How to Play Short Bowling | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Play Short Bowling

This is an article by Gary Palmer about the most effective and progressive way of coaching playing the short ball. For a complete video guide on the right trigger moves to play the short ball by Gary, click here.

You need to master the correct techniques of the back foot defence before you move on to playing the bouncer. For young cricketers especially, bouncer practice should be the latter sessions within a coaching program over a number of weeks.

When I coach, the aim is to build technique progressively, which will build confidence progressively.

That means you start with very basic drills, one which many players think they do not need. But we are locking in technique so you have to start with the basics with everyone: Here is the process:

  1. Tennis ball under arm feeds. Use one bounce feed for drives and no bounce for defence. Feed in the odd bouncer when good technique has been achieved.
  2. Cricket ball under arm feeds. Repeat the above with a cricket ball
  3. Rapid fire feed. To view this drill, enrol here. They are continuous 5 feed burst where coach advances at batter and batter keeps moving back and across.
  4. Bowling machine. Back foot dives and defence at a lower speed
  5. Tennis racket short balls. Now with a tennis racket hit short balls in including bouncers at the batter from about 15 yards. Do this from over and around the wicket.
  6. Now repeat with random bouncers.

Players under 15 should not need the speed any faster than 70mph (112kph) tops to achieve good technique and competence. Nobody is going bowl above that pace at you in matches.

Remember also that indoor practice is far from perfect. On a bowling machine the ball can wear and also some outdoor surfaces are uneven. The light indoors can be poor in many cricket facilities so take all this in to consideration before doing bouncer practice or upping the speed to do back foot defence and drives.

If you do bouncer practice every week/session you will put young players off the game and also run a high risk of someone getting hurt.

Older players that are over 16 plus will find it easier to develop systems to conquer their fear, it's more difficult for younger players. Older players are also more likely to come up against quicker bowlers and therefore have to be prepared for it technically and mentally. That said I would never do bouncer practice at 80 mph plus, even with professionals.

Instead, stick to working on building confidence through techique and a well honed trigger move that give you more time to play.

To see my trigger move drills on video for playing fast bowling, click here.

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Just wondering, I'm not scared at all of pace bowling, but whenever I get a short ball, even from a medium pacer, I tend to move my back foot back and to leg, opening myself up. I'm fairly tall (6'3'') and bat in the top order, so as soon as teams find out that I can't play a short ball, I get peppered, only further exacerbating the problem. I know what i need to do, but just cant seem ti implement it