The pupils at Millfield are lucky as we have fantastic guest coaches pop in.
Some come along because I invite them to do some specific work. Other excellent coaches have a look at the programme and to learn from our excellent practitioners.
When we have a visiting coach I get them to engage with our players and to offer insights to our coaching staff. We all end up learning.
Last week, we had a very knowledgable guest who made a significant impact to the spinners
David Graveney knows a thing about spin: delivering 70,000 balls and claiming nearly 1,000 First Class Wickets.
He has also been Head of Selectors for England in their most successful period ever and now is a key selector for the England U19 Programme.
“Grav” had lots of advice which made a difference to our bowlers.
There were the two key points.
We had a couple of bowlers who take very little time to transfer from back to front foot. The impact of this is a rushed delivery which often is pretty direct and flat through the air.
Grav asked the bowlers to have a slight lean back as they jump and then land on their back foot. He asked them to slow down their transfer onto their front leg.
The impact was significant. The “flat” bowlers started to shape the ball in the air. The red and white balls were now staying on axis and curving through the air rather than going to an easy to predict and direct point on the pitch.
It is the deception through the air rather than balls ripping off the playing surface that takes most spinners wickets. Grav’s first coaching point has made a massive difference to at least two of our bowlers.
So, if you’re spin bowler who is described as being “flat” through the air or someone who doesn’t drift the ball on its way to the batter then this piece of coaching advice may kick start your spin career.
2. Front arm weights
You don’t have to head to the local gym to get on the weights! You can now head to the nets!
Grav asked all the bowlers to undertake their bowling drills into netting whilst holding onto something in their non-bowling hand.
Back in the day, David used to use a wooden bail when he was an aspiring spinner in his school-days at Millfield. But nowadays, we use a weighted ball to achieve the same front arm sensation and the same coaching response.
Holding onto an object in your non-bowling hand makes the spinner work their front arm much more effectively. It’s starts to work out towards the batter and then back in towards the body in a far snappier fashion.
So, if you're a spinner who bowls with a weak front arm then give this drill a go!
Thanks Grav for helping me to become a more knowledgable spin coach. Can his coaching tips help you as they have our spinners at school?