Pitchvision Academy
Animated Fielding Drills Get Fit For Cricket


I'm power-hungry so that means I love doing my stint as an umpire. But I know it's a responsibility players and coaches face that they don't enjoy as much as me. So, this week I give you a few pointers on how to get better and enjoy it a bit more.

I figure, if it has to be done you may as well be good at it, right?

In the rest of the newsletter we look at more traditional coaching topics: back foot play, captaining leg spin and making sure your team has a future when you finally finish.

Plus we ask you your opinion. How do you encourage your bowlers without getting the nickname 'shotgun'?

Have a great weekend,

David Hinchliffe

Why it makes sense to play off the back foot like Chanderpaul

Gary Palmer, PitchVision Academy Batting Coach, has 20 years of coaching experience talks about how to play off the back foot well. If you would like group or one-to-one coaching with Gary visit CCM Academy.

Long before Shiv Chanderpaul was playing an Englishman, Peter Willey, came back from a tour of the West Indies with a similarly open batting stance.

This was because he was peppered with bouncers from four of the fastest bowlers in the world. He had worked out that being more open give him a better chance of both surviving and scoring runs.

He was right, and so is Shiv.

Batters that stand and play from a sideways position to deliveries on middle and leg stump line have no success against fast bowlers who are bowling short and at your body.

The secret of back foot play

To play the back foot defence, drives and leg glances on the leg side well, it is very important that you open your body position slightly so that you get good access to the ball with the full face of the bat.

To get in to the more open body position you need to dip the head and shoulder forward and push off the front foot to help you get back and across in to the crease.

As you go back the shoulder opens this allows you to present you head towards the ball. The back foot should land slightly turned in pointing towards cover:

The body will then open and the front leg will open out giving you good access to the ball:

As the shoulder opens the bat will align automatically towards 1st slip thus being aligned to the target area allowing the bat to swing in a straight line to the target area with the full blade of the bat:

This more open body position will give you a full range of areas to score in on the leg side while minimising the risks of getting out. It is also a great position to be in to hook and pull and duck the bouncer without turning you head and taking your eye off the ball.

Why staying side on will get you into trouble

Players who get to sideways on middle and leg stump line end up swing the bat across their body in a golf swing fashion while presenting half the bat blade at the ball. Like this:

This is a high risk way of batting and it also minimises your scoring options on the leg side. Generally from this to sideways position you can only play the ball towards square leg and fine leg.

Fast bowlers exploit batters who get too sideways by bowling short balls and bouncers.

As the batter is so sideways there is a blind spot in the area of the right hander's left ear.

This means that some players will turn their head and take their eye off the ball, making them vulnerable to the short pitched delivery. This all happens because the player is closed off and the hands and bat are hidden behind them and it takes longer to get the bat to the ball. When a player is closed off it is particularly difficult to play the ball that swings or nips in to you.

Opening up will cure this problem.
When to stay sideways

The exception to the rule about staying is open is playing off the back foot to balls on off stump and outside off.

Here the back foot should land parallel and keep the body in a more side on position.

If the ball swings away or moves away off the seam the batter is in a good position to adjust and swing the bat through the line of the ball towards the off side with the full blade.

If you want to know more about how to learn to play effectively off the back foot, check out Gary's online coaching course: The Secrets of Successful Back Foot Drives. It contains exclusive drills and tips you can't get anywhere else.


Discuss this article with other subscribers

How to survive your stint as umpire

This exclusive newsletter article was written in conjunction with The Umpiring Survival Guide for Players, Coaches and Non-Umpires on PitchVision Academy.

Are you a player or coach who is asked to umpire?

Perhaps you have to do it in your league when your team has a bye. Maybe there are no appointed umpires and you have to do the job during your team's batting innings. Perhaps you are the team coach and there is no umpire on the day.

Whatever the reason, you are standing with the white coat on.

And desperate not to make a mistake.

Like any skill, good umpiring needs practice, but you can get away with doing well if you learn how to do the basics well. Perhaps surprisingly, these basics are not about knowing the laws

What's the Law got to do with it?

As long as you have a basic understanding of what constitutes a wide, no-ball and LBW you can use fairness and common-sense to run the game.

Because that is the main job of any umpire: To let the players play and only intervene when totally necessary.

Umpires who are respected take the time and effort to allow players to play. Mainly this is by simple things like:

  • Answering appeals, even with "not out" and calling "over" at the end of the over.
  • Offering to take a bowler's cap and jumper before he asks.
  • Mentioning to a bowler when his foot is getting close to the line
  • Responding to reasonable questions about your decisions without justifying yourself.
Be consistent

The other key survival skill as an umpire is to remain consistent as possible. Players are happier with a bad umpire who is bad with everyone than an inconsistent umpire who could be suspected of cheating!

You can be consistent by making decisions one by one. Don't every try and make up for a mistake by giving another poor decision. The players will soon realise you are looking out for them and not taking favourites.

Finally it helps with your consistency to have a basic understanding of the laws and running the game.

You can find out how to do that in more detail in the exclusive on-line course: The Umpiring Survival Guide for Players, Coaches and Non-Umpires; Available now at PitchVision Academy.


Ask the readers: How do you encourage your bowlers?

What do you say in the field to keep the team focused and energised?

I have a bit of a reputation at my club for trying to come up with new things to say to gee up the bowlers.

After all it can be repetitive saying "Come on lads" every other ball.

Already this season I earned the new nickname. I decided to encourage a bowler to take a second wicket quickly by shouting:

"Come on then let's have another. Bang, bang"

I suppose the nickname 'shotgun' is slightly better than 'mad dog'.

In spite of the ribbing I get for saying things like that, I think it's important for fielders to show they are supporting the bowler. It's hard work trying to get wickets.

Other things I have said that work are:

  • "Let's keep the noise up."
  • "Finish the over." (when the bowler has bowled 5 tight balls)
  •  "Good wheels, you are pushing me back a yard." (when a seamer is bowling quickly and I'm standing back)
And I'm one of those annoying keeper's who says "oooo, well bowled" after almost anything that can be seen as a victory for the bowler (edges, thick edges, even dot balls).
You get the idea.
Plenty of noise shows the team are switched on and ready to create and take chances. It puts the batters under subtle psychological pressure. It says: "We are 11 together against you alone. You have no chance."
On the other hand, mindless clapping gets boring quickly.
Good encouragement is genuine.
How do you keep the team going?
So my question to you today is this:
What do you say to your bowlers and fielders between balls to keep everybody in the game?
I'd especially like to hear from you if you are a bowler. What works to keep you going and what just winds you up?

Leave a comment and give me some fresh ideas for this season.

image credit: Ross Elliott

Discuss this article with other subscribers

The 3 golden rules of captaining leg spin

Leg spin is the greatest bowling asset a captain can have. But the combination of lesser accuracy and greater variations means the leggie is also the most difficult to manage.

And that means it's easy to misuse the treasure of the wrist spinner.

Fortunately, there are three simple rules you can keep in mind as captain to help you get the most from leg spin.

1. There is no orthodox leg spinner

How to ensure a bright future for your cricket club

Cricket clubs are like plants. Without proper care and attention they wither and die. Without fresh new players coming through, death draws nearer every season. Players age and retire. Someone needs to be there to replace them when they do.

It's exactly that problem that Chagford CC in Devon has had in recent years. Success has meant them moving to a higher standard of cricket but time is ticking for senior players in the autumn of their careers.


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: 97
Date: 2010-05-07