Pitchvision Academy
Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket

Are things really changing that much?

County cricket might be starting early in Abu Dhabi with pink balls and floodlights, but how much has the revolution changed grass roots cricket?

We still start at the same time every summer, play in whites on weekend afternoons and fielding standards still vary wildly. So probably not that much.

Despite that, I have seen shoots of change at club level. Some sides will always play for the fun and exercise but more serious teams are taking up ideas from the professional game: Fitness, fielding drills, training methods and even psychology are all used now by club players.

So changes are happening, but only if you want them to.

And this newsletter is a great place to start. This week we look at the bestselling coaching resources, tactical tips for winning low scoring games and turning around bad starts and ways for wicketkeepers to borrow practice tips from the professionals.

Have a great weekend,


David Hinchliffe

How to coach wicketkeeping

Imagine the scene, you turn up at nets. The bowler's bowl and the batsmen bat. Sometimes they swap places. It's all pretty typical.

What about the keeper?

The guy is just expected to never make a mistake, even when all the work he gets involves taking throws from fielding practice.

Hardly fair, is it?

The problem of coaching a specialist

You see, wicketkeeping is a specialist position that requires practice away from the rest of the group.

Coaches shy away from the 'keeper because they don't have the specialist expertise or the resources to spend so much time on one player.

It can lead to long term problems too.

Unless the side has a passionate player with the gloves, it tends to go to the batsman who hates the job least rather than being cherished as the conductor of the orchestra.

But with a bit of effort from the coach or captain all these problems can be sidetracked.

And here's how.
Get them early

The first step in a healthy wicketkeeping section at your club is to get the keen ones trying it out as early as possible.

That means making sure younger kids who express even the slightest interest should be given coaching on the basics.

At our club all the 6-9 year olds get basic coaching on keeping wicket (they only play soft ball at that age anyway), and any who like doing it get earmarked to try the big gloves when they move to hard ball cricket.

You can group coach older kids in wicketkeeping up to about 14 or 15, but by then you should have at least a broad idea of who wants to do it regularly and be encoraging and coaching them at every opportunity.

If the coach makes it fun enough, there will be more than one in the team willing to try it. After all it's quite a challenge to your skills requiring hand-eye coordination, technique, concentration and athleticism.

Become world class at the basics

But it's not just 9 year olds who need to get the basics right. Senior keepers need to spend time honing the basics to perfection. No matter how old they are.

Really good 'keepers are not flashy; they just do the basics to world class levels. All the coach needs to do is get the wicketkeeping technically perfect.

You don't need to be a specialist wicketkeeping coach (or wicketkeeper) to be able to coach the basics, and get 'keepers mastering them.

And anyone can do that.
Simply use drills to work on:
  • Head: watch the ball, keep still, keep over the line of the ball
  • Hands: wide catching area, ride with the ball, strong not rigid
  • Feet: move fast and late, be on the balls of your feet, stay forwards.

In particular work on the harder skills: Leg side takes, stumping chances and diving for the ball standing back.

Of course there is more detail to the basics than this. For a proper discussion on the techniques and drills, pick up a copy of first-class wicketkeeper Nic Northcote's eBook: Wicket-Keeping: The Ultimate Guide to Mastering the Art.

Make time for practice

Of course, all the technical discussion in the world is useless unless you make time to practice.

We are back to our typical net session again where the keeper is left behind, or worse, forced to demonstrate his frankly terrible bowling.

Instead the coach (or captain in absence of a coach) should take the lead and ask the keeper if he wants to practice. Most will.

Find a volunteer in the team to help the 'keeper (it helps if there is more than one keeper at practice although this isn't vital) and set up practice drills:

  • In a spare net, practice standing up to throwdowns or a bowling machine on a spin setting. To add to the realism, borrow the batsman waiting to bat to get in the way (batting with a stump).
  • In a spare net get a spinner to bowl. It's good target practice for the spinner and gets the keeper used to that bowler's line, length and bounce. Again, a batsman with a stump can add to the realism.
  • Use a tennis ball without gloves on. Tennis balls are harder to catch and great for grooving technique. Either throw it against the wall or get a partner to hit you the ball with a tennis racquet, getting it to skim off a length or fuller.
  • Work on diving on a soft surface (grass, crash mat) with someone throwing a tennis or cricket ball wide enough to put the dive in. One and two handed. The feeder can mix up the sides and throw in the odd straight one to ensure the 'keeper is not premeditating movement.

There are several other drills that are even more specialised aiming to develop fitness, footwork, reactions and explosive power. However, if time and resources are limited, stick to the basics and get them to the highest possible levels.


FREE REPORT: How to Take More Stumpings

Discover how to take more stumpings and catches with the free online wicketkeeping coaching course on PitchVision Academy. Click here to get your free report and worksheet on how to get more stumpings.

image credit: Jim Grady


Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to turn round a bad start like Rajasthan Royals

After a handful of IPL 3 games the Royals had yet to register a win and were already written off as failures for another year.

After 7 games they had jumped to third in the table and looked unstoppable, despite not having the huge names of other teams.

Can your team copy the Royals method if your own season starts badly?

I think you can, and here's how.

1. Don't practice your batting or bowling

Forget about working on your batting and bowling when you are in a slump. What really matters is the fielding.

