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.
All you need a coin. You choose the amount.
Hit the target
I'm sure you know the phrase "bowling on a sixpence" to illustrate a very accurate bowler. In modern days the sixpence is gone, but you can still use the idea. It's just not the ball you need to land on the coin.
The method - first brought to light by coach John Harmer - involves you landing your foot on the coin.
Here is the process:
First, mark your run up as normal, placing a coin on the popping crease. Run in and aim to land your front foot on the coin.
Second, move the coin to the bowling crease. Run up and try to land your back foot on the coin.
How much easier is that?
Finally, take the coin away and focus on landing your back foot level with the stumps (the same place as the coin was).
You will find it easier to judge yet your front foot does not cross the line.
Cement the skill
Now you have a reliable method, you need to make it second nature. That is because in the heat of a game you have a lot more to think about than where your back foot lands.
You need the new method to become automatic "muscle memory".
So, every time you bowl in nets, make sure you are bowling legal deliveries.
- Outdoor nets, mark and come off your full run up.
- Indoor nets, use a single shortened run up that is also marked. Always use the same one wherever you are.
Have a coach, or fellow player, monitor your foot and track your results over time. If you see the no balls dropping away with no reduction in pace, line or length, you are onto a good thing. Keep going until it's second nature (it might take 30 or more net sessions so stay patient).
If it helps, give yourself an external incentive: If you bowl a no ball, do some press ups. If you go a whole session without an infraction, buy yourself some new bowling boots. However, bear in mind that you won't have this in games so you need the muscle memory more than the motivation.
The coin is your start point, but the real goal of less no balls takes a little more work. It's worth it when you send the stumps cartwheeling and the umpire keeps that arm down.