any good unless you practice. It's time to head to the nets.

Carefully follow the drills and advice you got from the feedback. Sometimes you can do these things on your own and sometimes you will need to find someone to help you (maybe a batting buddy for the batters).

5. Reap the rewards

Your new technical improvements will lead to runs and wickets if you work hard and follow the instructions from your coach.

To start your video coaching right now, click here.


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Some rules for junior cricketers

What are the main things a junior player should be trying to do every time he or she plays a game?

Here is a list of the rules I have come up with from my experience as a coach. Every team will have its own set of rules. This list is just a start. Remember rules require discipline. Playing with discipline will contribute to success at any level.

  1. Do everything with no wasted time or effort. This can be applied to every task associated with playing the game. From packing your kit prior to leaving home to unpacking your kit once you have returned home. Some specific things that should be done efficiently are:
    1. Moving between overs – directly, at a jog and without pausing for chats.
    1. Getting the ball back to the bowler – through the field, underarm where possible, concentrate on the throw and the catch. Leave the shining of the ball to the bowler.
    1. Padding up and Un-Padding – make sure you can put your hands on all your batting kit easily and always pad up when you are 2nd man to come (i.e. if you are number six in the order you pad up when the second wicket falls). When you are out or the innings is closed, pack your batting kit away as you take it off. Then you always know where it is and no-one can pick your gear up thinking it is their own.
    1. Drinks, Lunch and Tea Breaks – always know who is providing what and what you have to supply yourself. Make sure all this is organized before the warm-up starts so that you are not distracted, and you don’t distract others, once the game is underway. Always have your own food and drink ready and accessible. Do not leave it with a parent. This slows down the process of getting a drink and once again can be distracting. You should be able to access a drink at any time during the day easily and without having to rely upon anyone else.
    1. Warming Up – have a routine that you can move through with little or no supervision. The captain and coach will have things they need to do prior to play commencing and so if you can warm up without their direction, everyone is a winner.
  1. Identify the “One-Percenters”. The one percenters are those little things that when added together can make a real difference between success and failure. Things like always running the first run as hard as you can; always walking in in the field; always backing up in the field and always stretching before and after training and games. Most people do these thing some of the time and some people do these things most of the time. The only way not to get caught out is to do these things every time!
  1. Learn from every game. Make a point of reviewing what has taken place during a days play. Involve your coach and parents where possible and write down the things you learnt that day. Constantly add to this list and regularly go back through your list to make sure lessons learnt are not forgotten!
  1. Make things easy for your Coach and Captain. Pay attention when they are talking. Don’t distract others and try to do as you are asked in every situation – regardless of how you might feel about their instructions. They have the responsibility of leading your team. They are doing their best to make you successful. Respect them and do as you are asked. You will be surprised at how often things work out well when everyone is heading in the same direction!
  1. Enjoy the experience. Remember that no matter how you are performing, you are having an experience that lots of other players your age would love to be having. Enjoy the opportunity to learn more about yourself, your talents and your friends. Enjoy the opportunity to be active and outside playing. Enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and enjoy the contest.

Try and think of some other rules that might help your team be a happier and more successful one!

And when you have a good idea: Share it!

image credit: doogsta

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Laws of cricket: Was a dead ball live and a strange non-LBW

This edition of Laws of Cricket, in association with the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring, covers some more tricky questions of the Laws.

Cricket Show 50: Confidence

The miCricketCoach show reaches its half century this week with a majestic pull through midwicket before raising its bat in quiet celebration. The focus of the show this week is on confidence on the cricket pitch. Kevin celebrates in the rain and Ian Pont is back with another fast bowling tip.


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: 68
Date: 2009-10-16