Saturday, 6 September 2008
You're a wrist spin bowler, your stock ball is the Leg Break. You get half decent at bowling it and you learn a little more about the art of Wrist Spin bowling and then you realise the potential of being able to bowl the Googly (Wrong Un/Bosie). You practice it and spend hours trying to get it and eventually after hours, maybe even days and weeks you've got it - Line and Length and it turns sharply towards Leg Slip. But then you return to your neglected Leg Break and no matter what you do you cannot bowl the Leg Break anymore. This is The Googly Syndrome.
Scroll straight down to the action if this bit bores you.....
As a kid back in the late 60's early 70's I recall being given cricket gear - pads, balls, gloves and bats by much bigger cousins and uncles. I remember going over to the "Daisy Field" in Tilbury with my little brother and sister and arguing about who was going to bat first. After spending what I recall as being at least half and hour struggling to do up rusty buckles with thick and stiff leather straps the games always finished within a matter of minutes as soon as someone got wrapped across the knuckles with a 5.5oz cricket ball. Not surprisingly cricket didn't become a regular feature in my life thereafter and I don't recall ever playing it at school in PE, but I have very vague memories of playing cricket up against walls with Tennis Balls as a child.
So despite the fact that I wasn't initiated into cricket in anyway other playing with a mate with a tennis ball and chalk drawn stumps on a wall - somehow I knew how to bowl maybe it's got something to do with the fact that cricket seemed to be on the tele every Sunday all afternoon throughout the summer on BBC2 - maybe I just saw what I needed to do and simply did it? Which is weird because - how do I know how to bowl? No-one has ever said to me 'You can't bowl - you're throwing it'. So how has that happened and how come virtually all the kids that I'm involved with who I introduce to cricket - virtually none of them bowl properly? Almost all of them without exception throw the ball? So all my life - no cricket. Loads of skateboarding, Surfing, cycling, running, swimming with a very small amount of Baseball (where you do throw the ball) and a minute bit of football. Then in my mid 30's I discovered that Nasser Hussein was the captain of England’s cricket team so I started to watch the game for the first time in my life and was gob-smacked by how complex and intricate it was and how subtle it could be whilst at the same time in your face violent. I was mesmerised and then I discovered the Aussies and one bloke in particular - Shane Warne, suddenly the whole game stepped up another 3 levels to something that was absolute magic. But still I only watched.
Then in the summer of 2006 on the eve of our annual surf trip I took my 5 year old son on a evening bike ride prior to driving down to Cornwall the next day at 3am. Within 20 minutes of setting out he'd dislocated his arm and broken a bone in his elbow coming off his bike coming down a steep grassy hill. 3 days later and with the holiday cancelled and with 2 operations behind him he left hospital plastered and bandaged up with 2 metal pins through his elbow 6" long. Faced with the whole of the 6 weeks holiday in plaster we were stuck for what to do and being 5 he needed to be doing stuff. A solution that sprung to mind within a couple of days was cricket using tennis rackets instead of the normal bat as he was a bit off balance with his arm plastered and in a sling.
On our first outing with stumps I took on the mantle of Shane Warne and attempted for the first time in my life to bowl Leg Breaks and did it! I don't know who had the most fun, me or my two little boys? They loved it, but I loved it even more and introduced some of the other families and kids we hang out with to the same game and one of the Dads - Thomas enjoyed it as much as me and within a matter of days it became deriguer to play cricket when out with the kids, but with my Leg Breaks and the constant playing with my boys it was too easy to bowl Thomas out and bit by bit the competitive nature of both of us began to force the games to newer levels and over that summer it went from that simple game with a tennis racket to the idea that maybe we should get some more blokes involved.
When I returned to my job in August as a lecturer I put it to the blokes in my office - would they be interested in forming a team and so was born the MPA 1st XI http://www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com/ This soon became an obsession and research on the internet into Shane Warne started to feed my passion for more - Leg Breaks, Googlies, Wrong Uns, Flippers, Top Spinners and sliders - what did this all mean, I'd heard the words watching matches and I knew that the Googly was the ball that turned the wrong way, but the others were a mystery - far too subtle for me to see the difference. Now here on the internet - here they were all being demonstrated by the man himself and some bloke called Terry Jenner. It was all my Christmas's at once - I too could be Shane Warne! So over the summer of 2007 the MPA 1st XI played a handful of matches and I spent every hour God gave me to learn the variations and did it.
It's now August 2008 and I'm in a real cricket team and I've made the fundamental mistake of learning the variations as a matter of urgency, prioritising them over the Leg Break. There's a phenomenon common in Wrist Spin bowling when you learn to bowl the Wrong Un (Googly or Bosie) you lose the ability to bowl the Leg Break and it's the leg break that above all else that you must be able to bowl. For every 10 leg breaks you might bowl one of the variations. I am a victim of this syndrome. This is my diary of how I get the Leg Break back. The Googly Syndrome.
It's recognised in Wrist Spin bowling that when you decide to learn how to bowl the Googly/Wrong Un (The variation that spins in from Off towards leg) that there is a tendency for wrist spinners to lose the ability to bowl the Stock Ball the Leg Break. The Leg Break is the ball that Shane Warne and any self respecting wrist spinner bowls primarily and therefore is known as the Stock Ball. The leg break ball is extremely complex in it’s characteristics if you're trying to explain it to the uninitiated in that it has several potential attributes when bowled well.
The delivery of the Leg Break has many attributes that make it one of the most difficult and interesting bowling variations in cricket and each time it is bowled it potentially features an infinite variety of these attributes that make it difficult to bat against....
All these attributes are applied in varying degrees to fool the batsman into playing the wrong shot and therefore being dismissed.
Speed; The speed of the ball from the outset in comparison to the fast bowlers is a lot slower and like the fast bowlers can be varied to trick the batsman. Spin bowlers can be deployed to bowl alternate over’s with a fast bowler in order to disrupt the batsman’s rhythm. Simply by bowling a series of normal pace balls and then bowl one slightly faster or slower can undo a batsman.
Flight; Because the ball is delivered at a much slower speed its trajectory is intrinsicly different from that of a fast bowler and one of the tactics that is used is that the ball is delivered above the eye level of the batsman so that predicting where it will land becomes difficult, a ball against a sky is so much more difficult to predict as to it’s speed and trajectory when compared to a ball that is travelling in a relatively straight line against a white background (Screens) in the case of faster bowlers.
