How to Bowl a Googly | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Bowl a Googly

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Make the most of this awesome leg spin variation.

Watching a good leg spinner operate against an average batsman is like watching a lion play with its prey before going in for the kill. The helpless beast has no idea what’s going on and no way to combat it.

The googly is the lethal blow for the poor creature.

Spin is all about outsmarting the batsman and the googly puzzles batsman by turning the wrong way with the same action, leaving him walking back to the pavilion with a confused look and spread-eagled stumps.

Here is how to bowl that destructive googly.

Grip and wrist position

Hold the ball in the identical way as you would hold for a usual leg spin delivery:


Most leg spinners place index and middle finger on the seam while thumb place adjacently to them along the seam. The ring finger is often placed slightly wide of the seam and used for holding the ball.

From here you’ll see the difference between a googly and a standard leg break. As you bowl, the palm of your hand carrying the ball points up. The back of your hand faces towards batsman so they cannot point out the difference. If the googly is picked, it is less effective.

Twisting the wrist at around 180 degrees towards the ground will cause the ball to spin into the batsman. The ring finger plays an important part as it rotates the ball in an anti-clockwise position. This will cause the ball to turn like an off spinner after pitching.

All this takes a lot of trying, so don't expect to master it in a weekend.

Avoiding the ‘googly syndrome’

The control, precision and accuracy in bowling a googly come with time and practice. However, there is a risk associated with too much googly practice.

You can lose your leg break and end up only being able to bowl googlies.

This has been coined the googly syndrome and has been recognised by leg spinners and their coaches for many years.

The best way to avoid it is to be careful how much you practice. A typical club leggie might bowl 10 overs a week in the nets. Of that, you can avoid getting stuck only bowling a googly by keeping the practice down to 6-12 balls. On top of that, look to finish with 2-3 overs of pure leg breaks with no variations).

This limited practice time is why it is so hard to master the googly, especially for young spinners.

If you stick with your practice, keep firing the ball at a target without a batsman.

Also make sure you throw it in when a batsman is facing so you can see the response.

Before long you will be confident to use it in a crunch moment of a game. Your team-mates will consider you some kind of leg spin genius when you bowl the hapless batsman with a perfect bosie.

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Sir i've been bowling leg spin since 10 now i'm 15 years old and knows leg break,googly,flipper,top spinner and slider But the problem is that i started off with googly i used to bowl them since child hood and i'm very good at it Now i'm not geting turn out of leg break but i'm getting 10-17 degress with googly

W'hey Googly Syndrome! I take credit for that name!
Right, been there, seen that, got the T-Shirt and then got my Leg Break back. Here's what you do........
(1). Stop intentionally bowling the Googly (Wrong Un). No matter how frustrated you get and how impossible it seems to bowl a Leg Break, for the next year or so commit yourself to never bowling an off-break ball.
(2). Get a stump and bowl on your own. Try and bowl at the stump pitching the ball on the stump so that it ends up on the Off-side. If it does, count this as a success even if the turn you get is minimal.
(3). When you bowl you need to be trying to bowl with your wrist turned so that as your arm comes over your head, it feels like you are bowling with a Karate Chop action, you need to feel like the plam of your hand is not facing forwards, but is facing Square Leg.

This sounds pretty ridiculous, but this works again and again for people that have asked me about the Googly Syndrome. It also feels pretty ridiculous as well, but stick with it, really focus on getting that Karate Chop action and you'll see the results. 2 years now on from having the Googly Syndrome, when I bowl my leg breaks I still have to do so with the feeling that I’m bowling with the Karate Chop.

Grimmett in Ashley Malletts biography on him, talks about Arthur Mailey and the Wrong Un and suggests that bowling the Wrong Un is a far more natural way to propel the ball in comparison with the Leg Break. We all normally start with the Leg Break and we learn to release the ball in the manner that’s required and in doing so we ‘Wire’ the brain so that this becomes our action. But then we learn more about the game and we see the benefits of being able to turn the ball the other way and we then covet the Googly (Wrong Un). Grimmett makes the point that from a Motor Skills perspective, the body is more suited and better adapted physically to bowl the Googly. We as Wrist Spinners know that in order to bowl our Leg Break we’ve had to train and practice in order to get the ball to turn, so we apply the same intensive approach to bowling the Googly. But, it seems that in simplistic terms, our body likes this new action and something happens in the brain and we un-learn the ‘Wiring’ of the brain that enables us to bowl Leg Breaks and the new wiring for the Googly seems for some reason to be far more dominant and persistent and it ‘Over-writes’ the wiring for the Leg Break. The result seems to be that we then develop an exceptionally good Googly that in many cases (including mine) is far superior to our Leg Break. The excitement of discovering that we can bowl a massive turning Googly means that we discard the Leg Break because suddenly we can bowl like Shane Warne with a Googly! But then we come back to the Leg Break because we’ve been spanked all over the park like a mediocre Offie and it’s not there, it’s gone……. The Googly Syndrome.

