6 Proven Bowling Practices that are Better than Having Nets

Despite the fact that nets are a multifunctional tool for improving bowling skills, they are used poorly by bowlers.

The net is the Swiss Army knife of cricket training aids. Players who stick to just using the knife are ignoring the screwdriver, corkscrew and bottle opener at their cost. With the right drills nets develop technical, tactical and mental skills as a bowler.

So don’t waste net sessions. Use the right tool for the job.   

1. Target practice

As you already know, there is nothing simpler, easier or more effective than good old target practice. Bowling well means bowling accurately and the way to improve your accuracy is by trying to hit the area on the pitch that you consider accurate. Not rocket surgery.

Without a batsman, place or draw a target on the point in the net you want to hit. Run up and bowl at the target. Repeat.

If you have access to PitchVision you can track your progress over time.

You can do this practice for any type of delivery:

  • Hitting the top of off stump
  • 4/5/6 stump line
  • Back of a length to ‘hit the deck’
  • Fuller to allow for swing
  • Yorkers
  • Bouncers
  • Slower balls/variations

The golden rule is to practice your stock ball 80% of the time with variations making up the rest. In these days of Twenty20 you may almost consider the yorker as your stock ball. It will certainly make you a few quid.

The more you bowl the better (although remember the fast bowling guidelines if you are a young pace bowler).

The size of the target can be varied but you should be looking to make it as small as possible to improve your accuracy. Start with a big area to hit and gradually reduce the size as your accuracy improves.

2. Double target practice

A variation on traditional target practice is to place two targets on the pitch instead of one. This is designed to improve your ability to adjust your line and length. Good bowlers are able to do this to set a batsman up, for example a bouncer followed by a yorker.

Your job in this practice is to bowl to hit one target then change length and hit the other consistently. This is much harder than hitting the same target over and over.

This practice is less useful for spinners who rely more on flight and turn while hitting the same area.

3. Play and leave game

This game brings the batsman back into play. It’s designed more to improve tactical awareness and mental strength in a specific way.

In this game your job is to make the batsman play (stats have shown that the more a batsman plays, the more likely he is to get out). The batsman is trying to leave as many balls as possible.

You bowl to a pair of batsmen in 6 ball overs per bowler. The batsmen get 4 runs for every leave and lose 4 runs if they get out. Pairs of batsmen compete against each other while the bowlers compete individually for the most economical overs.

You can do this in nets or as a middle practice with fielders.

It’s an effective practice because it forces you to focus on making the batsman play the ball, a very useful way of getting wickets.

4. Perfect over

This is a more exciting version of target practice, designed less for technical and more for tactical development.

Perform the drill by planning out an over beforehand, then trying to bowl it. The idea is to think about how you are going to set a batsman up in a set of six balls, then see how well you can do it (you don’t need a batsman).

5. Gate bowling

This is an outcome-based drill for working on technique. The drill lets you practice spinning or swinging the ball.

Set it up by putting ‘gates’ on the pitch and trying to get the ball to swing or spin through them. The exact location will vary depending on how much movement you get and which way the ball moves. Click here to see a gate setup for a leg spinner bowling around the wicket.

6. Middle practice

Finally, you can get out of the nets altogether and work on your tactical and mental game against a batsman in the middle.

The limitation of bowling in nets is lost when you practice in the middle, but it’s not a place to work on technique, so forget target practice and start thinking about how you respond to and deal with pressure.

Some bowlers use friendly or low importance games for middle practice, but you can also set it up in your practice sessions if you have something specific to work on (like bowling at the death).

For most of these practices PitchVision is a tool that all bowlers should utilise. It allows you to track your progress in pace, accuracy and deviation over time, and then adjust your practice to match the best results. That’s a lot more sensible than trying to guess at things.

For more on how PitchVision can help you practice better bowling, click here.

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Comments

hi i am a leg spinner and i can bowl accurately at a target but when there isn't a target then i can't bowl consistently

You would be perfect for PitchVision because you can track your progress without a target.

Hi,

My name is Luke 13 years of age and a pace bowler. im having trouble getting the bowl in the spot i want it to hit my coach has said alot but its still not helping.

sir. My name is suvin 18 year old.right hand medium fast bowler. My problem is missing the rhytham & step of run up

Hello mr. David
It has come to my attention that most bowlers that have a good rhythm do the same movements over and over again in their bowling action. And as a result they are so used to these movements that it comes naturally out of second nature. But what amount of reptition is required to do this? In other words is there a type of 'magic number' of times you have to repeat this action before it becomes your second nature?

Hi
i am a pace bowler.how can i increacse my speed.

Hi
My name is Arijit Sur
I am a off spin bowler. How can i increacse my off spin

Practice Your Line And Length Speed Will Come Later

hi my name syed junaid and i am a medium pacer and i want to increase my pace and wen i get pace i cant get the line and length

I am a right arm medium pace bowler..my problem is that even though I look at the spot I want to bowl at, I end up bowling a low full toss 80% of the time. I have tried other methods too, like looking at the stumps..looking at the keeper's gloves, looking at the batsman.
But none of them work. I always end up bowling a full toss.
Please help

My name is maniah and i m leg spinner.....my problem is that on bowling i m anable to perform all bowling skulls together when i focus on action then non bowl arm go low and other thing go wrong..etc ...can any body help me????

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