Swing; This is a rarer attribute normally associated with faster bowlers. Movement through the air is caused by the magnus affect and this makes the ball deviate off it’s line swinging inwards or outwards as it approaches the bat.
Spin; Needless to say this is the main attribute. The ball as it is released is flicked out of the hand using the arm, wrist and fingers so that the ball rotates through the air spinning anti-clockwise. As the ball lands the seam of the ball grips the surface and the ball will the deviate off its expected line because of the spin.
Deviation; Will it or won’t it? The amount of deviation is subject to – pitch type and spin imparted by the bowler and the type of spin. Again the bowler can bowl small leg breaks lulling the bat into a false sense of security and the bowl one that either spins more or doesn’t spin at all, again enticing or tricking the bat to play a stroke that fails to connect or do so in a way that forces a batting error and a possible dismissal.
Dip; This is another attribute that makes the Wrist Spinner an awesome adversary. The spin imparted on the ball is different to the backspin used in seam deliveries by fast bowlers. In comparison the spin is sideways hence it deviates in the way that it does once it makes contact with the ground. But as the ball cuts through the air the magnus affect has a different affect on the trajectory that the ball takes and this manifests itself a sudden dip in the flight of the ball as it nears the bat. The ball suddenly drops out of the sky far more rapidly than it should do when thrown at the speed that it has been - this is Dip and if you can produce it when you're bowling Leg Breaks it's a major asset.
Variation; Then out of nowhere comes a variation. A ball that looks like a leg break that spins in another way and catches the bat off guard. These are all possibilities with the Leg Break. The ball can be bowled straight at the middle stump, at the off stump or the leg stump or incredibly wide and turn massively to still end up hitting the stumps, the variety and potential when bowled well is massive.
Every wrist spinner should aim to be able to produce a few variations – The Leg Break is his main weapon against the batsman, this is what the batsman is going to expect and this is what the batsman fears. Once mastered you can then move on to the variations. The variation that most wrist spinners want to add to their armoury is the Wrong Un also known as the Googly and the Bosie. The wrong un does the opposite to the Leg Break - it's bowled primarily down the offside e.g. down towards the side the batsman is holding his bat. But instead of turning away from the batsmans body as the Leg Break does the Wrong Un turns into the batsmans body. As you can imagine if you're the batsman and you're facing a wrist spinner who has been bowling ball after ball that has turned from Leg towards off, you're going to be taken by surprise when suddenly out of nowhere the ball does the exact opposite and turns straight in towards your body and quite likely your stumps.
At club level to have a good Wrist Spinner who can bowl both small and big Leg Breaks is a massive asset, but for the same spinner to also have in his armoury the ability to bowl equally good Googly's you can see the potential for the wrist spinner to move from being a great spinner to something very special. So to the new wrist spinner like myself the Googly looked like the holy grail, to be able to do both equally well is so obviously an asset to your bowling. Furthermore these variations are shrouded in esoteric mystery, they're talked about in ways that would suggest that to be able to bowl them is to be elevated to the status of people like Warne. Look on the internet and you'll find Warne or Jenner demonstrating how to do it, but never mortals like you and me. The Wrong Un is the Leg Spinners dream ball, the one that they all want to be able to bowl alongside their Leg Break and I was the same.
My Leg Break was only ever the small variety, it was never brought on to the level where it began to ever look like a big leg break and was the standard Warnesque style with the arm nowhere near vertical. When I started out I could bowl a basic Leg Break so the next move was the Wrong Un. Probably like anyone that is committed to learning the Wrong Un I decided that I'd put the hours in until I got it. So the Leg Break was almost completely discarded and I focussed 90% on getting the wrong un sussed. I watched the video's on youtube and read as much as I could about it. Initially I couldn't do it, I just kept bowling Leg Breaks, but bit by bit my arm became more vertical and I accidentally started to bowl Top Spinners which I was pleased about and then I realised that all I needed to do was twist my hand round a bit further and give it a big flick. The flick with the arm so vertical and with the wrist turned that much round initially caused me concern. The flick needed to get the ball spinning in the right direction caused a lot of stress on my rotator cuff and upper arm muscles, but I kept going because it was beginning to happen and when I got it right it turned massively in comparison to my weak Legbreak. Incidentally the Legbreak at this point had disappeared, but I wasn't too concerned because I'd simply practice it again when I'd sussed the Wrong Un and I'd be that much better a bowler! So for 2 solid months through May and June 2007 I did nothing but bowl the Wrong Un and it came. Enthused by the success with the wrong un I started to bowl Flippers as well - I really was on my way to become Englands answer to Shane Warne and again after reading all the stuff about the Flipper - Richie Benaud practiced it for 4 years before he used it in a match, Terry Jenner and Warne both conceding that it was the most difficult of the variation to learn and here I was bowling it in a matter of hours and taking wickets with it and better still it had this tendency to turn from Leg to Off like Legbreak but with this sinister tendency to be faster and skid in really low. Why would you ever be that fussed about the Legbreak when you've got all these variations up your sleeve?
