bowling action

September 17, 2017 | Author: Prachi Bisht | Category: Bowling (Cricket), Games Of Physical Skill, Throwing, Sports, Athletic Sports
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Approach[edit] The approach is the motion of the bowler prior to bowling the ball. It is also known as the run-up. A spinner's approach differs from that of a medium pace or fast bowler, but certain principles remain the same: 

Balance: lack of balance in the approach translates into lack of balance in the later stages of the action and so absence of accuracy.

Consistency: a consistent approach allows the later phases of the bowling action to be consistent. Moreover, inconsistency is likely to lead to bowling no-balls.

Head still and upright.

The strides of the bound, back foot contact, front foot contact and the first stride of the follow through should all be in line in order to give a balanced action that flows towards the target. Medium pace and quick bowlers usually employ a straight approach that is aligned toward the target. Spin bowlers, on the other hand, tend to have more varied approaches. Other recommended elements of the approach are: 

Starting with shorter strides then lengthening to cruise in to the bound.

Leaning slightly forward, running on the balls of the feet.

Running with the hands pumping, tucked into the side. This tucked in run up is intended to set the pattern for the whole delivery, keeping everything in a tight corridor flowing towards the target. Some bowlers choose to sacrifice this in order to cover the ball with the non-bowling hand in order to disguise the grip.

Long enough to hit the desired cruise speed and arrive balanced at the bound. Some bowlers, especially chest on bowlers tend to run through the crease. This adds the speed of the approach to the speed at which the ball is released. In contrast, side on bowlers tend to be more similar to javelin throwers. The lower part of their body brakes between front foot contact and point of release causing a whip like effect. Hence side on bowlers tend to have slower approaches.

Bound[edit] The bound is a jump that allows the bowler to transition from the run-up to the back foot contact position. For a chest on bowler not much transition is needed. So, many chest on bowlers have a low, short bound. In contrast, side on bowlers need to rotate their bodies through ninety degrees and so tend to have a longer, higher bound. A high bound can lead to the knee on the back foot collapsing and so lose momentum.

Delivery stride[edit] Delivery stride is the stride during which the delivery swing is made, whether the ball is released or not. It starts when the bowler’s back foot lands for that stride and ends when the front foot lands in the same [1] stride.

Back foot contact[edit]

Back foot contact is position of the bowler at the instant when the back foot lands on the ground just prior to delivering the ball. For a right-handed bowler, the back foot is normally the right foot. An alternative name for back foot contact is coil. Alignment To avoid back injury it is important that the hips and shoulders are aligned at back foot contact. This can be done in any of the following positions: 

Side on: the back foot is parallel to the bowling crease causing the hips to be side on. The non bowling arm is positioned in front of head so causing the shoulders to align with the hips. A classic example of a side on bowler is Dennis Lillee.

Chest on: the back foot points straight down the track towards the target, aligning the hips parallel to the bowling crease. The non bowling arm is positioned to the side of the head. This aligns the shoulders and chest parallel with the bowling crease and hips. Malcolm Marshall is an example of a chest on bowler.

Mid-way: the back foot is in between the side on and chest on position. A fine example of a mid-way bowler is Allan Donald.

If the bowler's back foot is behind parallel to the bowling crease, the bowler loses momentum and speed when delivering the ball. This is because the bowler's back foot bends at the knee and causes momentum to be lost and the bowler then has to go back and lift their whole body back upright.

An action that fails to align hips and shoulders at back foot contact is termed a mixed action. Other coaching points 

The body should be upright or just slightly leaning back. Leaning back too far causes momentum to be lost as it takes too long to transfer from back foot contact to front foot contact.

Head still and looking at the target.

Ball held close to the chin. This tucked in position allows the ball to be brought through in an arc that is aligned with the target. This is obviously important for accuracy, but is also important for power.

The non bowling arm should also be inside or close to the line of the trunk. Traditionally the non bowling arm is held vertically. More recent bio-mechanical theories have suggested that the non bowling hand touching the bowling shoulder provides a shorter lever, permitting greater pace for quick bowlers. Shoaib Akhtar uses this technique.

