We all understand how important being strong, balanced and powerful is to a fast bowler, yet we are generally "take it or leave it" when we talk fitness to our spinners.
So, how can being strong benefit a spinner?
In recent studies, it has been established that elite spinners (the Graeme Swann's of this world) have consistent and repeatable actions which enable the bowler to deliver the ball with an "11 o'clock" release position.
Or to put it another way, the lack of physical ability to hold a consistent position at the crease for a sustained period of time means you lose the ability to decieve.
This makes sense to us as we have been coaching this for years. (Phew!)
This arm position allows the ball to be delivered with lateral spin - a combination of side spin and top spin - and as a result the ball can:
- curve in the opposite direction to its break off the pitch
- dip thanks to the top spin element
- break viciously off of the surface
These are the 3 elements of deception within this delivery, all of which stem from the ability to repeat a consistent action with an optimal release position.
This can only be enhanced if the bowler is strong, balanced and powerful.
If the arm gets too upright then the ball will be released with only overspin or topspin and this will mean that the ball will not curve through the air or break off of the pitch as significantly.
So being able to land consistently in the same back foot position, to move through your action and release the ball with your hips and shoulders square to the target is a very physical act.
The more stability and strength a bowler has, the more likely she is to repeat her action over time.
From bowling action to workout
As stated previously, cricket is a game of lunges and with the squat in toe, we have the two fundamental exercises that underpin the physical development of a spinner.
Overhead squats and lunges are perfect for a spinner as they have to be able to control their arms above their heads when bowling.
A broomstick a great way to train the body to support the technical developments that a coach is working on with their bowler.
1. overhead squat for spinners
- Hold the broomstick with your hands at shoulders width.
- Raise the broomstick above your head and maintain this position throughout the squat
- Maintain a strong core throughout each rep
- Perform up to 8 squats with the broomstick held above your head (with good form)
- Ensure that your heels remain on the floor throughout each repetition
- If technique fails, end the set.
Three sets of this exercise twice a week will be sufficient. When the bowler can do three sets of 8 reps easily then move up to 3 sets of 10 or 12 reps.
2. overhead lunge for spinners
Again with the broomstick above your head at shoulder width apart, maintain that position and step into a right leg lunge, controlling the movement as you drop and as you return to a standing position.
Repeat on left leg. Do Reps of 8 on each leg as a set. 3 sets, twice a week, ideally on the same day as your squat, but it is not essential.
You can also vary the exercise with different types of lunge. Click here for details.
3. Partner push/pulls
- Stand facing your partner, each bowler in their delivery stride
- Both spinners grip the broomstick with their hands placed approximately shoulders width apart
- Spinner A has to try and pull spinner B towards herself using their core and arms yet keeping their feet in their locked delivery stride.
- Spinner B has to resist. This exercise is training the push/pull elements of their physiology.
- The Spinners reverse their role and have another broomstick battle.
3 reps of each role (pushing and pulling) will make up a session. The session can be repeated on 2 occasions per week.
Add these spinner specific exercises in and see how they reduce their risk of injury, positively impact of your tweakers' ability to bowl for long spells and help them to to deceive batters off the pitch.