Tino Best spoke about the importance of a still head during bowling – how can I keep my head straight?
This is a great question and I’m so glad to hear that you’re trying to implement the advice you hear in the podcasts.
There are many bowlers who ‘lean’ to the side with their head and their upper body when they bowl. It’s important to note the difference between a collapse/falling over and ‘misalignment’.
It’s not ideal to be leaning to the side with your upper half – but it isn’t the end of the world if you’re doing it either. Think Lockie Ferguson, he leans over to his left side so much that his right hand is above his left foot – in a ‘bio-mechanical’ world, this is a crime!
How effective is he? He can still put the ball where he wants at over 150kph. Lockie gets into that position and MAINTAINS it – he doesn’t continuously fall over to that side. You can say that Lockie has a slight misalignment (in terms of bio-mechanics) but he isn’t collapsing or falling over – he maintains that position quite solidly. We recently published a post on Instagram about the importance of ‘mastering’ your action and having a deep understanding of your process; Lockie is exhibiting exactly that! He has bowled enough to be able to negate the misalignment with immaculate control and understanding of his process and bowling action.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to get fixated on bio-mechanical perfectionism but not at the expense of ‘performance’. If your action is causing you problems with injury or issues with your ability to execute your skills – then I’d say you need to address it but be very frank and very honest with yourself if making such tweaks is necessary for you at this stage of your career.
Working on misalignment can be done in two ways:
1. Doing drill work. You can’t physically use something to hold your upper body in place whilst your bowling – so the next best thing is to use some physical objects to create a channel for you to go through. You’ll need some tall poles to set up a narrow channel either side of the crease. The aim is to bowling through as normal without hitting the poles - the physical presence of the poles will force you to travel through the channel in a straight line otherwise you’ll end up hitting them. Start by doing walkthrough’s and then build up into a jog and eventually a run from the top of your mark.
2. If you haven’t got anything to focus on, how can you ensure your alignment is correct? Sometimes, we need visual cues to help us because when you’re bowling at a batsman or in a match, you can’t set up physical objects. So how can you set up a visual cue? You can align your head by looking at the batsman’s helmet and then lowering your eyes to focus on a spot on the pitch where you’re looking to bowl. It doesn’t have to be the batsman’s helmet; it can be anything which is in line with your head. You must focus hard on your target area whilst maintaining your head position – don’t get careless or lazy. When you’re at the top of your mark, switch on. Once the ball is bowled and you’re walking back to your mark, you can switch off to preserve mental energy.
I hope that helps.
All the best.
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