Even after all your practice, you are not searing the ball down to the other end and scaring opposition batsmen.
In times like this it’s often the case that you are better off learning what NOT to do. So with that in mind, here are the 5 most common mistakes fast bowlers make when learning the art:
1. Don’t worry about your run up
If your run up is not perfect, so what? The run up contributes only a small amount of pace. It’s less important than any other part of the action. So don’t worry too much about it. Simply get a run up that allows you to get to the crease in a nice rhythm.
You are far better spending your training time working on the “business end”: what happens at the crease.
2. Don’t slow down to become more accurate
For some reason we assume that there is an inverse relationship between pace and accuracy: the faster you are the less you hit your stock line and length. But as Ian Pont has told us for years, this is nonsense.
Players who are trying too hard to bowl fast lose their action and so they lose their accuracy. The coach naturally gets the player to slow down a bit to keep the action tight. However the keys of fast bowling are the same for pace AND accuracy.
Instead of slowing down, work on your technique; how you land at the crease, your front arm, your chest/hip drive and your follow-through.
3. Don’t trail your hips
Speaking of hip drive, one of the most common technical flaws I see in non-professional quick bowlers is a trailing hip. This leads to a massive leak in energy that you have generated from ground forces. You are wasting your whole run up, bound and front foot landing in one error!
To show you what I mean, compare the knee position of these two bowlers (the top is a still from Ian Pont’s How to Bowl Faster online coaching course):
4. Don’t be too keen to bring your arm over
After hip drive, the next technical fault is your actual bowling arm. It’s understandable that you are keen to get your arm over as soon as possible - after all, the faster your arm, the faster the ball - but that is counter-productive.
If your arm comes through before your hip you are not able to use your landing and hip snap to power through the crease. It’s another big energy waste.
So work on delaying your front arm as long as possible. Momentum will bring it through soon enough, but a slight delay gives your hip and chest the chance to drive hard towards the batsman creating maximum pace.
It also stretches your upper body muscles so they act like an elastic band pinging back into position much faster when stretched. It’s a definite feeling that you know you are getting when you find it. For more on this delay-stretch-reflex click here.
5. Don’t over-think things
Finally, after all this technical discussion, it’s important not to think too much about technique. There are times in practice when you will work on these things obsessively, but when you get to the middle, put it all to the back of your mind.
Focus on getting a rhythm and feeling like you are bowling quickly. Ignore any friendly advice from senior players on technique and just run in trying to hit that spot.
Then after the match, review your performance and take any technical work to nets.
by David Hinchclife, PitchVision Academy
© 2012 miSport Ltd