The Legbreak was gone. I'd try it and the ball would turn form off to leg no matter what happened. I turned to the internet for answers - websites and forums and then I found the cloverdale videos with Terry Jenner and his warning about bowling Wrong Uns. If you do it too much you will lose your Leg Break. My Legbreak was gone - dead, non-existant, irrecoverable - kaput! I have a son who is 7 years old and he bowls (The one that started all this off with his broken arm) and he's always aspired to be Shane Warne and he bowls Legbreaks - taking 9 wickets in one evening while we were on holiday this year! It looks as though like me when I started it just comes natural to him. If you see someone that does it and you understand the principle of flicking the ball out of the hand so that it rotates and spins it makes common sense and is relatively easy to do. The whole action of the Legbreak feels wholly natural and seemingly doesn't stress your body particularly. Whereas the wrong un is a whole new ball game and requires a wholly different approach to learning it because of the obviously un-natural way in which your arm and wrist is contorted to impart the spin in the opposite direction. There are many things that your body cannot do easily, but given time and practice and the development of muscles these tasks can be learned, but sometimes at the expense of other physical functions. Someone once explained to me that when you do something demanding and physical again and again many thousands of times your body gets into a state where what was initially very difficult becomes wholly natural because you've taught and trained the body and brain as a combination to produce the physical manifestation of the act to be wholly natural. I suppose it's like driving? When most people get into a car they find the act of looking, thinking and doing all the physical things in a sequence in order to change gear exceptionally difficult, but given time 99% learn it and what was an extremely complex and un-natural process become wholly fluid and natural. I think the wrong un is like this and it is so un-natural that in learning it in the way that I did to then ask you to go back to bowling the Legbreak would like asking you as a car driver to drive a left hand drive car with the pedals all the wrong way round as well as the steering wheel and handbrake, but instead of pressing the pedals down you have to lift them to brake and accelerate and when you want to turn right you have to steer left and vice versa - you couldn't. I think that once you've trained your brain to bowl the wrong un, bowling the Legbreak then becomes impossible. It's now coming to the end of my first season as a wrist spin bowler with a real cricket team. I bowl mainly Wrong uns and Top Spinners, with the occasional Flippers, I do okay, I take the occasional wicket and have the occasional good spell. But I am obviously lacking the one thing that I should have - the Leg Break. Everyone that I speak to says that if I'm a wrist spinner I need to have the stock ball. I watch in awe my team mates that can bowl the Leg Break, they make it look so easy and it's got other intricate aspects to it - dip and the ability to drop suddenly out of the sky when technically it should still carry on along an expected trajectory of a ball thrown at that particular speed. It is a magic ball, just as weird and wonderful as all the other variations maybe even more so? But I can't do it and it is so obvious that if I could do it my bowling potential would increase exponentially within my team. None of the other RH Wrist spinners are able to bowl the other variations as accurately as I can but they can all bowl devastatingly good leg breaks some days and if I could just master the Leg Break and still use the variations my bowling would improve beyond recognition.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leg_break
The new blog is here - www.legspinbowling.blogspot.com
I think I'm there, I'm almost certain that I can bowl a Leg Break at will and make it turn. Have a look at some of the points made here on the big cricket forum - http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/t58854-61/ But in essence it seems to be -
1. Keep the palm of the hand facing the bat and the under-side of your wrist.
2. Err towards twisting the wrist so that the little finger side of your hand starts to come round towards the bat almost into a karate chop position. It's this hand/wrist position combined with the flick backwards if you can get it that will give you the Big Leg Break.
3. In the actual delivery as the arm comes over to the point of release do something that feels like your pushing the ball forward out of your hand like a shot putter. This sounds almost bizarre but it's worked for me and I'm not alone (see the link).
4. Make sure the 3rd finger stays on the ball and drags over the ball through the release as that's what puts the spin on it.
I think I've got it!
March 5th - this is worth a second look at - http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/t58854-60/#post332996
Bit of an indoor practice using a 'Swing ball' a very productive session....
Wow Feb 21st and the temperature at one point in the afternoon was 16 degrees! The sky stayed clear later and it didn't get dark until after 6pm, you could have easily been on a field bowling or training in some way up until at least 5.30, so the prospects of that happening draw nearer with every night.
Later today (hence this 2nd entry) I had another half an hour of just trying to bowl Leg breaks and again if I do anything that seems to make sense with getting it to turn to slips it simply goes the other way - cocking the wrist, flicking the wrist etc - none of it works. It only works if I keep my hand dead straight and pretty much rigid just ensuring that as the ball leaves my hand that the 3rd fingers stays there for as long as possible, it's this 3rd finger that seemingly puts the spin on it, but in trailing that 3rd finger and it's easily left there too long and the ball gets dragged down. It's this dragging down that also gives me the sense that I am doing it right because it is such a classic example of a Leg Spinner getting it wrong. Maybe as I've said before I have simply just got to accept that at this stage it is only a small Leg Break but it has so many other attributes that my other variations don't. So I am going to stick with it and concentrate on it fully and try and get away from the idea that at any point soon it's going to develop into a big Leg Break. Looking back at this session I think I've moved to another place as such, because not once did I consider bowling anything but Leg Breaks and I didn't feel insecure about doing so and that's down to the fact that fundamentally I think I've accepted and recognise it is a good delivery already.
A reasonably warm day today with the temp up in the 12-14 degree region and sunny, so it's potentially a day for a practice outside somewhere. This year since late Jan I've been able to get along to G&CCC net sessions and hopefully my batting is coming along slightly, it may be that I'll just be more confident in facing the bowling, so the knock on affect might be that I'll last slightly longer and beat my current record with the MPA boys of 11. At G&CCC I think it stands at 7 or 8! Neil reckons I should aim for 20, we'll have to wait and see.
The main point......
Leg Breaks; Generally in the nets my bowlings been good again it seems as though there's going to be a massive improvement on last year. Last year I kind of lost the confidence to bowl Flippers and it wasn't till the last 3 or 4 games that I tried them again, but at the moment they're fairly good and accurate. This year the Gipper has come on massively http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7EIDvehGTE and I'm able to bowl a good line and length with it and vary the way it's delivered and it causes problems. How it converts to proper wickets will be interesting to see. The Wrong un is still there and the top spinner is okay other than the fact that I have a tendency for it to turn into a Wrong un.
But the Leg Break........ I just look at other people bowling it and remember once upon a time I could do it and also that day one summer (I'm losing count now) when I tried the Peter Philpott bowling inwards technique and sussed the Big Leg Break But now I can barely get it to turn. But I'm persevering and slowly it's coming together. When I bowl it in the nets I've had good feedback from Simon (MPA), Neil and Danny. Seemingly of all the balls I bowl it has several extra characteristics -
1. It's considerably faster than the others
2. It dips.
3. It drifts
4. It bounces more
So with that in mind it looks as though I should definitely keep at it, because I do get frustrated with it. The most frustrating thing I find is the bloke I bowl with in the nets The Wizard gets his balls to turn enormously and I just stand thinking how the **** does he do that? But then I despair at the fact that a lot of the time he's throwing the ball into the nets both legside and offside which he does in the games as well. I think he needs to put some hours in maybe just bowling top-spinners at the stumps and getting his line right and then maybe work on bringing the spin in? But what a shame all that spin/turn potential and no accuracy.
