Lesson #7: Spin Bowling Drills | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Lesson #7: Spin Bowling Drills

I'm positive you are ripping through attacks by now (that's if you are applying what you learned in previous lessons).

If not yet, then don't despair. Not everything happens overnight.

The great Shane Warne only took 1 wicket in his first Test and was then dropped. So, do not worry, keep working hard and you will get there.

And working hard means drills and exercise tips.

Here are a few drills you can try at home. They are basic (all drills are) for a reason: it's so that you get used to doing certain things over and over. Then when you get to the game it has become second nature.

1. Seated, throw a spinning ball against a wall

Silly, right?

All drills are silly, but they serve a purpose. This allows you to rapidly exercise your wrist and spinning action in a short amount of time. Only focus on spinning the ball as much as you can.

Silly exercise; but you work the wrist intensely in a short period of time (it's quicker than doing it in the nets and having to go pick up the ball every time).

2. Throw a spinning ball to a partner

Same idea as above but the partner helps you to spot the angle of the seam. Deliberately try and bowl the ball with the seam at different angles or scrambled. This way you can exercise and train different wrist angles without complicating things with the bowling action – just focus on how the ball comes out of the hand and changing the wrist angle and seam angle.

3. Bowl without a run-up

Stand side-on at the delivery crease and bowl without a run-up.

Just focus on pushing up on your front foot and pivoting as you deliver the ball. This helps you to get the pivoting action right and have plenty energy in the delivery stride. This is a very helpful exercise if you find you are very flat-footed when you bowl.

4. Use strings to practise flight and dip

Get two pieces thick string (or rope). Span them across the nets at the batsman's eye level. One about 7 yards down the pitch and the other about 14 yards.

Then you bowl and try to flight it up over the first string and dip it below the second string, before it falls on your target. It helps you get your flight and dip action going.

Make sure you can see the strings.

5. Bowl "around the loop"

This means that you should not practise one variation delivery until you master it. For example, you might spend three weeks to practise the googly only to find that you have lost the ability to bowl your normal leg-spin stock delivery.

The best way to practise your variation deliveries is to bowl them in turn.

If you are a leg-spin bowler then bowl in sequence the stock delivery, top spinner, back spinner, googly and then flipper. If you are an off-spinner then bowl in sequence the stock delivery, arm ball, faster ball, under-cutter, top spinner and the doosra. Do not spend days practising one delivery. Develop all your variation deliveries at the same time.

6. Practise your quicker delivery without a run-up

Stand at the crease and deliver your faster ball without any run-up. This will exercise your body to generate all the speed just from the action.

When you first try and bowl the faster ball you usually compensate by running in faster. This should be avoided at all costs as once you develop this habit the batsman will be able to very easily spot when you bowl the faster ball.

This drill will help you develop all the speed for your faster ball just from the action (and not your run-up).

7. Place targets for left and right handers

If you do not have any left hand batsmen to practise against, make sure you switch between right hand and left handed targets (that you place in the nets when no batsman is facing).

Do the same when practising variation deliveries and bowl alternatively to a right hand and then left hand targets.

This prepares you for when you need to mix up your line when you have right and left handed batsmen facing you in the game.

8. Practice in overs

This means that you bowl six balls and then do some other training for a few minutes (fielding, catching, sprints, etc) and then return to the nets for the next over.

The idea here is to simulate the real break you have in a game after every six balls you bowl. Many bowlers lose concentration after six balls and then take a couple of balls to get back into rhythm.

This drill will teach you to maintain rhythm throughout your spell in a game, with the normal beaks between overs.

9. Practise with your wicket keeper

Having a keeper that understands you and know how to keep well to you will bring you a lot of extra wickets.

Practise by having him keep to you in the nets and ask the batsman to bat with a stump and miss the ball deliberately. This will ensure that the wicket keeper must catch every ball you bowl. He will get use to your action and deliveries which in turn will result in a lot more stumpings and caught behind wickets.

Remember to practise the quicker ball down the leg-side. This will become a crucial ball for leg side stumpings!

10. Practice fielding off your own bowling

The way to practice this is to bowl in the nets to a partner. The partner does not hit or catch the ball, but as soon as the ball bounces he throws another ball back at you (or uses a bat to hit it back). This will develop your reflexes off your own bowling and teach you to field as soon as you go through your delivery stride.

There you go. That should keep you busy for a while. There are plenty more in my guide if you want to get some more ideas.

Practise hard (Monty Panesar is known as a bowling machine and will bowl for hours on end in the nets), get some variety with a few drills, and practise effectively (like bowling in overs and working with your wicket keeper).

Then you will be well on your way to become a spin bowling superstar!

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