Recently we have had a spate of spinners on PitchVision Academy worrying about their accuracy. From around the world, the same messages come through, "I bowl too full", "I bowl too many short balls", "I get taken off by the captain for bowling down the leg side".
I'm sure if you are a spinner you recognise the anxiety in these questions. You have no bouncer or snarl face. You need to be accurate or you are dead meat. When you bowl a bad ball it knocks your confidence and you bowl worse.
I'm here to tell you; don't panic.
It's going to be fine.
The myth of spin accuracy
Accuracy in spin is a myth. You don't need to give it another thought.
We have all heard stories of the great spinners. The ones who leave a dusty patch 10cm by 10cm on the pitch because they hit their target so often. We hear about the old guard spinners putting down a hanky in nets and hitting it 6 times an over. We hear names like Bedi, Warne and Muralitharan who took control for granted so much they barely thought about it as they worked on dip, drift and spin.
All those guys were charlatans.
Yes, they were great bowlers who took many wickets with skill and accuracy. But they all bowled bad balls. Not just the odd one here and there either. They all had terrible spells, terrible series.
In fact, with modern analysis at Test level we know how often the best bowlers land a good line and length. We know that, on average, about one ball an over is off target. At least. I'm willing to bet the best players at your level are way less accurate than that.
Free yourself from accuracy
So if Warne couldn't do it, what chance have you got? You might say that makes the whole enterprise pointless. You might as well take up fast bowling and have more weapons at your disposal. But wait before you go over to the "dark side".
Without having to worry about accuracy you are free from it's tyranny.
Sure, you will bowl some bad balls. Hopefully not to many but who cares if you do? You might get a catch on the boundary from a long hop or a full toss. In the meantime, you can focus on giving it a rip so the ball fizzes through the air, drifts and dips in it's flight and grips on the pitch turning square. Even a half volley is dangerous when it does that.
More importantly, because you are relaxed and "just bowling" you are more likely to bowl well anyway. You are not tense. You are in the zone. You are playing with the batsman like a cat plays with a mouse. It's just a matter of time and you are enjoying every moment without fear.
Need help unclenching?
You might think that is easier said than done. And I get it. Anxiety comes from a primal "chimp" part of your brain that is not easy to tame with sense and logic.
So here is some help to mentally unclench: As you bowl in games and practice, make a note of what you were thinking about during the ball you bowled badly. When you get the chance, write it down somewhere. Do the same for the ball after a bad one. If it was back on the spot, what did you think about? If it was another bad one, were you still in the same mind set or did something change?
Over time you will spot a trend. Maybe it's that a negative thought pops in there. Maybe it's something else. Track it and see, then you can fix it.
From here, set a target that is realistic. If you bowl 3 stinkers on average per over, look to drop that average to 2 with some reflection. That's an improvement even if those 2 balls get tonked. That's only 8 runs. You can still get 5 wickets and be a hero!
How do you feel about accuracy in spin bowling? Leave a comment and let me know.