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Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


When it comes to batting, technique is the foundation that everything else is built on. But how much real technical work do we do?

As usual, Gary Palmer points out this shortcoming and shows us a simple, proven and effective way to get your technique perfect.

We also look at lessons from the IPL, how to be a last-minute wicketkeeper and the importance of head position in bowling and fielding.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

Guaranteed: How to play the perfect shot every time

Gary Palmer, PitchVision Academy Batting Coach, has 20 years of coaching experience and has come up with a fool-proof way of achieving perfection in batting. If you would like group or one-to-one coaching with Gary visit CCM Academy.

We all know batting is more to do with the mind but it's impossible to succeed at the highest level with a flawed technique.
The more perfect your technique becomes the less you need to think about it. This allows you to focus all your concentration on watching the ball with confidence and an uncluttered mind.
But you can't walk into a match and expect to be perfect.
To achieve perfection you need to practice hard and hit lots of balls over a prolonged period of time with a meticulous eye on detail of technique, building up your muscle memory, concentration, work ethic, discipline and mental toughness.
This method of coaching is called 'grooving' and I swear by it.
Why is grooving important?
Grooving sessions are solely about technique.
They are different to 'traditional' nets and matches which are about the game plans and watching the ball while judging length and line. You can't improve technique in these situations, which is why grooving is so important.
Grooving is not just hitting balls for 10 minutes; it's hitting balls for an hour or more. If you have alignment, balance, or poor completion of shot issues, they can be quickly identified and corrected early on in a grooving session.
The longer you hit the better you get until perfection is constantly achieved.
And 'constantly' is the important word.
Grooving works when the coach sets the highest standard. If there is even the slightest flaw the coach and player should address it immediately.
Accepting nothing less than perfection is part of the process.
It's no good saying 'good shot' to a talented player if part of the technique is incorrect. All that happens is the player thinks they have got it right and will try to reproduce it.
Doing this will not eradicate any flaws in technique.
You won't get perfect technique as second nature.
And you certainly won't be able to bat naturally.
How to use grooving to get a perfect batting technique
The technique of the straight bat shots (on, off and straight drive, front and back foot) are the basis of a good player and are no. 1 priority.
The grooving process I have established over many years of trial and error is:
  1. Groove shots through repetition with a meticulous eye on technique with an easy feed first.
  2. Groove shots from all angles over and around the wicket.
  3.  Intensify the feed by making the deliveries progressively faster.
  4. Introduce swing, in and out, over and around the wicket.
  5. Introduce off spin/left arm spin again over and around.
  6. Introduce run chase scenarios and make them progressively challenging.
You can see all the drills and scenarios for this process I use in my online coaching courses here:
The videos and downloads will give you everything you need to know to progress.
While you can and should start with simple tennis ball drop and bounce feeds, I recommend the Bola bowling machine to progress the grooving process by allowing accurate delivery of swing and spin bowling.
The coach should lead the grooving session and the development of a players technique because the good coach knows what is best for the player. He or she understands the mechanics of technique better than players do. It's something you need a lot of years coaching experience to learn.


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The break-glass-in-emergency guide to last-minute wicketkeeping
It's inevitable that the day will come.

Your regular keeper is out injured/hung over/unavailable. Despite the captain desperately searching for a replacement, none can be found.

Straws are drawn and someone gets the short one.

A pair of gloves are located and shoved on the mitts of the unsuspecting batsman (it's always a batsman).

What are the 3 most important things to remember through the panic and fear?

You have no time to work on technique (although it does help to have a basic understanding of catching with gloves on). That leaves the tactical side:

1. Keep concentrating

A decent catcher will do OK as a stand-in keeper, but the tricky part (even for regular keepers) is when the fatigue sets in.

It's hard work to concentrate on every ball with intense focus, especially when combined with crouching and getting up to add to the physical effort. It can be a culture-shock to a part-timer.

That's why the stand-in has to quickly develop a way of 'saving' focus by switching off between balls like you do when you are batting.

2. Get there

Nobody expects a technical masterclass on wicketkeeping, but it's important to get to as many balls as possible.

