Target bowling is one of the most used drills by bowlers to improve accuracy: Lay cones on a length, try to hit them, track you progress.
However, an often overlooked aspect of target practice is where you focus.
There are many options, but when the coach tells you to "look where you want the ball to pitch" he or she is not giving you the whole story.
According to research, less than half of all bowlers need to look at the target as they are bowling. In short, not everyone needs to look on the pitch.
It may well be making you a less accurate bowler if you follow the standard advice.
Fortunately, there is an area of focus for everyone. So with experimentation you can find out what works best for you. Here are the options:
- Look at the place on the wicket you want the ball to pitch.
- Look in the general area you want the ball to pitch.
- Look at the stumps.
- Try to hit the wicketkeeper's gloves.
- Look at the batsman.
- Run in trying to take in the whole environment.
Each one of these moves slowly from a narrow focus (looking at the spot on the pitch) to a wide focus (taking in everything). It's a continuum of focus where only you can know the place that is best for you.
So while you work it out, start with a narrow focus and bowl 10-20 balls, then move to slowly towards a broad focus, bowling balls and seeing which method works.
The key here is experimentation as one size doesn't fit all. It might take a few weeks of playing about to find your sweet spot. It's worth the effort. When you are using the right focus you can see your accuracy results in practice and in matches shoot up.
Wickets are sure to follow.
image credit: Sarah Canterbury