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Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


We are celebrating Christmas at PitchVision Academy this week but still found time to come up with some brand new content for you to enjoy.

We examine how stats can help your game, give you a free bowling tip from Ian Pont and show you how to protect your shoulder from injury. Plus Jarrod Kimber joins us on the festive edition of the miCricketCoach Show. Think of it as another gift under the tree.

Have a great Christmas,


David Hinchliffe

Stat Attack: Little known ways your scorer will help your team improve

Admit it, you know your average.

Some players know it to the 3rd decimal place, some have a more vague idea, but we all love to know what our average is. It's such an easy way to compare players. Average over 40 with that bat and you are doing well, average under 20 with the ball and you are a star player.

But stats are increasingly having a place in helping teams win more games, and most teams can take advantage easily, even at club and school level.

Taking a lesson from the IPL

In 2003 a book called Moneyball argued that baseball was using outdated stats to decide how valuable the multi-million dollar players were. In particular it showed how a team with far less money for buying players could match the big spenders by picking players undervalued by traditional statistics.

This model was emulated by Rajasthan Royals in the first IPL tournament. They used non-traditional stats to analyse player's strengths and bought a team for less than half of the price of the most expensive side.

So how does this help a club team on a Saturday afternoon?

Using old fashioned averages

Before we look at the exciting stuff that can give you a real edge, let's not forget the traditional averages. Here are some uses for the data your side probably already keeps:

  • Batting order. A good average means a reasonable batsman so a place in the top order makes sense. You can also see from strike rate which batsmen like to score quickly. This allows you to place those players in a position when quick scoring is needed most, such as towards the end of a one day match.
  • Bowling spells. Average and strike rate (balls per wicket) are a good general indicator a captain can use when picking bowlers to try and bowl the opposition out. For example, if the opposition are 5 wickets down, needing 80 runs in the last 20 overs you would lean towards a bowler with a strike rate of 24 (or lower) and an average of 16 (or lower) as, on average, these stats will lead to you bowling the opposition out for less than the runs required.
  • Limited overs. In limited over style games the bowler's average runs per over (RpO) is very important. If the opposition are chasing 200 to win in 50 overs and your bowlers have an RpO of 3.5 then, on average, you win.

Of course, cricket is more complicated than the numbers. Conditions change, form goes up and down and opposition batsman do crazy things. That said, a good captain has these figures in mind when he is thinking about the batting order or deciding who should be bowling.

Moneyball in club cricket

Where things start to get really interesting is when you look at the lesser known stats. All these figures assist captains in deciding things under match pressure. However, even better, they allow players to identify and correct weaknesses that can get them up to the next level. Let's look at some of these stats now.

Hit ratio - For batsmen this is a stat that shows you how many times you made contact with the ball. The more 'good' contacts you make per innings, the more runs you score. A dot in the scorebook might be a play and miss, a thick edge just short of a fielder or a cover drive out of the middle brilliantly fielded. Each outcome requires a different intervention from the coach.

This requires an eagle-eyed scorer in matches to record the outcome (play and miss, good contact, bad contact, left) or PitchVision in the nets (PitchVision allows the bowler, batsman or coach to tap a button to record outcomes like 'play and miss').

This ratio can also been applied to bowlers. Bowler's who have less 'good' contacts take more wickets.

First ball runs - It's been shown that the better the average runs from the first ball of the over, the better the chance of winning. That's why modern ODI teams are looking to score from the first ball more aggressively. Teams who are aware of this stat will be looking to attack more too.

If your first ball average is low, it gives you something to work on as a team, especially rotating the strike which can be overlooked at lower levels unless players are really getting tied down.

Phase runs - Rather than looking at the rate per over across a whole innings, clever coaches can split the innings into 3 phases: opening overs, middle overs and death. Look at the run rate of each phase to identify where your strengths and weaknesses are. For example, many club and school teams start slowly and runs are lost in the first 10-20 overs that can only be made up with over aggression at the end.

