#80 - I’m short, a bit overweight and unfit but I can generate a lot of pace. I struggle with rhythm in my run up and load up, nothing feels ‘perfect’. What should I do?

QUESTION

I’m short, a bit overweight and unfit but I can generate a lot of pace. I struggle with rhythm in my run up and load up, nothing feels ‘perfect’. What should I do?


ANSWER

Hey,

 

Skill and fitness isn’t directly ‘linked’. For example, there have been a few bowlers who haven’t been in the best of shape but they could generate pace. The same for batsmen who haven’t been in the best of shape but still score runs for fun. But that doesn’t mean you should rely on your skill and neglect the fact that you have room to improve!

 

I’m not surprised that you struggle with rhythm as being overweight means you will be carrying excess weight whilst you’re bowling. Imagine walking up stairs, it can be tough right? Now imagine walking up those stairs whilst holding a 5kg plate. It will be uncomfortable!

 

What does rhythm mean? How do you describe the feeling of rhythm? Every bowler we’ve spoken to has said that when they are in rhythm, everything just ‘happens’ and bowling seems effortless to them. You will struggle to find that ‘effortless’ feel when you’re carrying excess weight with you. Every single ball.

 

In order to find efficiency in your bowling, you must be physically efficient. Get fit and watch the impact it has on your bowling. You will most likely bowl faster as well!

I hope that helps.

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#78 - I am hitting the deck hard which is resulting in no swing. When I bowl full, I don’t have pace. How can I release the ball with pace and swing?

QUESTION

I am hitting the deck hard which is resulting in no swing. When I bowl full, I don’t have pace. How can I release the ball with pace and swing?


ANSWER

Hey,

This is a great question. Swing is very much an ‘art’. Hitting the deck is usually associated with pitching the ball on a short/back of length. By doing so, you’ll take away the ‘chances’ of swing through the air but you may find movement ‘off the pitch’ – which is called, “seam movement”. Think about Glenn McGrath, he was a master at moving the ball of the pitch. 

If you want to swing the ball through the air, you need to pitch the ball full enough to give it a chance to move. This can feel weird for bowlers as hitting the deck and digging the ball into the pitch ‘feels’ like you’re generating a lot of pace and power whereas pitching the ball up can sometimes feel like you’re just ‘floating’ it up there.

Most of the time, this ‘floating’ feeling is caused by inexperience. You haven’t bowled enough full deliveries to master the timing required to bowl full at full tilt. Timing is critical here and you need to get your body used to producing power on a full length. Chinese whispers in the villages of Pakistan claim that Waqar Younis used to practice bowling beamers. Why? The theory is that if you can bowl a beamer at full pace, then bowling a Yorker should be easy work. You’ll hear this is a lot in Pakistan – that real pace is trained by bowling full, full, full!

Think about it, if you feel powerful when bowling on a back of length, but ‘floaty’ when bowling full. Just imagine what your full length will feel like when you’re used to bowling full tosses at full tilt; your full-length delivery will feel like your back of a length delivery.

Be careful though, such training can negatively effect your timing as well. Waqar was taken out of the attack in the 2003 World Cup for bowling consecutive beamers, use it as a training tool but not so much that it becomes an ingrained ‘habit’. If you’re going to bowl 10 beamers in training, make sure you’re bowling 20 balls on a full length to balance the work.

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#73 - I change my action a lot and it always feels good. Is this the reason I am losing my rhythm a lot?

QUESTION

I change my action a lot and it always feels good. Is this the reason I am losing my rhythm a lot?


ANSWER

Hey,

This is a very common issue with a lot of bowlers. The reason the change of action feels good at the start is because you’re getting a different response from your body when you bowl; any slight change in your action will influence your timing - this can either be a good thing, or a bad thing. In your case, it sounds like a good thing.

 

Most bowlers are always tweaking parts of their action throughout their career; either their run up, their load up or their position in the crease etc but it’s important to know when to ‘draw a line’ under the changes. Your ultimate goal is to have a deep understanding of your action, how it feels and how to time it perfectly ball after ball. This is how you will achieve confidence and consistency in your bowling.

 

This level of mastery can only be achieved through bowling. The more you bowl, the more experience you’ll gain and the more confident you’ll become. Almost every fast bowler that we’ve spoken to has emphasised on the importance of confidence as a fast bowler. If you keep changing your action, you’ll be robbing yourself of the chance to perfect your bowling style. In regards to rhythm, 100%. If you keep making changes, how can you expect to settle into a rhythm? Remember, rhythm comes down to repetition and feel; you can’t achieve feel if you keep on changing!

 

Unless you have a serious bio-mechanical issue which needs to be addressed, I don’t think there’s any reason to continuously change your action. Small tweaks here and there are fine, but you shouldn’t be making huge changes for no reason. As they say, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”.

I know, we’ve all been there. One of the hardest and most neglected requirements as an athlete is the ability to be patient. As athletes, we constantly want to change things and evolve overnight – but it’s important to remember that success takes time. Often, we make our jobs harder than they need to be by trying to bowl magic balls, bowl like Brett Lee one day and Allan Donald the next; remember, keep it simple and do the basics. Being patient and consistent will produce the results – you have to trust the process.

I hope that helps. 

All the best


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#72 - I’m 5’5, can I become a fast bowler?

QUESTION

I’m 5’5, can I become a fast bowler?


ANSWER

Hey, 

There’s a huge misunderstanding that you need to be tall to be a fast bowler. History shows that the fastest bowlers haven’t always been ‘tall’.