Whereas my Leg Break is very accurate line wise but it doesn't have a lot of turn. Lengths a slight problem, but I reckon that'll be easily cured. Another incredibly frustrating aspect is the fact that indoors just flicking the ball around I can get the ball to spin ridiculously like a big leg break but can't convert it to include pushing the ball forward. Going back to the point about the 2 hours when I did get the big leg break I was under the influence of alcohol, so perhaps it may be an idea to get half cut and try it then when I'm far more relaxed - see if that has any beneficial outcome?
Other than that over the next 2 -3 net sessions I'm going to be working 95% on the leg break accepting that it doesn't turn a great deal, work with the fact that I can pitch it on the off stump and just look at the potential of bowling different speeds, lengths, flights etc. This has come about through a conversation on facebook with my captain Neil who holds the club record for the most wickets he said that he can hardly get the ball to turn at all and gets all of his wickets through variation of flight, dip, speed, length with a very week offy action.
Another transfer from the main blog
I've just update my own blog with an entry listing all my favourite wrist spin/spin website links (see http://www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com/) and I thought I'd bung em all in here as well. If you know of any others that you've come across let me know so that I can add them to my list.
After finding yesterdays interesting website I thought it'd be a good idea to compile a list of my favourite websites that relate to Spin bowling.
This is a website that's offering on-line coaching, but if you click on the images on the right hand side of the home page, there's some useful clips. http://www.wattacoach.com/
This website is an example of the on-line coaching available through wattacoach - it's a you tube clip featuring Australia's Beau Casson and I reckon this is one of the most useful resources for wrist spinners on the internet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaXEw9-XjP4
This is probably the most popular one - Shane Warne with Mark Richards at Perth. Although this is pretty good I reckon the following 3 kind of obssess too much about the variations and can serve to do more damage to Wrist Spinners that are trying to learn the art http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZgFi9Q9gc
Similarly Terry Jenner demonstrating Leg Spin basics on the BBC website here seen on youtube. This is possibly the better of the two http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NucZbWFy0c
The second Terry Jenner Wrist Spin clip again from the BBC website. This one deals with the variations in more depth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puDkf9uNXPQ&feature=related
This is the first of the 2 cloverdale clips. I like this one because it features someone other than Warne, there's loads of clips of Stuart McGill who has a very different style to Warne. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWYcuaTosc&feature=related
This is the 2nd of the Cloverdale and deals with Offspin primarily but it's still interesting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si48Ch1EbRQ&feature=related
Another Off Spin - Mark Richards again, this time with Muttiah Mularitharan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GrOLdi5s0M
This one with footage of Warne in slow motion so that you can see how the ball comes from his hand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EznP02ZQOWE
Same thing with Murali http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxvYcRwyl9w&feature=related
And of course this Old Skool stuff including the Iverson/Gleeson techniques http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.planetnz.com/palmheads/images/grips2_2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.planetnz.com/palmheads/myhacks.php%3Fpg%3Dbent_finger&usg=__adTe_YljuWYciu_TL5pSUIGwa-w=&h=367&w=580&sz=23&hl=en&start=11&um=1&tbnid=EQdbxRnVADtSLM:&tbnh=85&tbnw=134&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dleg%2Bspin%2Bbowling%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive
I've transferred this from the main blog as this will be something I need to refer to -
Dave, read through a lot of your work and it's extremely thorough. I watched your youtube videos with interest, and (for what its worth), thought that the keys to you improving were as follows:Front Arm: Your arm, whilst positioned relatively well, seems to be generally used for decorative purposes. I feel that it really needs to be pulled back into your body as it is brought down, rather than away to the side. The reason for this will be explained at the end.Approach to the crease: It appears that you are going through the motions in terms of your movement through the crease. The use of momentum through the crease to generate the velocity of the ball will save wear on your shoulder. Your current speed is not going to be sufficient against a high calibre of opposition as you're simply giving them too much time to get to the pitch of the ball. Without becoming "warne-centric" it is interesting to note the manner with which he tended to explode towards the end of his run-up and approach of the crease. The key to not draggind down the delivery with the increase of momentum is to ensure that you don't stop at any point in the action, and for gods sakes, make sure that your right leg does some work!Follow through: The most underrated part of a leg spinners action. It is important to remember that your arse has an extremely important roll to play if you want to get dip and zip off the pitch. Personally, I have found that a great way to ensure this occurs is to try and kick your right bum cheek with the back of your right foot as you deliver. The difference this has created in my personal experience is extremely noticable, so if done correctly you'll definitely realise it! Anyway mate, I hope this helps. I'm of course still learning myself, but these are some of the more important points that I've been taught by various coaches over the years. Best of luck.
In response I've commented -
Gatorlad - Cheers Bloke, this is very much appreciated. I was thinking about some of this stuff today at work. Last night I was watching Warne on a Ashes 2007 DVD and remembered that my run in/walk in used to be described as being Warnesque and it so obviously isn't any more! In fact this evening working on some fielding practice indoors with my younger son I was practicing it (The Warne way) to see if I could get any sense that it added to the explosion through the crease. One of the big criticisms of my team mates is that my bowling just isn't fast enough - so it's something I need to work on.I've looked back at my videos and my leading arm and compared them with the Beau Casson clips that I've been using to learn this stuff with and from my uninitiated point of view I can't see a great deal of difference with where it ends up, but that's not to say that I don't think it's an issue, as I know full well that the 'Whip' action that my own teams captain uses when he bowls is massively faster than mine and I can also see this in Warne and Casson's bowling examples.I like the point you make about saving the shoulder by speeding up the movement through the crease a la' Warne. But I'm lost on your last point about kicking my arse - again looking at the Beau Casson clip YouTube - David Freedman legspin coaching video I've noted that at 4.09 into the clip he's doing the explode through the crease follow through drill and at this point he does almost kick his arse - is this where you mean? I don't know which bit of my internet writing you're following whether it's this or my blog, but your comments are appreciated and I'll certainly have a look at the points you've raised and I'm sure all the lads on here who are trying to learn this will take noted too and consider your points. The thing I like about all of your comments and it's something I've commented on before is that none of it relates to spinning the ball and the wrist. The other aspects to wrist spin bowling such as all the points that you've made I feel are far more important to learners than the ability to bowl a whole bagful of variations. I only wish that I had this input when I started out 3 years ago!Cheers for the comments and I'd appreciate it if you would clarify the point regarding kick your arse!!!Dave
29th Jan 2009
I've just had a nets session with my team Grays and Chadwell cc. How good was that! Also for the first time ever I had a coach - they had a coach there who wasn't playing he was just looking at what we were all doing and giving advice and encouragement - how good it that! He noted my Wrong Un and commended me on it and we had a short conversation about the Googlie syndrome and it sounds that in his time he'd bowled Wrist Spin and had gone through the same thing and then he said he had a solution. Guess what he said...... He said to get the Leg break back what you need to work on is keeping the hand straight as if you're bowling a straight ball and it will come back bit by bit. He said exactly what I've been saying looks like the answer. So it looks as though all my theorising holds water and will work. So that now is a massive incentive.