That is as much about attitude as it is skill.

The keeper who is prepared to throw himself in the dust (or mud) to turn 4 byes into 1 or prevent overthrows is doing a superb job. It's risking teeth and fingers in the process and is a thankless task.

It's said the best wicketkeepers are silky and hardly noticed. The stand-in can be ugly and ungainly but at least he or she is there and taking a bullet for the good of the team.

And in an emergency situation, that's more important than the ball melting into the gloves.

3. Ignore the mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable. If full-time Test keepers make them, your last minute keeper with borrowed gloves is bound to.

The reaction of the team and the keeper is very important. If everyone decides to put the mistake out of their mind then the chance of it happening again is reduced.

So the rest of the team need to be supportive when mistakes happen and the keeper needs to 'clean the slate' and get back to catching the ball again.

Some people are naturally more inclined to let mistakes get to them. You can train yourself to overcome this, but the stand-in hasn't got time for that.

It may be that when picking the stand-in you go for someone with the ability to keep going even when a catch is dropped.

And that's the secret of becoming a good wicketkeeper fast: You need a certain mental make-up.

Be prepared to throw yourself around in the dirt, give your all, put mistakes out of your mind and deal with the relentless pressure of trying to catch every ball.

And finally, hope the real keeper is back for the next game. You have to be mad to do it full-time!


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Coaching the IPL: Opening weekend

This is the first in a regular series of articles looking at the techniques and tactics used in IPL 3.

The 2010 IPL got off to a rip-roaring start with all the franchises playing over the opening weekend. We watched every game and picked out a few choice cuts that you can take into your games this season.

So here are the first tips, separated by team:

Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders: Games can turn fast

In the opening match Deccan Chargers seemed to have it sewn up with Kolkata at 31-4 after 5.1 overs. Even with a recovery, the final score was a gettable 161. At 99-1 after 11 overs it was Deccan's game.

But the game turned again with 4 wickets taking the score to 128-5. The Knight Riders took the psychological momentum and ran away with it, winning with ease.

The Chargers had the game but let it go because they reacted badly to falling wickets.

KKR, personified by a highly focused Ganguly, kept control with good bowling and fielding and ended up cruising home.

A team skilled in making the most of their opportunities will win more games than a team who don't know what to do when momentum shifts and they feel under pressure.

Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals: It's all about the fielding

Yusuf Pathan's hundred in a vain run chase took the headlines in this match, but the secret to Mumbai's success was that they were the better fielders.

Fielding becomes crucial in high scoring games and Mumbai didn't give an inch after racking up 212 in their innings, including a direct hit run out. Then when R. Sathish ended Yusuf with an outstanding caught and bowled the one slim Royals hope died.

If that is not reason enough for you to get out of the nets and practice hitting stumps, catching and throwing, I don't know what is.

Fielding is the difference at every level.

Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils: It doesn't have to rain sixes

Gautam Gambhir, the Delhi skipper, showed how it's possible to win games without needing to smash the ball into the stands. He played a technically sound 72, batting from first to last over taking the high percentage route and keeping the chase in hand at all times.

It shows that even in Twenty20, chasing a target is as much about keeping your head as it is playing big shots. In any run chase, the key is to take responsibility and aim to finish the match rather than leave it to someone else.

Many sides collapse in low scoring chases because everyone leaves the responsibility to everyone else. Be like Gambhir and be clinical rather than showy.

More updates as the tournament goes on. Get the free newsletter to stay up to date.

image credit: ravages


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Use your head and become a better cricketer (part 1)

This article is part one of a series from Laurie Ward of The Complete Cricketer Academy.

This series of articles isn't about what you think.

Reading a title like this you will think of mental toughness, tactical awareness and the psychological side of the game.

But today we are going to talk about your head has a key role in the techniques of cricket.

Cricket Show 72: Drop the ego

With Kevin away, David is joined by Gary Palmer and we get the final part of our interview with ECB and Lane4 psychologist Wil James.

If you missed the other parts of the interview with Wil you can get them here:


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: 90
Date: 2010-03-19