Latest Research in Bowling Faster | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Latest Research in Bowling Faster

Max Andrews talks us through the latest research into fast bowling actions for increased pace and reduced injury.

What is "ground up" bowling, and how can it help you improve your bowling?


Elite athletes and, more specifically, cricket bowlers generate their energy from the ground and then transfer it up the kinetic chain, through the movement of the bowling action. This is where the term "ground up" originates.

One of the largest studies - presented at the 6th World Congress on Biomechanics in Singapore - validated this method as a way of reducing the risk of injury and enhancing bowling speed.

"Significant correlation were observed between ball release speed and all three technique parameters: run-up speed; front leg plant angle; and normalised ball release height. A quicker run-up and a larger plant angle (leg extended further out in front) were both linked to increased release speed."

The conventional wisdom has linked these elements to injuries in bowlers. However, studies have shown that, during front foot landing and ball release, high impulse, created at the ground increased injury prevention. It is these studies that really drive home the benefits of the ground up approach.

Increased run-up speed of elite bowlers illustrates a direct relationship to increased ball speeds. The run-up affects the rest of the bowling action. A faster run-up creates more linear momentum, which assists the bowler in aligning their body when they reach back foot landing.

Larger plant angle of the front leg at contact allows greater ground reaction forces, These are able to assist in the transfer of the linear momentum, from the run-up, into angular momentum of the upper extremities, and improve velocity.

By lowering the bowler’s centre of gravity moving into front foot landing, you can increase your plant angle, and more efficiently transfer energy (and speed) into the ball.

By aligning the force vector in the front leg in a linear direction it will increase the plant angle, but it will also lower the ball release. The lowered ball release is suggested to be a consequence of preceding movements in the bowling action.

By bowlers aligning themselves in a position to transfer their linear momentum into back foot strike, they can then convert the drive forces of the back leg into a stabilised front leg. If they land with a large plant angle at front foot contact it can then be converted into the angular momentum of the upper extremities when extended.

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Great to have this type of validation after more than 20 years of coaching it!

There is also rotational force as well to consider (not just linear) as can be read about in Ultimate Pace Secrets.

The 4 Tent Pegs allow a bowler to correctly transfer potential energy into kinetic energy by using range, speed, sequence, separation and alignment. Drop step, pre turn, front foot block become vitally important for building a 'ground up' action.

Then you require the ABSAT drills to develop those positions.

Luckily... we already know them

I like the notion of these variables increasing speed and really enjoy sport science research that aims to enhance our understanding of cricket performance. However, when reading such information it is important that the reader understands research terminology as this directly affects the way the information should be interpreted.

This paper is a great example of research terminology and people's misunderstanding. King et al. have shown there are correlations between certain variables and ball speed. Not only are these moderate correlations (at best), but a correlation cannot tell us cause and effect. Therefore, as King et al. stated these findings 'appears that one of the key determinants of ball speed'. From their data they cannot say these variables directly cause increased ball speed as they have not isolating other possible explanations outside off these variables, such as muscular fiber type or joint timings etc. Until such data exists we (cricket community) cannot say this research supports bowlers should or must bowl this way.
I'm not saying that these variables or any specific coaching technique does or does not increase ball speed, but it's very important to understand research terminology when reporting research to avoid misleading coaches

So if someone did the splits at the crease, they would be the fastest bowler in the world?

I think either more work needs to be done on this theory, or you need to do a better job of interpreting it. There are a lot of unverified and evidence-free assertions in this article. Are you a scientist, Max? I don't mean to put a dampener on your fun, but the well-informed commenter above, Adam Kelly, appears to have pretty much destroyed your argument here. As he says, correlation is not causation and to claim that these studies are supporting evidence for some of your claims is wishful thinking at best.

As a ones trained physiotherapist I understand most of what is written. Is it possible to support this posting with images that can make the article better to understand?

Science beef!