Coaching Corner 19 – General advice and guidance for the young bowler

Your Main Aim

·        Your first priority as a bowler is to master your stock delivery, i.e. for seam bowlers to land the ball on a line to hit the top of the off-stump, for off-spinners to pitch the ball outside off-stump to turn in and hit the wicket, for leg-spinners, to master the leg-break which pitches to turn and hit off-stump.

·        Don’t go into variations until you can bowl the stock delivery consistently. As the old coach used to say, “A straight ball has a particularly lethal quality: if the batsman misses it, he’s out!”  Accuracy is vital.

·        This is not to say that if you are a spinner, you should sacrifice turn.  Always try to spin the ball as much as you can.

Practice.

·        For faster bowlers, it is important to abide by the guidelines about the amount you bowl; this includes practice.  See ECB document for details.

·        Yet as a general rule you should bowl as much as possible within these limits to try to gain the metronomic rhythm that is so important and “programme “ your body to repeat the action over and over again.  Remember, there are plenty of drills mentioned in the previous sections which you can do without infringing these directives.

·        Try to practise on the correct length of pitch and with the right size of ball:

Age

Ball

Pitch

Under 10

4.75 oz

18 yds

Under 11

4.75 oz.

20 yds

Under 12

4.75 oz

21 yds

Under 13

4.75 oz

21 yds

Under 14

5.5 oz

22 yds

Under 15 and above

5.5 oz

22 yds

For girls the same pitch lengths apply but the small ball should be used up to and including U13s, after which the special 5oz ball is used.

Matches

·        Patience is a virtue.  Don’t get discouraged if catches are dropped, decisions go against you or the batsman keeps playing and missing.  It all goes with the territory!  There will be days when you bowl well without reward.  Just concentrate on doing the basics well and success will come.

·        Make sure that you have a purpose: don’t just run up and bowl.

 

·        Motivate yourself by setting yourself goals, e.g. keep the run-rate down to x an over, make batsman play every ball in over etc.

 

·        Always be determined and have a will to win.  Don’t panic but think about your technique if control of line and length starts to disappear – is your head still, are your arms high, are you keeping sideways on as long as possible, are you following through etc?

 

Preparation

 

·        Prepare yourself properly. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail!

·        Always warm up before practice or a match, and, especially if you are a faster bowler, make sure that you wear a vest or a “skin”.   Many a back muscle has been strained because bowlers have sweated, then got cold and stiffened up and then tried to bowl again.  To avoid this, keep the back warm by wearing a sweater between overs and spells.

·        Make sure that the warm-up includes some “bowl-throughs”.

·        Make sure that your boots are in good condition, with good support, cushioning and a full set of spikes.  When the spikes get worn and too short, replace them.  Never bowl on grass pitches in rubber soles without spikes.

·        To avoid de-hydration and help to prevent cramp, make sure that you take sufficient liquids, especially when the weather is warm.   Expensive isotonic drinks are not necessary; a bottle of water is fine.

 

·        And most of all, stay positive and enjoy yourself!