Furthermore I bowled really well tonight mixing it up and bowling good flippers and good gippers. The Gippers particularly were turning really well and were fast enough and a good length. I did also try my new leg break and that worked amazingly well and bounced massively. Neil my captain commended me on my variation saying that I'd caused him real problems and I'd probably got him out on at least 3 or 4 ocassions, so it was a really good session.
Both Neil and the coach had noticed the Gipper and were interested in it saying that my bowling style was pretty unique and that's in a positive way. With a nets every week now with Grays and Chadwell and fortnightly with the MPA1stXI boys there's real scope here to make a big improvement across all aspects of my cricket.
20th Jan 2009
I'm on a mission now!
I've designed a net system that I reckon we can knock up pretty cheap and it's robust enough to be put up and taken down with relative ease. I've just got to figure out the minimum width which seems to be 3.6mtrs and what the minimum length could be, but all the materials I've looked at means we could easily have it the length of a wicket e.g. 66 foot long!http://www.newitts.com/product/IT006554/Premier_Portable_Cricket_Cage.htmhttp://www.newitts.com/shop/1/12/Cricket_Cages.htm
Stuff I'm working on
In this section I'll put in a brief description of what I'm currently working on - primarily as a reminder to myself as I'm usually darting around with ideas all the time.Jan 19th - Currently off the back of seeing this video clip http://www.wattacoach.com/index.php/Cricket-News.htmlFollow Through 180 DegreesI'm intending on working on my follow through - in this clip the bloke describes the action of the leg coming round and over 180 degrees and he then goes on to show a training drill where he goes along a line going through the action again and again checking to see if the action is 180 degrees.
Looking at my own video clips on line at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EPiLGVw9zWg you can see that my follow through is in excess of 180 degrees and needs to be looked at.Energy in the delivery The other aspect this time inspired and informed by http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AaXEw9-XjP4&feature=channel_page is the energy in the delivery which is related to the above. So I'll be looking at the stand start drills trying to get that explosive delivery.
I've designed a net system that I reckon we can knock up pretty cheap and it's robust enough to be put up and taken down with relative ease. I've just got to figure out the minimum width which seems to be 3.6mtrs and what the minimum length could be, but all the materials I've looked at means we could easily have it the length of a wicket e.g. 66 foot long! http://www.newitts.com/product/IT006554/Premier_Portable_Cricket_Cage.htm http://www.newitts.com/shop/1/12/Cricket_Cages.htm
19th Jan 2009
I've recently come across another of the David Freedman/Beau Casson coaching video clips which I think are probably the best clips on the internet http://www.wattacoach.com/index.php/Cricket-News.html This one is of particular interest in that he talks about the rotation of the body and how this is reflected in your foot/leg coming round and over in the bowling stride. I've looked at my own video clips http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EPiLGVw9zWg and you can see that my foot comes round and goes further than 180 degrees as such suggested in the video clip. Initially I was wondering whether this was relevant as this video talks in terms of finger spin or off - spin, but this evening I've watched India v England on a DVD and watched Graham Swan's action and his is pretty much as described and demonstrated in this clip. So that'll be something I'll be looking at working on.
As a reminder I may even start a new section on the Blog so that I've got a reminder of the things I'm working on with my technique.
17th Jan 2009
As before virtually no action at all with the theory that it'll be good to rest my weary body. I had bad flu twice through Dec and both ocassions ended up in bed, so - no bowling. I've resumed again with the MPA 1st XI boys - Badger, Alex and Simon and we had a 2 hour session today at Laindon sports hall. Primarily I was bowling and man am I knackered! It'll be interesting to see how much I ache tomorrow. I had started to do some easy shoulder and arm exercises over the last few days but todays session feels as though I've done too much too soon almost as I feel like an old dog! It'll be funny to see what I'm like tomorrow morning.
Anyway - Wrist Spin Bowling. How did I get on? I was kind of hoping that because of the break I might have forgotten the automatic reflex to bowl wrong uns, but alas it's still there, so realising that was the case I mostly bowled flippers, but I also bowled some Leg Breaks, Top Spinners, Wrong uns and Gippers. All the progress I made prior to Christmas with the Leg Break looked initially as though it had disappeared with my initial efforts to bowl the Leg Break ending up being Googlies - nice ones at that and remember this without even trying! So getting a bit miffed with the fact that they were going the wrong way I had to persevere and tny bit by tiny there was an improvement to the point where I could get them to go straight erring towards the slips, but I think the important thing was that there was spin on the ball and it was causing problems for Alex at least. Everytime he tried to play a 'Leg Break' he did hit it badly and cover would have caught it or the wicket keeper as some of the went past him just nicking the bat. Afterwards Alex conceded that my bowling was the most difficult to play but then again by his own admittance he's not the best batsman.
The next session is in a couple of weeks if we get it together and what I'll have to do is work on bowling the Leg Break and focus on it totally a la Peter Philpott. The good thing is they all seem to be up for having a knock about outside in the spring so as soon as there's a chance we'll have to get over Glouscester Park either at 5 tree field or the artificial wicket.
Very little bowling done over the last few weeks and my arms and shoulders are withering away into the muscle-less manisfestation of an office worker. The idea is that muscle memory reflex that goes with bowling the Wrong Un might also fade so that when I return to bowling seriously again in the new year I might go forward with bowling the Leg Break more readily? The other thing is that there seems to be a continual soreness in the muscles - nothing like 2007 but there is some soreness and I know that when I pick up injuries nowadays what with being 48 they take ages to fade away and repair. So it looks like when I resume I'll have to ease into it?
