The 10 immutable Laws of fast bowling (part 2) | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The 10 immutable Laws of fast bowling (part 2)


Creative Commons License 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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[...] 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. [...]

[...] it’s most basic, fast bowling is about moving fast. As we know from Law 4, the faster your arm is, the faster the ball will be. A large part of this is technique but [...]

i dont know if its just me, but has bowling got faster in thr last few years or what? maybe its just me I must me getting old.

maybe a bit of both!

I've never understood why jump height helps anything at all.. Surely it's a waste of energy? I know you have to hop to get you body in the right position to go into the coil, but you can only bowl with your feet on the floor.
Several colt bowler at my club have a huge exaggerated leap which ruins there momentum whereas most of the greats use the jump as a little hop to get in position..

Mike, great point you make.

Power comes from the hips which is why jump height is related to bowling speed. I'm not talking about automatically have a big jump in the action though. You can have a bowling action without a big jump. I'll bet those without big jumps (Waqar, Marshall) had excellent hip power and COULD jump high if they wanted, they just didn't in their action.

If you do use a jump (Ian Pont calls it hang time) make sure you are jumping forward in a straight line towards the target. A common error is to jump upwards and reduce pace.

A question:

When the article talks about hip drive, what do they literally mean? What I am trying to say is what are the things I should do as I am bowling a ball to drive my hips? What should I be concentrating on? Do I focus on slamming my chest into the pitch? Is that synonymous with hip drive? I find that much easier to focus on, but the concept of hip drive is a bit ambiguous. Or do I focus on my midsection, my abdominals and slamming them into the pitch? I would appreciate a clarification of this.


It's simpler than it sounds Aleksandar. All you nee to remember is this: At the point of delivery your hips are both facing the batsman. As Ian Pont says, the feeling you want is that of driving your bowling hip into your front knee. It leads the action and everything else follows.

Thanks for the response David.

The thing is that in the middle of bowling a ball you can't feel your hips, if that makes sense. I can feel my midsection, I can squeeze my abdominals, but I cant isolate the hips. I know the hip drive occurs, but I would prefer if there is something tangible I could do to actually force/feel the movement, if you understand what I am talking about. If I can't feel the movement how can I physically know I am driving the hips?

You should be able to feel the bowling hip driving towards your front leg. Try it from a stationary position until you get the feel. It's hard to isolation while actually bowling but you should still be able to feel it. The feeling should be of your hip leading everything else. Try it in front of a mirror, your hips should be forwards when you at the point of release.

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