Tino Best, Fidel Edwards, Dale Steyn, Malcolm Marshall (RIP) and Chris Jordan are just a few examples of bowlers with pace that are under 6 feet. Although long levers are desirable in fast bowlers, they’re not everything.

The way I look at it, if you have a disadvantage in terms of height, you must work on negating that disadvantage by working on things within your control; your technique, your attitude, mindset and your fitness.

You don’t have the advantage of long levers, so make sure your action is as efficient as possible so you’re squeezing all the potential pace out of your body. Work on your fitness so you’re as fit, strong and fast as possible. Work on the mental side of your game; Tino Best has described this perfectly in his podcast with us – fast bowling is an attitude.

Develop that fast bowling instinct and desire to bowl fast; you’ll be surprised how much of an impact your mindset can have on your game and ability to bowl quick.

I hope that helps.

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#70 - I have a problem maintaining my pace. One day I’ll bowl fast and the very next day I will lose my pace. How can I fix this?

QUESTION

I have a problem maintaining my pace. One day I’ll bowl fast and the very next day I will lose my pace. How can I fix this?


ANSWER

Hey,

This could be down to a few things. Fast bowling is a high intensity activity and it takes a lot out of the body, therefore, recovery after a long day in the field is extremely important. You can’t expect to bowl fast every day – at some stage, you’ll need to rest!

Managing your workloads is one of the hardest parts of being an athlete. An athlete’s natural mindset is to do more and more, but you must balance the amount of work and level of intensity if you want to perform consistently.

If you’re feeling exhausted after a long day, chances are that you tried to force the pace and worked yourself to the limit. 

Managing workloads comes down to planning. If you know you’ve got a few games lined up back to back. Don’t search for pace, search for rhythm and settle into a groove. Don’t go all out and exhaust yourself when you know you’ve got a job to do the very next day! Have you ever wondered why some of the fastest bowlers in the world aren’t bowling at their top speed throughout a Test Match? They’re managing their energy output! 

I’d also advise you to start implementing a recovery regime. Your regime will depend on your resources and facilities but even something as simple as a long static stretch, plenty of water and recovery food will make a big difference. If you have access; then a light swim and stretch, sports massage and ice baths are also great!

To conclude, be smart for better performance! 

I hope that helps. 

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#69 - I’m a left-handed bowler, how can I swing the ball back into a right-handed batsman?

QUESTION

I’m a left handed bowler, how can I swing the ball back into a right handed batsman?


ANSWER

Hey,

Great question. There are a few variables to swing such as wrist position, wrist control and body angle. We spoke to Tom Barber, a left-arm fast bowler from England who can bowl more than 145kph – he told us that he tried to get more side-on to help him swing the ball back into a right-handed batsman. What Tom effectively did is adjust the angle of his body to help him manipulate the path of the ball.

As well as your body, you can also use the crease to adjust your angle; getting close to the stumps or wide of the crease etc. However, please note that using the crease is a great weapon but it might become obvious to the batsman as it’s a lot more noticeable than subtle changes in your wrist position.

My advice to you would be to get in the nets and practice. Honestly, swing is an art and no art is easy to master. It takes an incredible amount of hard work and commitment. Work on maintaining your wrist position, work on using the crease and work on adjusting the angle of your body through your action. Until you try different things, you won’t know what the best method for you is.

 I hope that helps. 

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#67 - How can I be more consistent with my line and length?

QUESTION

How can I be more consistent with my line and length?


ANSWER

Hey,

You can achieve greater consistency in a few ways such as having a strong wrist position, a repeatable action and bowling enough. But I’d like to focus on something which I believe a lot of bowlers subconsciously struggle with; keeping it simple.

As bowlers, we have an aggressive mindset and want to get batsmen out with every ball that we bowl. In doing so, we complicate things for ourselves. Remember, cricket is about simplicity and the simpler our process, the easier our execution becomes.

We asked Tino Best if he could go back in time, what one thing would he add to his game: his response was, “consistency”. He said that most times he allowed his emotions to take over and he mixed his bowling up a lot but looking back, he would just be more consistent at bowling outside that off stump channel. Please listen to that podcast on our website or look out for the Pace Bite in the near future.

So my advice to you would be to have a clear mind and be patient and consistent.

I hope that helps.

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.

#65 - How can I swing the ball in and out?

QUESTION

How can I swing the ball in and out?


ANSWER

Hey,

Swing is an interesting topic. Generally, a good wrist position will enable you to maintain a good seam. A good seam will enable the ball to swing. There’s an argument that overhead conditions help the ball swing and I’ve also heard an argument that overhead conditions have nothing to do with swing.

Bowlers tend to have a natural swing; whether it be in or out. My opinion is that this comes down to angles. For example, if you come from slightly wider in the crease and angle your wrist down the leg side, it’s going to be hard to swing the ball away. These small degrees in angular change are (in my opinion) what allows great bowlers like Jimmy Anderson to manipulate swing in whichever way they want.

I don’t have to tell you how much knowledge, skill and understanding of your body you need to have to be able to do this – but it all comes down to practicing and staying consistent. Work on your wrist position and body angles in the crease and see how it affects your swing!

In a recent podcast we published with left-arm fast bowler, Tom Barber from Middlesex CCC, he told us how alignment and getting side on helped him swing the ball back into the right-handed batsman.

We will definitely be speaking to some of our guests about swing so stay tuned for our posts and podcasts!

I hope that helps.

All the best.


Do you want to know how the professionals bowl fast? Listen to our podcasts with international and domestic fast bowlers, technical coaches and fitness trainers.