In the meantime I might have discovered a way of practicing my batting that may help with improving it - hitting it up against a wall. I'd done it just the once for an hour and then practiced with some mates and did pretty well. It also looks like these mates (The old MPA 1st XI crew) and me might be hiring a sports hall on a fairly regular basis to practice so that's obviously going to be very beneficial and for the first few months I might just concentrate on batting in order to ease up on my bowling arm and if I do bowl I'll just take it very easily?
I think there's been an advancement or rather a reversal of physical ability..... A few days back I came across a fairly in depth explanation of how to bowl some of the Off Spinners balls and one of the explanations was for the Doosra talking about Mularitharan's version which is one of the variations that I've experimented with. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f1gEcZkdAY But in this blokes explanation - http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/t60610/ his description of how the spin is created sounds like a Flipper but with the hand turned upside down which is a bit like my own weird variation "The Gipper" which translates to a Googlie/Flipper which in essence it seems is almost a Doosra? Having read the description I tested this out indoors - bowling out of the back of the hand and Flicking the ball out of the fingers using the Flipper 'Click' action and it worked in the same dramatic manner that the Gipper does e.g massive turn towards Slips.
It's turned quite cold here in the UK so today I wasn't inclined to go out and have a practice as I would do normally. But I was so desperate to try this potentially new variation of the Doosra/Flipper that I eventually made my way across to the field and tried it and it worked very well. Look at this link to the main blog - http://mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com/2008/11/bad-week-this-week.html I've shot some images of how initially I thought it might work, but it's a lot less difficult than this suggests. Having had a quick go at it and seeing that it will turn very nicely it looks potentially very promising in that from the Bats point of view it must look like an Off-spinning ball because it's going to come out of the back of your hand and if you're a RH Wrist Spinner this would be read as the Wrong One and you'd expect to spin that way. But if you grip the ball Flipper style and click the fingers to impart the spin it's going to turn towards Slips.
Again indoors I played around with the idea thinking in terms of the Round the clock theory as advocated and used by Peter Philpott when explaining how to produce the variations with Wrist Spin. The exact same thing can be applied to clicking the ball in the Flipper style but having the hand at different wrist rotations on release.
1. The straight up - thumb leading forward approach gives you the classic flipper effect - a ball that doesn't dip much and then skids in low with back-spin.
2. The out of the back of the hand approach as just discussed - gives a Leg Break affect?
3. The Hand/Palm upright and facing the bat would potentially give a big off break
4. If you could do it and had this much mobility in your arm - your hand sideways to the bat with your little finger leading - would give you top spin.
I know that I've tried to use No.4 before and it's exceptionally awkward - but I don't think it's impossible. Most people can't even do the bog standard Flipper (No.1) so unless you can already click the ball out of your fingers and bowl it in a straight line - I'd stick to basic Leg Breaks for now, but keep this in mind maybe? What I may do once the weather turns for the better is photograph the different positions. I'll also video all these actions across a short distance showing the grips and principals and demonstrate that they all work.
But the development/progress that I mentioned at the start is this. This new variation (No.2 in the list) requires that you bowl out of the back of the hand, which back in Sept when I started this Blog/diary was my natural bowling action. The premise of much of this blog is that I needed to un-learn this out of the back of the hand action in order that I can bowl the stock Leg Break which is a more out of the front of the hand action. Today trying to bowl this new out of the back of the hand Flipper - I was having trouble - It didn't feel right - it didn't come natural and it felt like I was having to twist my arm and shoulder in a wholly unatural way. Could this be the break- through - am I now a Leg Break bowler at last? Watch this space.....
And here it is - images of the basket ball court that I'm currently using as my practice area. But going over there today in the light I realised it's better than I thought. This image here is shot from the stumps and as you can see I'm able to line up the line of the stumps with some of the court marks. In the distance you can possibly just pck out an orange cone which I use as my stump marker and bowing from this position I'm able to use the goal mouth to give me a bit more run up which is then exactly like my actual run up.
Also if you look in the foreground of the image you'll see to yellow marks in the position of the orange balls. These marks are ideally suited to judge my length, so if I'm bowling on the line in between the 2 marks I'm happy. Ideally the ball should be landing nearer the mark that's closest to the stumps.
Again another fairly good session with the Leg Breaks. Again it does seem to be all about the ring finger and splaying that finger as wide as possible away from the 2 up fingers. The current grip is like this -This grip is markedly different to my old grip and the grip I was working on a month ago - look at the main blog at http://mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com/2008/10/feels-like-autumn.html and you'll see how much I've changed my grip over the last 2 months and it's this grip that you see here that is giving me the Leg Break combined with what to me feels like I'm just throwing the ball straight! To me in comparison to what I've been bowling for the last year or so this is radically different and it feels dead odd and my belief is - if I keep bowling this ball all the time, I reckon it's got to get to a point where every time I pick up a ball and put it in my hand it's got to feel like it needs to sit in my hand like this. This has got to feel like my natural bowling grip and not the one that comes out as a Googlie. As soon as I relax this grip and try something different it all comes undone for the minute this is the answer and a ball that pitches between the yellow marks on the basket ball court in the picture here goes wide of off-stump by almost 2' on a very regular basis. On the odd ocassion when the ring finger really grips the ball it's more like 3' which is what I'm hoping to be able to do on a regular basis on a good line and length.
Also see http//www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com
Later..........After work at 20.45hrs I went over to the basket ball court and spent 40 mins there trying to put some of the stuff I've been pondering into practice. It worked! I went back to the technique where I just simply have my hand straight (Well that's how it feels) and as the arm goes over flick the wrist a bit but sort of make sure the "Down fingers" stay on the ball until the very last minute. This kind of translates into me turning flicking my wrist round and the hand coming down and dragging the fingers over the ball rotating it as it does into the spin. The degree to which this happens has a profound affect on the spin, when the drag and timing is right the spin and deviation off the bounce is far better, but you've only got to get it slightly wrong and you end up doing the classic dragging the ball down and it bounces about 11 yards in front of you. But if you get the flick and the release of the ball timed right it works a treat!
I think tonight I may have been getting it right because I used to work with a girl from New Zealand called Liz and she bowled Leg Breaks and was particularly good at it. I only faced her once and I think she bowled me in the nets, but she could turn the ball. But I remember asking her whether she bowled Flippers because I was suffering bruising in my fingers fron doing it so much and was asking whether she had the same problem, but she didn't bowl the Flipper. But she then went on to say that she got blisters on her spinning finger every year once she started to bowl again and it took time for her skin to harden up. Well tonight for the first time I've got soreness on that spinning finger suggesting that maybe for the first time I've been doing it correctly?