As stats get used more often, the sharp coach, captain or player can use them to gain an advantage that you don't see in the normal figures. Make the most of your scorer, they are becoming more valuable every season.

image credit: Nick Treby


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Use the 4 tent pegs bowling drill to improve your pace and accuracy

The 4 tent pegs fast bowing drill has been designed by Ian Pont to improve fast bowlers at all levels.

The drill is performed without a ball to allow the bowler to get the right feel for the 4 key positions of the bowling action.

This video is a free sample of Ian Pont's How to Bowl Faster online training course. If you like the video, you can purchase the rest of the course and get instant access.


Want to learn more technical infomation about coaching fast bowlers? Click here to view Ian Pont's fast bowling course on PitchVision Academy.


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Cricket training secrets: How to protect your arm from bowling and throwing injury

This is part two of a series of tips that are often overlooked by traditional cricket coaches. All are proven to give you the edge but because they don't originate in the cricket world have not been picked up by the mainstream of players yet. That's why we are calling the series "training secrets". This secret is about how to protect your throwing and bowling shoulder.

Cricket is not exactly kind on the shoulder. All that bowling and throwing. Why do you think so many players in your team have beaten up shoulders?

Fortunately, cricket is not the only 'overhead' sport and we can use research from tennis, baseball and volleyball to help prevent shoulder injuries in bowlers and fielders. It's not like your shoulder can tell what you are doing, it's just responding to stimulus.

Here are 4 rules to help keep your shoulder healthy.

1. Stick to your limits

Strength training is the best way to help prevent shoulder injuries. A strong shoulder is a healthy shoulder. But it's also important to know where your limits are when it comes to training.

The shoulder joint is capable of a lot of movements: retraction, protraction, elevation, depression and rotation. And every shoulder joint is different. Sometimes it just plain hurts to press a weight over your head or perform an upright row.

So the rule is simple: If it hurts, don't do it.

There are plenty of ways to strengthen your shoulder without doing exercises that hurt.

Logically, this also applies to bowling and throwing. Use pain as a message you need to take a rest and see a doctor or physio.

2. Work every movement

Not all shoulder training is about lifting heavy weights. The scapula bone of the shoulder is moved around by a number of smaller muscles, all need to be made strong. However because they are small they don't need a lot of weight to be worked.

Most important movements and some exercises to keep them strong are:

3. Get moving

Most of us spend a lot of time in bad postural positions: sitting at a desk, driving, playing computer games and watching TV lock us in to bad patterns. We end up with rounded shoulders, hunchbacks and tight hips.

A few hours of cricket and gym work is barely enough to counterbalance the rest of the week's bad positions. In other words, your life might be causing your shoulder problems.

Sadly, we can't all give up a desk job or pack in school to climb trees to solve this problem, but we can make an effort to move more. At least once an hour (and ideally every 15 minutes), get up, stretch out and move for a few minutes. It will put your shoulders in more natural and less injury prone positions.

4. Look at the soft tissue

We talked about foam rolling in detail in part one of this series. The cricketer's shoulder is especially vulnerable to building up scar tissue in the fascia.

You can use a tennis ball to self 'massage' the shoulder capsule area and two tennis balls taped together to improve the mobility of your t-spine (and sort your posture out).

Although none of these 4 tricks will guarantee you a healthy shoulder, they will drastically increase your chances of staying pain and injury free.


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Revealed: The Secret of How to Bowl Fast

Research into fast bowling has revealed two simple changes to your action goes 50% of the way to top bowling speed.

Forget about "hip drive", "chest drive" and "pulling your non-bowling arm in": It's all about the feet and legs at the crease. This simple knowledge, which so far has been ignored by coaches, can be turned to your advantage.

Cricket Show 61: Cricket with balls at Christmas

David is joined by writer, blogger and podcaster Jarrod Kimber (also known as jrod from cricket with balls) as this week's guest presenter.


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: 78
Date: 2009-12-24