Front foot contact[edit] Front foot contact is the position of the bowler at the moment when the front foot hits the ground just prior to delivering the ball. For a right-handed bowler the front foot is normally the left foot.

Point of release[edit] The point of release is the position of the ball in relation to the body at the moment when the ball is [2] released. It is crucial for the arm to be stiff, not bent, and the wrist rather looser, to ensure smooth release of the ball, and sufficient bounce off the pitch. Otherwise, the action will resemble chucking. The left shoulder ought to be somewhat towards the stumps, the arm beside the bowler falling away, having just before this stage been pointing directly at the stumps.

For fast bowlers at the point of release the back of hand will be facing in the opposite direction of the batsmen facing the pending delivery. The front of the upright wrist and tips of the index and middle fingers all point to the target. For spin bowlers the wrist may well be at various angles at release point. This is because one is trying to create drag on a particular side of the ball, not propel it straight as per the section above. 

Hang onto the cricket ball as long as possible. By doing this you create a large arm pull, which maximises the 'catapult' effect. The last thing you do when you bowl is let the ball go

Try not to get your arm overly high. If you imagine a 12-hour clock, as viewed from the batsman's end, the bowling arm can be any hour before 12 but not a minute past. For every minute you go past 12 o'clock you are affectively leaning across to bowl and this reduces both your speed and accuracy. If you have a very high action, you are likely to only bowl inswing. If you find this is the case, try to lower your arm to around 11 o'clock

A front on bowler tends to have more ground speed than a sideways bowler. This is because a front on bowler doesn't have to jump so high as they do not need to turn their back foot sideways. If you do need to jump at the crease, we are looking for long jump rather than high jump. Simply ensure that you do not lean back when your back foot lands either. This makes it harder to transfer your weight from back foot to front foot

Imagine you are bowling in a railway track. This will help you run-up straight, keep your weight moving in a straight line in your action and follow-through straight. If it doesn’t go at the batsman, then change it!

Your non-bowling arm is far more important than your bowling arm. Use it properly by driving it out and down so it passes your side. When you do this properly, it will accelerate your bowling shoulder and help increase speed

Keep your elbows and arms pumping in as you run up and load up into your action. Nothing throws your momentum and straight lines off like unnecessary side-to-side movements. Keeping your action ‘tight’ helps you to control the release of the ball

Make sure you fully rotate your shoulders on completion of action. If you have a name on your back imagine you are going to show it to the batsman when you finish. This will help you think about how much of a shoulder turn you’re aiming for

Try to drive your chest through the crease just before you let the ball go. The sensation is that of being pulled forward by the batsman with a big rope attached to your chest. This gets you ‘as far in front of the ball’ as possible and increases arm pull and speed of the arm

At the point of delivery, your hips and nose will be facing the batsman. If your bowling hip is ‘lazy’ it will lag behind thus dropping your speed. If your nose isn’t facing the batsman, your head is probably falling away. The hips are the powerhouse of your body. Get them in the right position

Try not to throw your non-bowling arm too high as it gets you off balance and affects your timing. Remember, you’re trying to go forwards, not up and down

Your bowling arm starts to bowl from the downswing, which is close to your bowling side hip. Getting your bowling hand into this position quickly from your load-up helps you improve your speed and timing

Hi, I've just turned 16, I'm a fast bowler about 65-75mph at a consistent level, but I have this issue with my action. I don't have a set action! I believe I have a talent of imitating an action of a bowler. For example, during a game I could bowl with the action of Steve Harmison then the next ball I would bowl like Brett Lee with the same level of accuracy and pace. I struggle to find a action that I can stick to! What shall I do?