Been flicking the ball a lot and it does look as though I might be getting somewhere with the idea. I had one of the http://www.bigcricket.com/ lads contact me and leave a message today "Edlad" and he's put a really useful link up on the comments box which is very good and goes into some detail with regards Wrist Spin bowling. The most useful point for me at this juncture is the idea that you start off with just one step and bowl as part of the process of getting the action right. I'm thinking that if I can get the ball to turn massively to point from a standing position if I now work on the idea of doing the same thing with just one step hopefully it follows that the ball will still come out of my hand spinning in the right direction? The idea is that once you're comfortable with that you build up the steps one by one till you've got a full run in?
I reckon that this is brilliant if you're a kid and you can get a mate or someone (Your Dad) to throw the ball back to you and you can repeat it again and again and encourage you as you get it right, but on your own up against a wall it's a lot more difficult. Still I've got no other option so I shall just have to shut up and get on with it! Anyway here's the link....
Reading through the text in the link I came across the idea that instead of going all out at the 22 yards you should start when trying something new over a much shorter distance. With this in mind I had a look at Peter Philpotts book and see what his take was on this as I recalled that he did advocate something pretty similar? In fact reading the link above it did feel as though many of the points in the article were basically what Peter Philpott advocates.
Philpott says to ignore the 22 yards and just do a short run up and bowl the ball. His take is that you need to feel comfortable with the run up and that it should be smooth. The distance and accuracy at this stage not an issue - the fact that it spins is the most important. As far as I'm concerned I think the one step at a time is the key to success so that's the approach I'll be taking.
What you need to do is stand with your feet apart as though you're in your delivery stride - a stand start, you can see this on youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaXEw9-XjP4 or type in David Freeman legspin coaching video. 3 mins 45 seconds in and you'll see Beau Casson Aussie Spinner going through this in a drill. (I actually think this is one of the better Leg Spin videos on the internet). He then talks in terms of lining up your shoulder, leading arm, feet hips towards the stumps. He says to have the hands up almost level with the head and rotating through the action bringing the back leg through ripping the ball as you go with explosive energy. The video then goes on to a 2 step approach, but for the minute I reckon this is what I should be looking at doing in conjunction with my wrist flick and see if this gives me any benefit? I'm going to be optimistic and say I reckon it will, I reckon with the abstension of bowling my reflex response is gradually being replaced by the Leg Break wrist action that I'm doing indoors. Because more and more I'm able and inclined to flick the ball so that the back of the hand faces my face as it passes over in the delivery. So who knows?
Frustration! yesterday Ben my older son went for his second training session with Basildon & Pitsea cc and again it was nothing short of excellent - have a look at the main blog to see what happened. But while we were there I got involved in a game and had the chance to bowl and it seems that in the colts team (Under 11's) they haven't got a spin bowler unless my younger son Joe carries on going. I say that because this week he didn't want to go. I'm hoping this isn't an on-going situation as last week he forced 3 catching chances that were all Dollies that the fielders all dropped in just one over! But anyway as I walked out spinning the ball from hand to hand I could hear all round the sports hall in hushed and respecting tones "He's a spinner - he's going to bowl spin", as though Shane Warne had just stepped out onto the wicket. I bowled one over and took the best of the kids out with a nice little googly pitched outside off stump that the kid played a defensive block against protecting his stumps and needless to say it pitched wide of his bat and just turned in on the stumps. I had an involvement in another dismissal off one of the kids bowling, but the good thing was this kid was all of 8 or 9 and was bowling big loopy balls, but he was telling everyone where to go and he put me in at short extra cover and the first ball he bowled the kid played the ball straight out to me and I had to go for a spectacular moving forward dive that only just carried and caught it in one outstreched hand!
Anyway later that day my sons went swimming and I had the chance to bowl up against a wall on concrete with hockey balls.
Indoors whenever I can I've been spinning the ball all the time. Standing still and throwing the ball up with a big flick of the wrist I can make the ball turn Leg Break style massively. (See diagram) But all the evidence is that when I then try and convert this into a bowling action with a run up it all goes to pieces and this is what was happening in the summer when I played around with this. But recently I've been doing it and I'm just baffled that I seemingly can't incorporate the same wristy flick with turning my arm over?
This afternoon Ben and Joe went swimming so that allows me 1/2 an hour in a school playground up against a brick wall. So I took the stumps and 4 of my Hockey Balls with the intention of trying the flick with a run up and a bowl.
It worked! For the first time since last May or something when I had that flukey day with my mate Thomas I was able to bowl good Leg Breaks! What I found was that it felt kind of jerky and a bit like it was happening in two distinct parts, but I'm not bothered how it might feel - the thing was it was spinning away towards the slips. Additionally when the last two fingers came into play it spun towards 2nd slip. I was able to do this over the whole of the half hour so this sounds very very promising. Also it was pretty accurate too - straight at the stumps bouncing and away and missing off - stump! So a very good session.
But then today I've tried to repeat it on another surface and I went over to Glouscester Parks artifical all weather wicket to try it there. Unfortunately I was wearing Adidas Samba's http://www.newitts.com/product/IT019157/Adidas_Samba_Indoor_Football_Boots.htm and these didn't give me any grip on the wet surface so I had to abandon that idea and go and find some grass to bowl on or a concrete surface. I checked a couple of my favourite haunts and footballers were using them so I ended up heading back to the tarmac playground area back over the other side of Glouscester Park. But as I walked over there I noticed the patch of grass in the image here -
As you can see the area has a bank round what is a relatively flat piece of grass in the centre and it was here that I stopped and set up my stumps and had a bit of a session. But it was nothing but depressing. No matter what I did I could not get the ball to do what was happening yesterday. It was just like last May when I had a session with my mate Thomas where I was bowling Leg Breaks like Shane warne for an hour or so but then when it came to doing it again later I couldn't repeat it again! Very very frustrating. I came home had some dinner and gave it some thought and flicked a few balls. Again like in the diagram above if I do short floaty balls I can make it spin brilliantly but then as soon as I try to do it over a length that beginning to resemble a cricket pitch it starts to go the other way! On the grass as I was bowling I could see the ball flying through the air spinning like a googly - what's that all about?
