Ask the readers: How do you encourage your bowlers? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Ask the readers: How do you encourage your bowlers?

What do you say in the field to keep the team focused and energised?

I have a bit of a reputation at my club for trying to come up with new things to say to gee up the bowlers.

After all it can be repetitive saying "Come on lads" every other ball.

Already this season I earned the new nickname. I decided to encourage a bowler to take a second wicket quickly by shouting:

"Come on then let's have another. Bang, bang"

I suppose the nickname 'shotgun' is slightly better than 'mad dog'.

In spite of the ribbing I get for saying things like that, I think it's important for fielders to show they are supporting the bowler. It's hard work trying to get wickets.

Other things I have said that work are:

  • "Let's keep the noise up."
  • "Finish the over." (when the bowler has bowled 5 tight balls)
  •  "Good wheels, you are pushing me back a yard." (when a seamer is bowling quickly and I'm standing back)
And I'm one of those annoying keeper's who says "oooo, well bowled" after almost anything that can be seen as a victory for the bowler (edges, thick edges, even dot balls).
You get the idea.
Plenty of noise shows the team are switched on and ready to create and take chances. It puts the batters under subtle psychological pressure. It says: "We are 11 together against you alone. You have no chance."
On the other hand, mindless clapping gets boring quickly.
Good encouragement is genuine.
How do you keep the team going?
So my question to you today is this:
What do you say to your bowlers and fielders between balls to keep everybody in the game?
I'd especially like to hear from you if you are a bowler. What works to keep you going and what just winds you up?

Leave a comment and give me some fresh ideas for this season.

image credit: Ross Elliott

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.


"Keep working hard ....."

"Keep bowling your areas ....."

"Good wheels, keep bending your back for us ....."

"Keep working on number 3 here buddy..." (3 as in 3rd wicket)

That reminds me, I only ever say "buddy" on the cricket pitch.

As a bowler you want your team mates to be piling psychological pressure on the batsman. A lot of bowlers love it when the fielders really get under their skin but I suppose there's a fine line between banter and abuse. I've seen this line crossed on occasions.

What keeps me going? Any type of encouragement that doesn't involve the words 'pitch it up' or 'off stump mate'. As a bowler I know what I'm doing wrong and don't need the team getting on my back.

I often say "don't change a thing" when it's going well. I also say "1-0 to you" when a thick edge goes for a boundary or the batsman has a swipe.

(after several dot balls) "come on boyo, hes got more dots than morse code!"

Daniel, I'm with you on that one. Nothing more annoying that pointing out the bleeping obvious to a bowler. You know you have bowled a shit ball, you don't need the extra banter from your team. It can definitely get under your skin and off your game. However, there are occasions when a quiet word can be good e.g when you are bowling the wrong line. But I emphasise quiet, you don't want to give away your tactical advantage to the batsmen.

I think apart from words, body language is very important. Body language says more about a team that words can. When you see your teammates with heads down and slumped chests, that doesn't give away positive signals. You need to have your head up all the time, no matter how bad things are going, you can't give the opposition a sniff.

And among all this, having a chirpy keeper can be a godsend. The keeper is really a second captain on the field and is essentially the front man of a band, make no mistake. If the keeper is down, the mood catches on like a cold.

I think from a bowling point of view, you would want the whole team to be gradually turning up the pressure on the batsman, what Steve Waugh called "mental disintegration". Think about it for a second. The batsman has just had to spend an immense amount of focus on watching the ball. After he has played the delivery he is looking for a mental break. This is the time the fielders should be chirping so that the batsman's mind is continually occupied. He will be listening to everything that is said and if he is not mentally strong, all that will be still in his head and he won't be giving his full focus on the next ball, making the bowlers job easier.

I agree Alek, it doesn't have to be nasty or even directed at the batsman I find. When my team are up and chatty, even just banter between the fielders can become intimidating. You can see the batsman tense up the more relaxed and chatty the fielders are.

I love those one liners as long as they are not offensive. "More blocks than a box of lego", "just you and me playing today" (after a series of play and misses).

Yeah i'd just like to reiterate (I do feel the need!) that 'pointing out the bleeding obvious' is bloody annoying, I usually just ignore it.

I don't really feel the need for encouragement as I usually just try to find/keep a rhythm, but it's interesting when the captain asks me for something specific like bowling into the body with some close in fielders, rather than the usual boring off stump stuff. Perhaps boosts the confidence a wee bit too.

Alexander, I'm with you on the body language point. This was one of my weaknesses until recently, I'd bowl a bad over and that would be it. My head would be down for the rest of my spell. Having grown up a bit now I don't let the batsman think he's got one over on me!

I was involved in a University game last week. Cut a long story short, we went from a very strong winning position to losing the game. As soon as their batsmen started to build a partnership our heads went down, that's what cost us the points!


I was on the sidelines last season and was able to observe my team from the outside. In one of the games, the opposition batted first, catches were dropped, one of them got a century and they racked on more than 300. I was sitting among the opposition boys while they were batting and stacking on the runs, and one of the opposition players noted quite pointedly that their body language was down. And you could see it, it was so obvious and that just gives the opposition the chance to stick the pedal to the accelerator. The game was basically gone and my team got rolled the following week within a couple of hours.

The problem is that it takes only one person to crack under the pressure and that can spread through the team like fire. The point is: you have to fake it (they say fake it until you make it) and keep your game face on all the time.

However, this also means that we should also be keeping a vigilant eye on the body language of the opposition. When you see a crack, you have to ram home the advantage.

It helps to have a player or two watching for the drop in body language and able to snap people out of it, even just by saying "let's keep the energy up" or something equally glib (but effective because it reminds people they should be looking keen).

I think one of the biggest keys is to keep the energy up, get everyone involved, and keep the whole team having fun for the whole game.

Challenge all 11 fielders to get involved on every single ball off the bat. Have them race each other to pick up the ball, cover the stumps, or backup potential throws to each ends. Have them constantly pushing each other to make unexpected plays, letting the fielder with the ball know that if he shies at the stumps there is someone backing it up. The captain should always recognise good covering and backing up just as loudly as he complements a diving stop in the covers, even if the ball doesn't happen to reach them.

Fielders should be running to their positions between the wickets, jumping around, throwing the ball to each other, having fun, constantly talking and joking and getting a feel for the ball in their hands.

Everyone should also be encouraged to suggest tactics and field positioning ideas to the captain.

Personally I think its more important to keep talking to the other fielders, as they are far more likely to lose concentration than the bowler. When I'm bowling, I don't particularly want advice or encouragement, I want the fielders to concentrate on not dropping the ball/ letting it through their legs and turning my 3/30 into a 2/40.

If a bowler was starting to have problems and lose focus, I think its far more productive to have a little tactical chat to him between overs than to shout some vague epithet from cover point. The advice need not be particularly brilliant, just the fact that you are getting him in a strategic frame of mind again will often do the trick.

I was about to say "I also agree with the post above" before I noticed who the author was.

knock his bails to new south wales is an absolut cracker. its one me many a d grade final il tell you that right now.

he's got more blocks than LEGOLAND
lets send them bails to wales
hes got more misses than henry VIII
easy wicket
doesn't know his boundaries