Hi Oliver, it's not unusual for young bowlers to have this type of problem. You've actually learnt your action from watching other bowlers and if you've got Sky TV then you'll have been able to watch the best bowlers in the world. For your brain and body to learn a stable and repetitive bowling action you need to choose who you want to be as a fast bowler. This can be in imitation of your favourite bowler, the one who you feel most comfortable bowling like. Choose a bowler who has a smooth, repeatable action like Dale Steyn, Jimmy Anderson or Brett Lee. Then make the decision to bowl like them all the time so that your brain and body learn to do this automatically. This is learnt consciously to begin with as you pay attention to how you are bowling, after a while the subconscious part of your brain learns this and you don't have to consciously think about it any more. Just like learning to ride a bike. Be patient, allow this to grow into your bowling over a period of weeks and months. It may help to keep a diary of how it is going, you need to remind yourself of what you are paying attention to in order for the action to become stable and embedded. Every bowler has a unique bowling action, a lot of which depends on their body type and their bowling style. There two main types of bowlers - spin and seam and both can bowl left or right-handed. Seamers are generally the faster bowlers with longer run-ups while spinners usually only have a few paces before they deliver the ball at a slow pace. Both types of bowlers will use different grips on the ball, more of which is explained in the seam and spin bowling section.

Finding the right action depends on how comfortable you feel when you bowl. SIDE ON

Most bowling actions are side on, which means the shoulders are square to the batsman. This is the position which most coaches will encourage bowlers to release the ball from. The side on action will also encourage away swing more than a front on action. Examples of the side-on action include England bowler Matthew Hoggard, Australia's Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath. FRONT ON

Rather than bowling side on, the bowler tends to have an open chest. This does not mean the front on action is wrong, it should be encouraged if some bowlers prefer bowling in this fashion. England fast bowlers Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff have open-chested actions, along with South Africa's Makhaya Ntini. MIXED ACTIONS

The chances of picking up injuries are greatly increased if a bowler has an action that puts too much pressure on their body. A mixed action is a combination of both the side on and front on action, which puts unneccessary stress on the spine. It's important to get your bowling action checked out by a coach to ensure it is either side on or front on, rather than a bit of both. Remember: "Keep the hips and shoulders in line and you'll be fine - twist the back and it will crack!" When bowling in cricket there are many possible cricket tips or hints that can help improve your bowling.

A spin bowler tossing one up...

In bowling, a combination of natural ability, good technique and practice is the recipe for good bowling, whether it is fast, slow or spin. Here are some tips that will help your bowling and when implemented correctly your bowling speed:  The basic grip to hold the ball is to keep the seam vertical and to hold the ball with your index finger and middle finger either side of the seam with the side of your thumb resting on the seam underneath the ball.  In your approach/run in, try to stay Smooth, Balanced, Economical, Rhythmical and Consistent and stay relaxed and try not to tense up.  During your approach and action, your head position is very important. Make sure that as you approach the wicket you are running at a steady, consistent speed, and increase strides. Aim to keep your head as steady and level as possible, looking towards your target.  Pull your front arm down and through the target area, making sure you complete the delivery with a full follow through.  Try to keep everything in the same direction, towards your target, keep your hips and shoulders parallel/in-line, and follow through the delivery in the direction where you intend the ball to go  As a bowler it is very important to stay in great shape, as you’ll enjoy the game more and perform better in the latter stages if you have good stamina. So incorporating some light weight sessions in to your training is important.  Aim to try and run 3 times a week to keep your cardiovascular system in top condition and to improve your stamina. South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, is well know for running 10Km every morning, even on match days! But make sure you consult your coach/doctor/gym instructor before starting any sessions.

Cricket at every level has never been faster. The influence of Twenty20 cricket now demands batsman who score fast, spinners who turn it miles and, most importantly, bowlers who can blast out the opposition. There are as many different approaches to pace bowling as there are bowlers and coaches. Some ideas are downright misguided but there are a few that remain essential in generating every last ounce of speed from your spell. Here are those bedrock elements:

1. The Law of Universality Anyone is capable of bowling faster. There is no magic: It’s all just a matter of using science to your advantage. The fancy words are biomechanics and physiology but, as we will see, these are just terms for coaching tips that anyone can apply. The main thing to remember while you work through the following Laws is this: Any cricketer can apply them to improve their bowling pace. You just need to put in the commitment to improve.

