Drills to Get You Out of the Bowling Machine Blues | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Drills to Get You Out of the Bowling Machine Blues

Coach and county cricketer Chris Watling returns with another article, this time on bowling machines.

Bowling machines are not always good.

We all like to get on the machine and smack 3 or 4 buckets of cover drives. It's good for confidence, it's good to feel the ball out of the middle of the bat and it puts you in a good frame of mind.

Is it actually doing you any good?

The reality of it is, you know you can hit a cover drive well most of the time. How much do you really need to spend your limited practice time doing something you can already nail?

How much are you getting into position the ball even shoots out?

Isn't it better to expand your game by taking yourself out of your comfort zone?


Change the settings

You can do this by adjusting the length, speed, line of the delivery and working out a method in order to counteract that particular delivery. For example, you are taught to feed the machine but holding the ball up prior to putting it in the machine so the batsman is ready.

You can find yourself pre-meditating where the ball is going to pitch, and so plant your front foot.

Why not try getting the feeder to simply hold the ball over the hole of the machine, so as the batsman you have to stay dead still before the feeder releases the ball?

Subsequently this makes you;

  1. Stay still for longer (head not falling to the off side)
  2. Makes you watch the ball closer
  3. Gets your head going to the ball

Use some props

Try putting a tennis ball under your back heel. When playing on the front foot your back foot should stay still and side on. Simply putting a tennis ball under your back heel helps this, and now you really have to get your head going to the line of the ball. If your head goes your foot will go with you!

Another useful prop is a stump. Put one outside off stump and slightly forward of the crease. This helps getting your head to the ball again in order to hit the ball straighter rather than too square. As when you start to hit round the ball with a cross bat you take out the stump. Treat the stump as your best mate. You want to try and protect it.

Give it a go. Set yourself a target, work on a weaker area of your game to help yourself improve as an all round player.

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"When playing on the front foot your back foot should stay still and side on"

No no no no no no no.

What is this, the 1950s? I'm sorry but this is flat-out wrong.

No professional batsman has batted like this for decades. It frustrates me when I hear coaches repeating the same old nonsense. Go and watch some cricket. No-one bats like this.

here's Sachin driving. Find me a photo with his back foot side on and his back heel on the floor.