One of the most common pieces of advice from top bowling coaches is to learn to "brace the front leg". But that's a technical term, and it's not obvious to everyone what it means, or how to do it. So, here are more details about how and why you brace the front leg to bowl fast.
Every team has one.
The staunch one. The guy who says bowlers should always bowl at batsmen in nets. It more realistic and anyway, nets are more for batsman than for bowlers.
This is frustrating. You know how it goes. The batter who is timid in the middle feels like KP in the safety of the net. There are wild swings, switch hits and all manner of unreal shots. You know they would never be played in a match.
Your practice is wasted.
Worse; there is nothing you can do about it while the staunch one looms over you telling you to pitch it up and give the batsman a chance to work on driving.
And besides, you want to give your team some batting practice too. It's not like you are totally selfish.
Do you fight hard against the staunch one to get time to bowl at a target, or do you give up an resign yourself to being a bowling machine?
In fact, you can keep everyone happy quite easily with a simple trick.
I watched a bowling session last week with Kevin Shine, the Lead Fast Bowling Coach for the ECB. The topic was one that was discussed recently by Steffan Jones: bowling yorkers.
Steffan Jones bowled a yorker or two in his time and he wants to stem the flood away from bowling them. Here is how to take out those toes.
Why is the yorker going out of the game?
Maybe you have been told that by trying to bowl the yorker you are likely to either bowl a full toss or a half volley.These days those balls will disappear into the stands either over long-on or ramped over the keeper. The batters have got stronger and the bats have got bigger so the margin of error has decreased. Bowling a yorker is a risky business.
But you know what?
A true yorker still remains a ball you can't hit for six.
Let me ask you something; how much better a bowler would you be if you could hit a perfect line and length?
It's a challenge that takes a lifetime to master, and a road that is littered with distractions. Yet the simplicity is appealing: Put the ball on the spot, hit the seam again and again and watch the wickets tumble.
You don't need to be quick. You don't need to rip it square. You don't need to swing it round corners or even have a clever mystery variation. Those things are nice, but accuracy... accuracy is within reaching distance.
It's so tantalisingly close that you can almost taste the success it will bring.
Has your coach ever said something to you that you don't quite get?
Don't you feel like you are missing out because you can't decode it?
You are not alone.
I'll cut to the chase; there is a simple change to your bowling action that is a big hitter in fault correction.
Straighten your run up.
You see, when it comes to technique, so much that goes wrong can be traced back to an earlier point. That's why batting coaches focus on the grip and stance first, and it's why your bowling coach should look at your run up before he starts with the "business end" of the action.
Of course, a straighter run up will not fix everything, and there are exceptions to the rule. That said, there is plenty that can be done without ever worrying about 6 months of corrective drills and rebuilding your action.
So, spinner or seamer, Here are some of the things a straighter run up can correct:
In the 2nd Test against England, Dhoni stood back to the spinner.
It's a tactic regularly employed in lower standard games where the keeper doesn't have the confidence to stand up. In short, it's village cricket.
But there was a method in the madness.
Want to stop bowling no balls?
It's a horrible problem because no one has sympathy for you. It's almost like people think you are doing it on purpose. The captain gives you the stink-eye every time and you feel terrible.
Worse, the more you think about it, the harder it gets to bowl well.
So, even when you do stay being the line, you bowl like a drain anyway.
Let's put an end to the pain. Today.