Coaching Corner 14 – Bowling: release and follow-through

Main points:

  • Make sure that the bowling arm is kept high, with the  fingers and wrist ensuring correct seam position
  • Make sure that the back foot does not come off the ground too soon.  You must maintain a stable base.  Bowl with both feet on the ground!
  • Good momentum is produced through quick rotation of hips, shoulder and arms. For sideways-on bowlers, drive the right hip through quickly to get the body through the 180o which will produce the explosion of energy needed in the delivery.
  • For front-on bowlers also, it is vital that the right hip moves quickly through the delivery to maintain the forward momentum.
  • In the delivery stride, the chest will be facing the leg-side, after release it will be facing the off-side.
  • When you have released the ball, you haven’t finished!  Just as sprinters don’t stop suddenly at the tape, you will need to continue to drive forward.
  • Drive towards target continued after delivery, with head still looking at target.
  • Make sure the front arm is pulled back, straight and high, close to the body, not flung out towards the off-side.
  •  The bowling arm completes the full circle from the initial load-up position, finishing past the hips close to the opposite side of the body, i.e the left of the chest, near the arm-pit.
  • After follow-through, the bowler will continue forward but will start to run off the pitch in a gentle arc to avoid running down the middle of the pitch (which is illegal!)

Release, note in both cases the high bowling arm and the fingers and wrist in correct position.  The bowlers are also close to the stumps, not bowling from a wide angle.

Follow-through:  the left arm has been pulled back straight and high, and the right arm has finished  high on the left side of the chest.  The upper body has finished its 180o rotation.  The head is still looking at the target as the body drives forward.


Drive-through. The bowler is moving forward and started to move in a gentle arc off the pitch and the “danger area”

Common faults

·         Letting the wrist drop to one side before release with loss of the upright seam position

·         Pulling head too far over to off-side, so that the upper body leans to the side (off)

·         Low bowling arm

·         Not keeping the back foot in contact with the ground long enough, so the leg does not come through in a straight line and there is a loss of pace and balance.

·         Front arm pulled down too soon and thrown towards off-side, rather than kept straight.  This will lead to collapsing and falling away with loss of pace and direction.

·         Pulling up too soon and not completing the delivery properly, again leading too loss of pace and control – and also the risk of injury!


Training tips

·         Bowl repeatedly into the side of the net from short range to “groove” the release and follow-through.

·         Bowl with a soft training ball to a partner to make sure the seam is being kept upright. Use a ball that is red and white, or has a clearly marked seam so that you can see the seam position in flight.