Have a look at my Youtube channel and there's a video there about it with an illustration about how to rectify the Googly Syndrome

Sir,I'm a 12 year old boy.I get too much turn from my leg breaks and it ends up going down as wides from the offside.Also,I still dont get the googly.I can pitch only on 10 yards,but if i go and try it in a match,the ball can't travel the full pitch,it ends up going as two-three bounces.Can you help me with both of my problems?

If its spinning too wide, then you're almost certainly pitching it too short. Pitch a ball on a line and length and even if it turns 30 degrees it won't be a wide.

Try perfecting a nice dipping topspinner first, and once you get that right, move onto a googlie.

I'm searching everywhere for the answer. When ever i try to bowl Leg break it's always googly no matter what. I have a high arm action straight run up, and I really use my wrist. I know you're supposed to realease from the front of your hand but i can't do it unless i my hand perfectly straight and compromise all my accuracy.

Have a look here here

I bowl left arm chinaman and i have a good chinaman. A good flipper but i tried the googly but it doesnt work for me I have a different grip and release from your stating is that alright

Sir i am 14 years old i am left arm off spin i dont get much turn and if i change variation it will be short pitch

I am a left arm off spin aged 14 if i try to variate i bowl short and i dont use my thumb when gripping the ball i dont know where to start from if i try using my thumb

you shoul try not bowling the delivery from the back of the hand..........
try to use your wrist moving it from right to lef(remember do not bowl it from the back of the hand)

i am 16 years old legspinner i have a good legbreak i can bowl topspinner,slider and googly but not perfectly whenever i bowl a googly its slow and flighted too much and have a parobolic path while my leggie is flatter and have a curve path but still turns but my googly doesnt turn much and it is easily picked and my topspinner gets to full mostly and then there is no dip nd bounce and it just becomes a slow straight delivery asking to get hit so plzz help me out...........

Thank you mr. Dave for this informaton about the 'karate chop'
When I was learning to bowl the big leg break I followed this advice in the hope that I could force my mind to actually allow my body to do a real karate chop, as my wrist got more and more flexible this karate chop ended up being more than a big leg break, but then a leg break with backspin, then a delivery with only backspin, and now I control the leg break with the leg break action from the mini leg break to the backspinning leg break and the karate chop has made my wrist so flexible I can turn it into that other delivery I told you about, the backspinning off spinner with the wrong direction of drift.
thanks for that Smiling

I am a leg spinner but i hold the ball with my index finger and spin the ball with my middle finger. i have a flipper,carrom ball,wrongun,slidder,topspinner but i am unable to bowl the googly so help me

Ey i think no one can turn leg spin lik me
i can turn it almst 45 degree

Ey i think no one can turn leg spin lik me
i can turn it almst 45 degree

How are you able to get so much turn? Do you think its your speed, lots of revolutions,clean side spin?

I am a leg spinner and i can do googly

I am 13 I can bowl a really good leg spinner and top spinner but am unable to bowl a googly. When I try it just ends up being either a leg or top spinner. I can't really twist my hand to face it to the batsman, can you help?

sir,i am a 10 year old boy.Its difficult for me to turn the ball to the sky while bowling.i have a question.while bowling a googly do we have to do a spin?cause i know how to do a spin.please reply.

Try to move your fingers more oftenly while releasing the ball instead of throwing the ball in much speed

Hold the ball like a normal leg break. Bowling a googly properly means you must surprise the batsman from the beginning. Place the first joints of your index and middle finger along the seam of the ball. Hold the ball with your thumb and bent ring finger.
Change point of release. To bowl in cricket, the bowler overhands the pitch. Make sure the palm of your hand faces the sky and the back of your hand faces the batsman. A googly is the bowler's secret weapon so he won't see the hand change at this time.
Twist your wrist. Now we get to the hard part of bowling a googly. You twist your wrist 180 degrees toward the ground. Your ring finger turns the ball counter-clockwise which then causes the ball to break towards the batsman!
The difference between a normal leg break and a googly is that the ball usually breaks away from the batsman. The googly, on the other hand, breaks inward towards the batsman. Once you've learned how to bowl a googly, you will be unstoppable in the game of Cricket.

Sir I'm a leg spinner and I have been training since 10 years but I difficulty to roll the wrist so i'm not able to get that much of turn and bounce and the batsman are able to hit my ball very easily.

i am a very good leg spinner and i throw leg beak well and also i throw google very well.....