2. The Law of Professional Application The chances that you are a professional cricketer while reading this are slim (although you may hope to be). You don’t have access to professional coaching. Maybe you don’t have access to any coaching. Your valuable free time is split between cricket and other things. Cricket is not your job, it’s what you do for fun. Those valid reasons for not being as good as a professional don’t stop you from applying a professional attitude during the time you have for cricket. This is what The Law of Professional Application is all about: 

Committing what time you have. We all have some free time. You have a choice what you do with it. If you choose to go to the gym or nets you are applying yourself like a pro. If you choose to watch TV because you are tired you are never going to get faster. Thinking 24 hours. You can still apply yourself professionally when you are doing other things. Fast bowling is built on getting the basics right as well as making sure your action is spot on. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and keeping your stress levels down are often ignored elements of success. If you are too tired or too skinny you are not going to bowl your fastest. Crossing the white line. The third element in acting professionally is what you do when you are training (no matter how little free time you have to give to it). Are you working out with direction and intensity? When you hit the nets do you go all out or just turn your arm over? Do you have a goal for every session? There is no reason to have an amateur attitude at these times, even if you are an amateur player. It’s important not to underestimate your mindset when it comes to fast bowling. Really bowling fast starts with your attitude and translates into your body.

3. The Law of the Building From The Ground Up What separates great fast bowlers from the crowd? Movement. Watching top bowlers like Brett Lee or Michael Holding approach the crease and power through their actions in a smooth, rhythmical way is a critical aspect of top speed. Great movement starts long before the run up and action itself, and no amount of coaching can change that if you have not built your movement skills up first. Physical therapist Gray Cook demonstrates this by talking about a pyramid of performance:

Skill. This is the peak of the pyramid: The bowling action itself (which we talk about in the next few Laws). If you are lacking the basics of the fast bowling action you need to work with a coach to develop them. Or at the very least, buy and study the coaching chapter in Ian Pont’s ground breaking Fast Bowler’s Bible. Athleticism/Power. Sitting below skill on the pyramid is your general power and athleticism. This is your ability to generate force in a non specific way such as how fast you can run or how high you can jump. Without a decent level of strength you will tire more quickly. You will not have as much capacity in your muscles to produce maximum speed either. Mobility/Stability. The base of the pyramid is your ability to perform simple movements with both mobility (able to move through the entire range of the movement) and stability (control the body during movement). If you cannot move freely you cannot bowl as fast as your potential allows. You also have a greater injury risk as your other parts of your body try to compensate for the flaws in your action.

Most players I see focus on the skill element, forgetting the importance of power, mobility and stability. I want to talk about skill itself in the next few Laws, but never forget that without the other elements you will never reach your maximum potential. I’ll be coming back to both during this series. To go to part two click here In part one we looked at the basics of fast bowling: attitude, skill, power and movement. In this part I’ll examine the important skill element: the bowling action itself. Your action is probably the single most important piece in the puzzle of fast bowling. Rightly so, many bowlers focus on it to improve their speed. Here are the Laws that relate directly to your action creating bowling speed.

4. The Law of Arm Speed Let’s start with a simple bit of physics: The faster your bowling arm moves the faster the ball comes out. This is perhaps no revelation. The question is this: How do you get a fast arm? Your chest is all important. Ensure your chest is as far in front of your hips as possible in your delivery stride. As Ian Pont says, as if the batsman is pulling you towards them with rope tied around your chest. This works because it generates momentum. Like a sprinter coming out of the blocks, the further forward you can lean the more momentum you are able to produce. This converts directly to more arm speed and then more ball speed. Find a great fast bowler and you will always see a great chest drive.

5. The Law of Powerful Hips If the chest gets you in the best position of momentum, it’s the hips that produce the power. A recent study found a direct relation between jump height and bowling speed. This is because it’s the hips that produce the power in both. How does this feel as you bowl?

Like you are driving your hip forwards. Whether you are side on, front on or halfway between the important element is to have both hips facing the batsman as you deliver the ball. If you have not driven your hip through and it lags behind you literally leak energy and this slows you down. To borrow a phrase from elsewhere, it’s like trying to fire a cannon from a canoe.

