We check fast bowling actions, wrist positions and are fastidious with their strength and conditioning.
Yet do we check their shoes?
In the world of lighter trainers, spiking up basketball boots and the insistence on all fast bowlers being able to run around the field quickly, the world of cricket has neglected the thing that the fast bowlers of past generations often speak about with intense passion; their feet and their shoes!
Australian Fast Bowler, Geoff Lawson and England Great, Andy Caddick were both religious in the maintenance of their most vital bit of kit.
A batter takes care of his most important piece of kit, the bat, so fast bowlers should look after theirs too; their boots and their feet.
Both fast bowling greats insisted on heavy and highly supportive high ankled bowling boots as they realised that their performance and health was largely determined by how their feet worked as they hit the crease.
With up to 10 times your body weight going up through the body, the spine in particular at point of release, it is vital that those highly significant forces are absorbed and dissipated to both positively influence the transfer of momentum up the body to save it from injury.
follow the TRAM rule of absorbing force by increasing the following points:
The bigger the base of the boot, the more contact with the ground and more time is created to absorb those forces.
So the combination of a heel to toe strike followed by the whole heavy (mass) footplate of fast bowling boot on your having contact with the ground will increase the time for the force to be dissipated.
Add a pair or two of thick socks and you increase the area of the foot so that that force is absorbed.
With the forces being absorbed effectively by their heavy bowling boots and thick socks whilst spreading the impact across the full range of the footplate, a bowler is more likely to be able to stabilise their front leg.
This stabilised leg positively impacts on the pace of the ball as momentum is transferred up the legs and into the hips effectively. In order to transfer momentum into the hips, the legs need to decelerate and stabilise their movement before transfer.
So if you have got a bowler who should be quick yet doesn't snap their hips like a Brett Lee, Alan Donald or Dennis Lillee then:
- Firstly look at their footwear.
- Then promote a heel to toe strike on front foot land (if not already in evidence)
- Which in turn promotes the stabilisation of the Front leg and effective transfer of momentum into the pelvis/hips
See how that impacts upon ball pace. You could have a winner on your hands!