How to Land a Yorker

James Faulkner turned certain loss into monumental victory in the 2nd ODI against England in 2014. He was brilliant but - it has to be said - England were poor in the last gasps of that game.

One TV expert commented in review that "Surely England can’t be practising their yorkers." An easy assumption to make based on the outcome of the game.

However, the bottom line is that all International teams do practice bowling yorkers a lot. So, why couldn't England land them?

 

I watched the game again and they did land their yorkers at certain points in the game. Ben Stokes delivered 3 in in the 43rd over of the game (score 236-8) when the game was seen as dead and buried.

The next question that came into my head was "why can someone bowl yorkers at will in dead rubber situations yet not access them when under intense pressure?

Then came the ultimate question; "How can we simulate intense pressure in our yorker practices?"

Here are a few options:

1. Fatigue and heart rate

One of the practices that I have seen former England coach Peter Moores do in the past is to simulate pressure by exhausting the body and mind before trying to execute a fine skill.

Peter would get a bowlers heart rate up beyond 150bpm through exercise and then ask them to deliver a yorker.

This is brilliantly relevant. Imagine where Tim Bresnan's heart rate was when delivering those final 3 balls that all went for 4. It was likely to be around 180bpm based on research.

If the only time most bowlers experience this is in matches, then surely we aren’t preparing them optimally?

2. Testing/monitoring

Have you ever felt and noticed what happens when a doctor takes your pulse or monitors your blood pressure? It's called "white coat syndrome". We get nervous, our heart rate raises and anxiety builds effecting our physiology and therefore, impacting on our cognitive processes.

Regular testing, monitoring, comparing of results - yorker league tables are great - will increase the intensity in practice and simulate the pressure of execution under pressurised conditions.

3. Eye Patch target bowling

Get your bowlers to cover one of their eyes with an eye patch and bowl at a yorker target. See which covered eye has the most detrimental effect on performance. Then get them to practice on a regular basis with that eye covered.

This puts the body into a pressurised mode yet the intention is the same: Hit the Yorker.

We are then building a pressurised situation that leads to the body adapting in order to come up with a solution: Exactly what England weren't able to do in the last 8 overs at the Gabba.

What other ways can we help our fast bowlers to execute Yorkers in highly pressurised situations?

Let me know.

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Comments

Mark, spot on as always and stating what should be obvious to all but familiar to few. The logic of execution of skills when fatigue is setting in makes perfect sense however it is the opposite in most practice sessions that I have been involved in end when the player gets tired so should we be focusing on short sharp drills following a Speed & Agility/Strength & Conditioning session?

Great Post

Paul

Great article mark. Specially like the bowling after exercise. How bout making a 5 over game in the middle with each team have a target to get amd the winning team gets a prize. That will help put everyone under pressure and practise match situations.
Great article

Hi Mark

First of all, teammates need to support each other and stay positive. That's the shortcut to success for everybody.

However, the last overs in a cricket match is not for the faint of heart and your mother is not there to give you a hug. You are bound to be the loneliest being in the universe and god help it.

When we are left alone under intense pressure there are 3 ways we can response mentally: flee, freeze or fight.
I think the two first responses explains most cases of failure or mediocrity at the highest level.
Flawed techniques and bad luck is for club cricketers Smiling

The third is the only productive response to pressure, so the task is to find out individually how the fight response can be turned on, and identify early signs of flight and freeze responses and counteract the best we can.

Isn't this what the mental game is all about?

The fight response has a few downsides too. We can grow overconfident, aggressive and loose control. The key is to accelerate it at have it baselined in a way so we can still use our creativity, intellect and overview in the heat of the battle.

Its impossible to define methods that fits all, but everyone can learn to stay mindful of stress responses and sort out how they can switch them on and off with simple cues.
But it takes some effort.

How do you identify or name these 3 responses in your game and how do you manipulate them?
...and, how would you solve the problem with the yorker in your game and build up pressure in a training situation?
They are perhaps easy to get right in the nets but...

My vote.

1. Bowl yorker lenght with objects of different weights and sizes, cricketballs, tennisballs, golfballs, handballs, rotten tomatoes, teddybears, whatever, just mixed up, fighting to the last drop of blood.

2. I would go to the beach and hit an old pair of shoes with thousands of stones like insane, always keeping up the mindset: Break toes and make them scream like pigs (Sorry if i'm rude here Shocked).

3. Just letting go!!!???

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