6. The Law of Long Levers Here is another simple point of physics: The longer the lever the more acceleration is possible. This is why tall bowlers have a natural advantage as this study proves. However, the Law still applies to you no matter how long your arms are. Both your bowling and non bowling arms are important levers. This means keeping your arms fully extended as you bowl. Most bowlers do this already with the bowling arm, but it’s also vital to use the non bowling arm to drive out and down. This allows you to fully rotate your shoulders and move into the follow through: A giant cartwheel whipping through. As this study shows, shoulder rotation is directly linked to speed. It’s all about using every inch of the levers you have.

7. The Law of Reducing Leaks What is an energy leak? In bowling performance terms it is a glitch in your movement that is stopping you from bowling at top speed. The body is not made up of individual muscles, it is a chain. In a complex movement like bowling at speed, one small error can cut of the flow of energy through your hips, trunk and shoulder which can significantly slow you down an increase injury risk. Ian Pont, in The Fast Bowler’s Bible, points out that a common energy leak is when a bowler stops his hip driving round by landing his (or her) foot too far to the leg side. This is why it is important to land with an open position at the crease. Other potential leaks are letting the hip lag behind as you bowl, not using the front foot as a brace, not pushing your front arm out and down and not following through straight towards the batsman. Many of these leaks are technical issues. A good coach or studying The Fast Bowler’s Bible could help you stop these kinetic errors. However, there are more fundamental elements to consider too. Elements that allow you to both get into the best positions easily and generate maximum power from those positions. In the next part we will look at these elements. Most bowlers below the elite level ignore them. Don’t make that mistake. To go to part three click here.. Many bowlers at club level underestimate how important the final set of Laws are. However, without them you are never going to achieve your potential. If you really want to bowl fast, you must not ignore these Laws. It’s not always about technique.

8. The Law of Fast Twitch At it’s most basic, fast bowling is about moving fast. As we know from Law 4, the faster your arm is, the faster the ball will be. A large part of this is technique but underneath that is your very muscle fibres themselves. As you may already know, our muscles are made up of slow fibres and fast fibres. The fast fibres allow you to produce force quickly. We are all born with different numbers of both but it’s possible to increase the number of fast fibres through strength training. The advantages of the right kind of training should be obvious: faster arm speed and more hip drive. However, you need to train fast to bowl fast. So leave the long, slow jogging and isolation exercises like bicep curls behind. You are looking to perform exercises that increase your ability to generate power in your action. This would be exercises that work your whole body, especially your hips and upper body. For example:    

Jump squat Olympic lift variations Plyometric push up Sprinting

Additionally, other strength training should be performed as fast as you can using proper technique (if you are unsure of the form for an exercise seek advice from a professional fitness training). Most of this strength training will be based on movements rather than muscles: Pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging and twisting. See this book for a complete program that can be done in as little as 2 days a week.

9. The Law of Deliberate Practice Practice makes perfect they say. In fact, it’s perfect practice that makes perfect. How do you practice bowling at pace with a deliberate outcome? There is nothing more effective than just bowling. You can bring in the help of a coach to work on your technique, but you can go and bowl anytime as long as you have a ball and enough space. Set down a target on a good length and just bowl until you can hit it at will and at pace. England international Jon Lewis recommends you spend 80% of your practice time just aiming to hit a length at maximum pace. The rest of the time is working on variations like yorkers and slower balls. If you are bowling at a batsman (and most club training sessions will be structured like this) then ignore them and continue to work on hitting your target area even if you can’t mark it. Always bowl off your full run up and never bowl no balls. If you can organise it, bowl in 6 ball overs rather than taking it in turns to bowl and rest for a couple of minutes between overs. This is to make your practice as realistic as possible. However, it’s best to avoid this practice if you can. If your pace is good in nets try and bowl in practice games; either in friendlies or middle practice. This will improve your ability to bowl fast under pressure.

How much you practice depends on your age, time available and goals. The LTAD plan recommends if you are developing skills you should train your skills more than you play (especially if you are under 16). Experienced adult club players who are looking to hone rather than develop need less training time, but 1-2 pre-season and in-season skill sessions of bowling practice per week will show good results. If you are under 18 you may be subject to your governing body directives on fast bowling. These are designed to prevent over use injuries so I highly recommend you follow the guidelines, even if you ‘feel OK’. Many stress fractures are caused by overbowling and since the ECB introduced limits to balls bowled in practice there has been a significant drop in injuries.

