You know that I always am looking to get better myself so I can help players. Recently I have spent time with Muhammad Haroon who now acts as one of my consultants at Millfield School.
Haroon has helped our spinners to spin the ball hard, deceive the batters regularly and has given them unrivalled confidence.
Here are some of his secrets:
What is the action for?
Approach, the action, the hips and shoulders rotating, propel the ball to the other end of the pitch.
It's not the fingers and wrist!
Many spinners use their digits and wrist to help with the propulsion process rather than allowing them to be the final piece in the chain which puts revolutions on the ball. The fingers are solely used to add as many revs on the ball as possible.
The "spiniest" part of the finger
Check your spinners grip.
Do they make contact with the seam on their primary spinning finger with the pad of their top joint or the side of the top joint?
(Finger spinners spin the ball off the index finger top joint, wrist spinners spin the ball off the ring finger top joint)
If it is the pad, then get them to hook their finger slightly and use the side (more bony part) of the finger to be in contact with the ball.
The top joint then is utilised rather than being dormant.
If you are coaching young players then ensure that the balls that they are using to practice this skill are small enough that they can feel this grip position on the ball. Even if that means that they practice some of the time with balls which they won't use in matches, you will be promoting good finger mechanics that they will be able to access once their fingers grow as they mature.
Spread your fingers
Haroon encourages finger spinners to have a good gap between the spinning and supporting finger. This will take some time to get used to, yet will force the spinning finger to become more dominant and therefore have more impact upon the revolution production process.
Patience is required here as initial results may lack accuracy. Stick with it. Spin is a long term project!
Spinners mature later than seamers
Look at the best spinners of all time; their journey from novice to elite is long and therefore, the patience of those around them (captains, coaches, parents) needs to reflect and respect this fact.
a coach needs to accept that there will be bad days when it doesn't come out well. But eventually the bowler will develop the confidence to spin the ball hard, deceive the batter through the air with curve and dip and then off of the pitch through break.
They will bowl full tosses and drag downs. Keep encouraging the bowlers to spin it hard. Patience is a virtue, especially when working with young spinners.