photo credit: Tc7
Over the next few days I will comprehensively discuss the critical coaching elements in fast bowling. Today is part one. To go to part two click here.
Cricket at every level has never been faster. The influence of Twenty20 cricket now demands batsman who score fast, spinners who turn it miles and, most importantly, bowlers who can blast out the opposition. There are as many different approaches to pace bowling as there are bowlers and coaches. Some ideas are downright misguided but there are a few that remain essential in generating every last ounce of speed from your spell. Here are those bedrock elements:
1. The Law of Universality
Anyone is capable of bowling faster. There is no magic: It's all just a matter of using science to your advantage. The fancy words are biomechanics and physiology but, as we will see, these are just terms for coaching tips that anyone can apply. The main thing to remember while you work through the following Laws is this: Any cricketer can apply them to improve their bowling pace. You just need to put in the commitment to improve.
2. The Law of Professional Application
The chances that you are a professional cricketer while reading this are slim (although you may hope to be). You don't have access to professional coaching. Maybe you don't have access to any coaching. Your valuable free time is split between cricket and other things. Cricket is not your job, it's what you do for fun. Those valid reasons for not being as good as a professional don't stop you from applying a professional attitude during the time you have for cricket. This is what The Law of Professional Application is all about:
- Committing what time you have. We all have some free time. You have a choice what you do with it. If you choose to go to the gym or nets you are applying yourself like a pro. If you choose to watch TV because you are tired you are never going to get faster.
- Thinking 24 hours. You can still apply yourself professionally when you are doing other things. Fast bowling is built on getting the basics right as well as making sure your action is spot on. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and keeping your stress levels down are often ignored elements of success. If you are too tired or too skinny you are not going to bowl your fastest.
- Crossing the white line. The third element in acting professionally is what you do when you are training (no matter how little free time you have to give to it). Are you working out with direction and intensity? When you hit the nets do you go all out or just turn your arm over? Do you have a goal for every session? There is no reason to have an amateur attitude at these times, even if you are an amateur player.
It's important not to underestimate your mindset when it comes to fast bowling. Really bowling fast starts with your attitude and translates into your body.
3. The Law of the Building From The Ground Up
What separates great fast bowlers from the crowd? Movement. Watching top bowlers like Brett Lee or Michael Holding approach the crease and power through their actions in a smooth, rhythmical way is a critical aspect of top speed. Great movement starts long before the run up and action itself, and no amount of coaching can change that if you have not built your movement skills up first. Physical therapist Gray Cook demonstrates this by talking about a pyramid of performance:
- Skill. This is the peak of the pyramid: The bowling action itself (which we talk about in the next few Laws). If you are lacking the basics of the fast bowling action you need to work with a coach to develop them. Or at the very least, buy and study the coaching videos in Ian Pont's "How to bowl faster" course on PitchVision Academy (it's cheaper than a coach).
- Athleticism/Power. Sitting below skill on the pyramid is your general power and athleticism. This is your ability to generate force in a non specific way such as how fast you can run or how high you can jump. Without a decent level of strength you will tire more quickly. You will not have as much capacity in your muscles to produce maximum speed either.
- Mobility/Stability. The base of the pyramid is your ability to perform simple movements with both mobility (able to move through the entire range of the movement) and stability (control the body during movement). If you cannot move freely you cannot bowl as fast as your potential allows. You also have a greater injury risk as your other parts of your body try to compensate for the flaws in your action.
Most players I see focus on the skill element, forgetting the importance of power, mobility and stability. I want to talk about skill itself in the next few Laws, but never forget that without the other elements you will never reach your maximum potential. I'll be coming back to both during this series.
To go to part two click here
Start scaring the batsmen. You can now get drills and techniques on how to bowl faster from a world class coach.Click here to view Ian Pont's fast bowling course on PitchVision Academy.
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