photo credit: Pro-Zak
Over the next few days I will comprehensively discuss the critical coaching elements in fast bowling. Today is part two, to go to part one click here. To go to part three click here.
In part one we looked at the basics of fast bowling: attitude, skill, power and movement. In this part I'll examine the important skill element: the bowling action itself. Your action is probably the single most important piece in the puzzle of fast bowling. Rightly so, many bowlers focus on it to improve their speed. Here are the Laws that relate directly to your action creating bowling speed.
4. The Law of Arm Speed
Let's start with a simple bit of physics: The faster your bowling arm moves the faster the ball comes out. This is perhaps no revelation. The question is this: How do you get a fast arm? Your chest is all important. Ensure your chest is as far in front of your hips as possible in your delivery stride. As Ian Pont says, as if the batsman is pulling you towards them with rope tied around your chest. This works because it generates momentum. Like a sprinter coming out of the blocks, the further forward you can lean the more momentum you are able to produce. This converts directly to more arm speed and then more ball speed. Find a great fast bowler and you will always see a great chest drive.
5. The Law of Powerful Hips
If the chest gets you in the best position of momentum, it's the hips that produce the power. A recent study found a direct relation between jump height and bowling speed. This is because it's the hips that produce the power in both. How does this feel as you bowl? Like you are driving your hip forwards. Whether you are side on, front on or halfway between the important element is to have both hips facing the batsman as you deliver the ball. If you have not driven your hip through and it lags behind you literally leak energy and this slows you down. To borrow a phrase from elsewhere, it's like trying to fire a cannon from a canoe.
6. The Law of Long Levers
Here is another simple point of physics: The longer the lever the more acceleration is possible. This is why tall bowlers have a natural advantage as this study proves. However, the Law still applies to you no matter how long your arms are. Both your bowling and non bowling arms are important levers. This means keeping your arms fully extended as you bowl. Most bowlers do this already with the bowling arm, but it's also vital to use the non bowling arm to drive out and down. This allows you to fully rotate your shoulders and move into the follow through: A giant cartwheel whipping through. As this study shows, shoulder rotation is directly linked to speed. It's all about using every inch of the levers you have.
7. The Law of Reducing Leaks
What is an energy leak? In bowling performance terms it is a glitch in your movement that is stopping you from bowling at top speed. The body is not made up of individual muscles, it is a chain. In a complex movement like bowling at speed, one small error can cut of the flow of energy through your hips, trunk and shoulder which can significantly slow you down an increase injury risk.
Ian Pont, in The Fast Bowler's Bible, points out that a common energy leak is when a bowler stops his hip driving round by landing his (or her) foot too far to the leg side. This is why it is important to land with an open position at the crease. Other potential leaks are letting the hip lag behind as you bowl, not using the front foot as a brace, not pushing your front arm out and down and not following through straight towards the batsman.
Many of these leaks are technical issues. Enrolling on Ian Pont's online course will help you stop these kinetic errors. However, there are more fundamental elements to consider too. Elements that allow you to both get into the best positions easily and generate maximum power from those positions. In the next part we will look at these elements. Most bowlers below the elite level ignore them. Don't make that mistake.
To go to part three 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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