As you already know, there is no one type of fast bowler, but they all have one thing in common: all fast bowlers want to bowl faster.
So although the goal is the same, the way to reach that goal varies depending on the type of bowler. Fast bowling coach Steffan Jones has the answer: Training the right way for your type makes a huge difference to your performance.
Steff says that when it comes to training there are 3 types of bowler:
1. Muscular and Effort (Static)
2. Ballistic (Spring)
3. Rhythmical and Lever
These bowler types can be placed on a continuum.
At the static end of the continuum, bowlers ‘muscle’ the ball down. They tend to be good weight trainers and spend a lot of time lifting some tin.
Getting stronger will help these guys a bit, but getting more spring by focusing on arm speed will definitely increase their bowling speed.
At the spring end of the continuum, bowlers have genuine fast arm speed. So doing a lot of arm speed work is overkill. They already have it! These bowlers would improve by increasing their maximal strength alone.
The third category bowlers are fortunate to be blessed with long arms and legs. They have great leavers and a mix of training methods will help them.
As you can see, there is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ training program for fast bowlers.
The science bit, or why this works
Steff explains explain why this works in more detail:
When a cricketer bowls a ball, his central nervous system (CNS) relays a message to the peripheral nervous system, which calls into action the appropriate muscle fibres to get the job done. This voluntary action constitutes the static part on the continuum. The more trained you become, the better you are able to recruit muscle fibres.
On the other end of the continuum we have the spring athlete. The spring end of the continuum can be regarded as involuntary. These players have excellent reactive ability, meaning that the more force he takes in, the more force he’ll put out.
Every time a muscle lengthens the muscle stores energy like an elastic band. This energy is then used when the muscle shortens. Learning to use this action is key to increasing your bowling speed.
So, before you start lying on the bench to perform a bench press - incline bench is a better option by the way - take a minute to think.
Would you benefit more from doing clap push ups or other plyometric activity? It depends where you are on the continuum.
Make sure you know which end of the continuum you sit. Make sure you know what training method will improve your recruitment and the effective utilisation of your muscles.
For a fast bowling fitness plan that uses these methods, try the online coaching course from Steffan Jones, Get Wheels: Strength and Conditioning Programme to Improve Pace and Reduce Injury.
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