Coaching Corner 15 – The run-up

Now we’ve got the delivery sorted out, let’s have a look at the run-up.

The run-up is often neglected but a smooth run-up is an essential for an efficient and effective delivery.

What are we looking for, with special reference to seam bowlers?

·         The run-up should be smooth and economical: don’t run further than you have to – it wastes energy.  It’s not a race for the crease but the run-up has to be long enough to build up speed so that the bowler reaches full-speed three or four strides before the delivery.

·         This speed then has to be held through the delivery.  It is a common fault to slow down just before delivery stride.

·         The run-up should be what the bowler feels comfortable with.  Too short a run will introduce too much stress into the delivery stride, with possible loss of height and falling away.

·         Rhythm is all-important. This will not come either with a headlong dash for the line or a “sling” off too few paces.

·         The body should lean slightly forward with the head steady and neck upright (not leaning towards the off-side)

·         The arms should be “pumping”, not remain virtually static by your side.

·         The run-up should end in a good leap (to height of about half-way up the stumps.  (See section on the bound)


Run-up: slight lean forward, arms pumping.  Just before the bound: pace maintained, bowler about preparing for delivery.

How far should I run?

To decide how far to run, try this:

Go to a part of a sports hall or field away from the marked pitch. Make a mark.  Starting  with the same foot just behind the mark, run in your normal way until you get the “feeling” that you want to bowl, at which point bowl and complete the whole action.

This may need to be done 10, 20 or 30 times until a good rhythm is discovered and you end up bowling from the same spot consistently.  If you are doing this on a field, you will know this is happening by the footmarks on the turf.  If you are in a sports hall, get a partner to note where your front foot is landing.

To determine how long your run-up is, make a line where the toe of your front foot has landed, then measure 4 feet back from this line and make another line.

These two lines are now the crease markings at the bowler’s end.

Now pace out the distance from the back line to your start mark using your normal walking paces (don’t stretch – your walking paces are more consistent in length).  The number of paces you count should be your natural run-up length.

Remember:  The crease markings and wicket do not dictate when the ball should be bowled.  They coincide with the feeling of wanting to bowl!   You have to adjust the run accordingly.

Common Faults:

·         Stretching for the crease, resulting in an unstable base or loss of height in the delivery.

·         Not accelerating gradually, but dashing from the mark to the crease

·         Slowing down before the delivery stride.