10. The Law of Mobility-Stability A great deal of fast bowling is about technique. However, if you are inflexible or lack strength in your trunk you will be unable to get into the positions of maximum speed potential. You need to be able to combine mobility with stability. In practical terms this means having a good range of motion in your ankles, hips and shoulders. it also means having very stable lower back and knee joints supported by muscles that are able to prevent movement in your legs and abdominal area. 

Range of motion. To be able to drive your chest forward and bring your shoulders round as you drive through, you joints need to give you as much movement as possible. If you are finding these aspects of your action wanting then you should step up the amount of stretching you do. You can do this by increasing your warm up to include more dynamic stretches. You can also do yoga or pilates to teach yourself body awareness and increase your flexibility. Also, if you get injured a lot you may need to do something similar as lack of flexibility increases the risk of injury. Prevention of motion. Fast bowling generates a lot of force through the body. This makes the knees and low back potential injury points and the core (deep drunk muscles) a point of energy leak (see Law 7). For this reason you need to include exercises in your strength training that both improve the strength of your deep core and improve your ability to prevent motion (anti-rotation). You can get some ideas here.

A very simple way to test your mobility and stability is to see if you can perform an usupported full depth bodyweight squat without your heels raising off the ground. If you can’t do this then more work may be needed. Bear in mind that this is an over-simplified test and if you are worried about this aspect of your bowling it’s worth investing in this book. It contains a more full range of tests and some simple exercises you can add to your warm up or cool down to correct the problem.

Finally… Those are the 10 Laws, none more important than the other and all contributing to your ability to bowl a cricket ball at the maximum speed your genetic potential allows.

Some bowlers will be able to reach 90mph. The average club fast bowler is nearer 75mph. Whatever your speed, followling the 10 Laws will help you bowl faster then ever before.

Bowling Skills and Strategies Bowlers must understand the principles governing a sound bowling action. A mechanically sound technique can do much to ensure long-term involvement in the game with minimal interruption as a result of injury. As well, efficiency of technique can produce more effective outcomes in terms of generating power, spin or swing. Although it was not a major focus of this book to provide a comprehensive analysis of the skill of bowling, the players we interviewed mentioned some key aspects of technique, which we have summarised.

Pace Bowling Quality pace bowling requires a smooth and accelerating run -up, a powerful and efficient bowling action and the capability to vary the line, length and speed of deliveries according to the perceived weaknesses of the batters and the circumstances of the game.

Run-Up Because research has shown that the run-up in pace bowlers contributes approximately 20 per cent to the velocity of the ball, there has been more emphasis on bowlers’ run-ups. Dennis Lillee consulted a running coach to make sure he was accelerating effectively into the delivery stride. Others have followed suit, albeit somewhat late in their careers, as Merv Hughes indicated: Being young you have a lot more on your mind than running style. This includes where you are going to bowl, what type of delivery and so on. Looking back now, the run-up, delivery and follow-through are the most important stages of bowling, with run-up the most important. John Harmer believes that a bowler is an ‘athlete until the penultimate stride’, and so correct running technique is mandatory. Brian Mcfadyen contends that bowlers need an efficient run-up so that when they get to the crease, they don’t need to place enormous physical load on the body. As well as momentum, he believes the run-up should place the bowler in a balanced position at delivery. McFadyen warns that it is very difficult to alter the running technique of a 21-year-old, and suggests that most work should be done between 8 and 15 years of age. The length of a pace bowler’s run-up has varied throughout the ages, but essentially it should be as long as needed to generate optimum momentum while enabling the bowler to be strong through the crease. Damien Fleming remarked that, like most young fast bowlers of his time, he initially ‘ran in like Dennis Lillee with a high bound in the penultimate stride’. Later in his career, he shortened his run-up from 28 paces to 15 and found that he maintained his pace, was taller at take off and release and had a shorter jump into the delivery, but most important, he felt more powerful and rhythmical.

