How Long Should Your Run Up Be? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How Long Should Your Run Up Be?

Menno Gazendam is author of Spin Bowling Project. Get your free 8 week spin bowling course here. 

Asking how long the run up should be is a common question.

And as always, no definitive answer.

Primarily, rhythm is everything: from dancing to delivering the perfect off-break.

It all involves going through the mechanics, feeling comfortable and knowing what the next move should be: a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement.


So the golden rules of the run-up are:

  • It must build enough momentum to get you through the action (but no more)
  • It should not be too long or too short
  • You must maintain rhythm throughout

It can be short or long.

As long as it is not too short (not enough momentum), or too long (enough momentum has already been reached), then you are good to go.

Shane Warne had a very short run-up but it was pure rhythm.

Saqlain Mushtaq had a longer shuffling hurried run-up - he looked like he was late for school - but he always looked like he was in rhythm.

Don't think about it

If you start thinking about it then you know there is a problem.

If you do not have rhythm in your run-up you will know it by the fact that you are actually thinking of what you are doing when you are running up.

Counting your paces, or shuffling to ensure you land right. As soon as this happens you know something is not right.

Have a run-up that is natural to you and makes you forget about what you are doing when you run in.

Don't change it

Don't give away what you are bowling next by changing your run-up. I see many young spin bowlers run in slightly quicker when they want to bowl an arm ball or a quicker ball. Some even run in strange when they attempt a doosra or a googly.

Always have the same run-up.

And above all remember that your run up can be long, short or ugly; but always aim for rhythm.

For more detailed spin bowling advice, tips, tricks, tactics and training drill for spinners, get the Spin Bowling Project free 8 week email coaching course.

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I think it was Dennis Lillee who suggested (for fast bowlers, but could apply to spinners I assume):

- pick a mark on a field that's not part of a cricket pitch
- carrying a ball, run in from the mark and accelerate as you do so
- you will feel when the time is right to release - then release

Once you've done it enough times (me: say half a dozen) to ensure consistency, step it out and then apply to a run up in the nets, obvious progression being a game as long as everything feels right.

Yes very true and very effective. As an add on for that, do it with another bowler and get them to mark with cones your back foot take off point. You will find there is a natural variation at first that settles down so you have a ball park take off area (and really it's the take off point that matters most).

Should help with those sodding front foot no-balls too!

I spent years not being able to figure what to do with my run-up. Whilst Menno's comments here are spot on, he doesn't explain how you might go about it and where you might start. Have a look at the information I've gathered together on my blog post here. one of the video's in this post gave me the template to work with and now after 8 years of messing around not knowing quite what to do I've now got a consistent and repeatable run-up.