Dropped catches demoralise. Bad ground fielding makes a team feel sloppy and undisciplined. Fielding is the bellwether of a cricket team and so becomes even more important in times of strife.

Rajasthan know that nothing raises a cricket team more than brilliance in the field.

Be it dramatic like Jhunjhunwala twice throwing down the stumps against Deccan or efficient like the inner ring squeezing batsmen to cut off the release boundary.

When you are losing move fielding up pecking order during practice. It's amazing how often a diving stop or one handed catch is the moment that momentum shifts.

2. Forget your roles

One of the hallmarks of Shane Warne's team is their clear role definition: Everyone knows what they have to do, be it Michael Lumb hitting out in the first 6 overs or Warnie himself choking teams by slowing the run rate in the middle overs.

But roles are not about being inflexible. If something isn't working it's perfectly reasonable to make a change.

For example, tradition dictates that your fastest bowler gets the new ball. Against the Chargers Shane Warne used a medium paced swing bowler and a spinner in the first couple of overs. One was a success with Sumit Narwal taking Gilchrist third ball.

3. Stroll into the unknown, whistling a happy tune

Under pressure it's easy to revert to tried-and-tested tactics. But if anything, a slump is the time to take more desperate and experimental tactics.

So do what the Royals did; Open the bowling with a spinner. Put in slip and silly point to a new batsman even in a T20 match. Keep mid on and mid off up to invite the lofted drive. Leave a huge gap through square cover to the off spinner. The options are endless.

The trick with this tactic is twofold:
  • Base your experiment in some form of common sense.
  • Play it out with utter confidence.

And it's that confidence that is all important. As long as the whole team back the idea you have a fair chance of it working.

While things will not always go your way (you are in a slump after all), it's not like things can get worse if you experiment.

4. Take your chance, it won't wait for you

Eventually you will force fortunes around. Expect it and take the chance with both hands.

Winning teams do this, while average teams either miss the chance altogether or see an opportunity as something out of their control: A bit of dumb luck that can't last.

Rajasthan are very good at this so follow their lead. When you get that chance, gather the players in and tell them this is the moment luck has turned and to make the most of it.

Chances are the opposition, unless they are really switched on, will see your change of fortunes as bad luck on their part, start playing nervously and end up collapsing. All you need to do is keep the screw turning.

More lessons from the IPL coming up soon, so get the free newsletter to stay right up to date.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

Cricket coaching bestseller list 2010 so far

There has never been a better time to get cricket coaching resources.

Since we started publishing the bestseller list in 2007 sales have gone from strength to strength and choices have never been better or higher quality.

Here are the current lists for bestselling books, eBooks and courses on cricket coaching (or related subjects) for 2010 so far:

Bestselling online coaching
  1. How to Bowl Faster
  2. Strength and Conditioning for Cricket at all Levels
  3. Gary Palmer Masterclass Bundle (complete batting coaching tips and drills)
  4. Consistency and Rhythm: Fast Bowling Technique
  5. The Umpiring Survival Guide

Congratulations to Ian Pont for snagging the top spot from Rob Ahmun. A special credit has to go to Gary Palmer's batting bundle, proving that even higher priced courses can sell well if the quality outweighs the cost.

Bestselling eBooks
  1. Batting Mechanics
  2. The Handbook of Cricket Drills
  3. Spin Bowling Tips
  4. Wicket-Keeping: The Ultimate Guide to Mastering the Art
  5. Sports Vision Training for Cricket

This is the first time we have reported on eBook sales separately from courses because the range and sales now justify it. Gary Palmer shows his talent by making number one his own. Shayamal Vallabhjee has two books in the top 5.

Bestselling books
  1. SAQ Cricket: Speed, Agility and Quickness for Cricket
  2. Bob Woolmer's Art and Science of Cricket
  3. The Fast Bowler's Bible
  4. Zone Mind, Zone Body: How to Break Through to New Levels of Fitness and Performance - by Doing Less!
  5. Tom Smith's New Cricket Umpiring and Scoring: Jubilee Edition

Finally, how could we forget the top 5 books as sold through Amazon? SAQ hits the top spot for the first time since October 2007. Ian Pont and Bob Woolmer also have strong showings with a large gap in sales between the top 3 and the next 2.

If there is not something for you in that lot then you are in the wrong game!

Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to Win Low Scoring Cricket Matches

You have been bowled out for a frankly humiliating score.

All the opposition need to do is knock off the runs, doff their caps and shake hands while holding back a snigger.

In the changeover of innings the team atmosphere says it all. Everyone is wondering how to get out of the mess.

But it is possible.

Cricket Show 73: Trigger moves

PitchVision Academy Cricket ShowThe show has had a spring clean and we unveil the new name and logo. But business continues as usual.

Gary Palmer gives us another detailed batting tip and we get back to your questions.


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.


Take a tour
Want Coaching?

Send to a Friend

Do you have a friend or team mate who would be interested in this newsletter? Just hit "forward" in your email program and send it on.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to get subsequent issues, you can subscribe here.


PitchVision Academy

irresistable force vs. immovable object

Thank you for subscribing to PitchVision Academy.
Read more at www.pitchvision.com


To unsubscribe eMail us with the subject "UNSUBSCRIBE (your email)"
Issue: 92
Date: 2010-04-02