Efficient Delivery John Harmer offered the following keys to achieving an effective body position in bowling:

   

Leg stability with limited collapsing of the legs throughout the delivery Compactness of the arms so that all force is generated towards the target Alignment of all body parts inside the width of the bowler’s shoulders (see figure 4.1) An injury-free technique

McFadyen also stressed the importance of alignment, explaining that the bowler’s run-up and foot placement should be in a direct line to the target. Richard Done cited the stability at back foot landing, but added that the direction of the front elbow and the position of the hand and body at release are important points in a delivery. All of the preceding tips are relevant to all types of bowling from pace to spin. The following section presents specific issues relating to spin bowling.

Spin Bowling Spin bowling is a complex art that requires guile, effective grips, strong body action and subtle changes in flight to deceive a batter. Ashley Mallett identified the following principles in bowling spin:

   

Ensure that the delivery action is supported by a strong, solid base. Stay tall through the crease, keeping the front leg straight and the leading arm high. Spend as much time on the front leg as possible, and use an up-and-over action to generate the energy required to spin the ball. The key is not where the ball lands, but how it arrives. The more time you spend on the front foot, the more purchase you will achieve on the ball. A hard-spun delivery with lots of overspin will cause the ball to dip acutely. If you spin the ball hard, you will have a bigger area of danger. For example, a Shane Warne leg break, shown in figure 4.2, achieves a danger area as big as a dining room table, but a more modestly spun delivery produces a danger area the size of a dinner plate. Off spin bowlers should keep their bowling arms higher than leg spinners do. In both cases, the front shoulder should point towards the target (to optimise rotation) and rotate like an upright wheel rather than sideways like a Frisbee.

A strong use of the leading, or non-bowling, arm has long been advocated for pace bowlers, but according to Terry Jenner and Ashley Mallett, it is just as important for spin bowlers.

Swing Bowling The ability to swing the ball in a traditional manner has declined in recent years as many bowlers, like Glenn McGrath, have favoured moving the ball off the seam. Many experts believe that this phase will change in the near future, as Harmer noted: ‘Swing bowling will come back and is particularly suited in Twenty20 Cricket. If the ball is straight, then you get very predictable and players are able to risk

hitting through the line of the ball.’ Damien Fleming contends that the keys to orthodox outswing bowling involve positioning the wrist and fingers behind the ball with the ball angled towards the slips (see figure 4.3). With his wrist tilted to point the seam towards the slips, he imparted backspin on the ball as he slid his fingers down the seam at release. It was critical to maintain a stable seam throughout the flight path. Although some achieved this with two fingers close together, his preference was to have the fingers more apart (like Craig McDermott and Terry Alderman). Fleming also focused on placing his thumb right along the seam when he wanted to swing the ball. For cutters and slower balls, he recommended moving the thumb to one side of the seam. Fleming also noted that some bowlers, such as David Saker (former Victorian and Tasmanian outswing bowler), swung the ball effectively by pointing the seam towards slips but with their fingers pointing straight up the pitch at release. The key then appears to be to set the ball in the hands to maintain a stable seam position pointing towards the slips. The opposite action is true for inswing bowling: the seam points towards leg slip and the wrist tilts to accommodate that angle. For reverse swing, Fleming noted two strategies that seem to work. Initially, players bowled with a rounded arm action to facilitate reverse inswing. Bowlers such as Lasith Malinga and Waqar Younis generated late reverse inswing with this method. However, Fleming noted that, in recent times, Victorian fast bowler Shane Harwood and emerging Indian pace bowler Ishant Sharma achieve reverse swing with the seam upright. This fairly recent phenomena in Cricket needs further investigation and practice to determine the best method. In all swing bowling, bowlers must shine the ball appropriately to facilitate variation in smoothness on either side of the ball. According to Carl Rackemann, the late Malcolm Marshall transformed pace bowling. With his front-on action, he was able, through positioning his wrist correctly, to bowl outswing as well as the traditional inswing that is typically achieved with this action. The information in this section is not meant to be a comprehensive coverage of techniques in bowling. Rather, it is intended to address the basics of sound technique. Players need to be persistent and learn to bowl both traditional swing and reverse swing deliveries to maintain potency in their armoury.

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