Anyway after dinner I went out again bowling just outside my house up against a wall and had some success. On the http://www.bigcricket.com/ I've had a bloke suggest to me before now to try and bowl the ball with more of a pushing action rather than a flinging action as I do with my googly's and Doosra. This did seem to work and some of the balls did turn towards the slips like a leg break, so I'm slightly more optimistic again for the next session. Mulling it over as to why suddenly it came good yesterday I thought that maybe it's because I've not been bowling so intensely but have been indoors flicking the wrist and visualising what I'm supposed to be doing. So it might be worth taking a week off and not bowling at all and just flicking the ball and visualising what I should be doing? Maybe it's this that will bring reward and some success?
Nov 2nd We've had loads of rain of late meaning my exploits on grass look as though they're going to be massively curtailed. I've had a week off and I've hardly bowled at all. I've been doing exercises for arms, shoulders and a bit of core strength stuff, but nothing too strenuous. But today I went over to Glouscester Park and had an hour on the tarmac over there.
It wasn't that good. Not at all encouraging with regards getting the ball to spin away to the slips. There maybe something in the variation of the grip to look at but basically I'm bowling straight and faster and sometimes there's a slight deviation towards slip, but it's been nothing to get carried away with at all. I'm not at this point going to worry too much just bowling straight and in a different way I feel is okay and to be honest the ball I'm bowling is possibly a similar ball to Warnes Slider. I'm still avoiding bowling the Googly but trying some of the others out every now and then. I'm going to leave it at that for a while and see what goes on with the next practice.
October 26th - I've just done a big update with some news on wrist spin grips as I seem to be onto something with regards the placing of the fingers on the ball have a look at the main blog -
October 18th Leg Spin Session 12 & 13
A colder weekend but still fairly warm - 16 degrees and sunny. Underfoot it's still dry so I went over to the field across the way (Valence Way) and threw 120 balls over a 3/4 hour session. Still working on the Leg Break and I've not really got a great deal to say with regards the progress, I'm getting the ball to turn which is the most important thing, it's still not a big turn but it is a turn and that's enough. Accuracy with regards line was fine, length was a bit erratic. But I did notice that the ball was stopping a lot further up the pitch indicating that I'm probably bowling a bit faster which can only a be a good thing.Also bowled flippers and they went well too and they turn more than the Leg Breaks again quite accurate. I also tried to bowl the Knuckle Ball after reading about Mendis's Carrom Ball, I also tried my Gippers and they seemed okay, a bit wayward but I'm not fussed on developing them further until later in the year once I've got the Leg Breaks fully sussed. at the minute I'm managing to get 3 or 4 practices a week in which is quite good and generally I'm doing about 1/2 hour per practice session. If I can sustain this I'll look at trying to get the ball to turn more around the end of Nov perhaps? But I've got to say I can't see at this point what I'm going to do to get the ball to turn. I find it weird that it turns as it is as I don't put any effort into turning it at all yet it does turn. I've got a feeling that I'm still bowling the ball with my arm almost if not completely virtical and that there maybe the potential to turn it more if I bring the arm down a bit. I did try to increase the use of the 2 down fingers in the grip as it's these that I think that are affecting the spin and it did seem to make a difference.Later on waiting for my two boys to finish their swimming lessons I had about half an hour on concrete with tennis balls and it was a very similar story. I tried some really weird looking grips having seen Mendis's Carrum ball and I didn't really conclude anything other than the fact that the Baseball 'Knuckle Ball' seems to have some potential. I bowled a few Doosra's and they went pretty well too.
October 15th Leg Spin Session 11
Went over to the basketball court where it looks as though I'll spend the winter practicing as it's ideal - floodlit, smooth and flat. (See link).
I spent just over half an hour bowling Leg Breaks and it does feel like it is getting easier and feeling more natural. The ball is pretty much straight with a slight deviation and at the moment I'm still not looking to try and put spin on it. I'm still sticking to the plan whereby I'm just happy to be bowling straight and accurately and it's not turning into a Googly, which is what is happening. I intersperse the session with flippers as well and they're coming along nicely too especially as last season I was reluctant to bowl them most of the season. I also noticed tonight that it looks as though because the whole of my bowling action seems to have improved I'm not bowling a lot faster possibly? If I compar where I was at this point last season I reckon there's quite a bit improvement and I reckon if I was to compare now with last July, Aug and Sept there's a marked improvement too!A bloke on the internet last night said this ......yeah, the follow through to me was important, it was the follow through that helped me acquire the googly, basically i noticed if i follow through'd with the arm straight down like an inswing bowler it would help the ball come out the back of the hand because of the imaginary straight line formed by the release and follow through. Same with the legbreak as it's more at 10 o clock by follow throuing with the arm going across my i cant possibly flick my wrist the other way, it has to go the same direction as my wrist. Why don't you try it out Dave, basically the follow through of my legbreak is like a outswing delivery, and googly is like a inswing delivery, also opening up my action a bit has also helped me bowl the googly.So while I was bowling I took note of what was happening with my arm as it followed through and found that it did come across the body in a diagonal fashion while I'm trying to bowl Leg Breaks so that seems okay. I also looked at the position of my arm as I wholly agree with the idea that if you're bowling googly's they work better if the arm is dead straight. So I tried to bring the arm lower slightly with the leg break and may look at this in more detail later on as I look to get it to turn more. But in the short term all it did was make my line and length not so accurate - but it may have affected the spin for the better. So that's one for the future?All in all a good session.
On one of the forums I comment on one of the blokes had this to say about his bowling and follow through -
yeah, the follow through to me was important, it was the follow through that helped me acquire the googly, basically i noticed if i follow through'd with the arm straight down like an inswing bowler it would help the ball come out the back of the hand because of the imaginary straight line formed by the release and follow through. Same with the legbreak as it's more at 10 o clock by following through with the arm going across my body I cant possibly flick my wrist the other way, it has to go the same direction as my wrist. Why don't you try it out Dave, basically the follow through of my legbreak is like a outswing delivery, and googly is like a inswing delivery, also opening up my action a bit has also helped me bowl the googly.
So I've got to try and remember this when I practice next and give it a go. In the meantime the weather has screwed up a bit but it's still fairly warm (18 degrees) but with some very light rain today. I'm quite happy not to bowl at the moment as my arm is a bit sore from the intensive bowling I did on Sunday. Tomorrow though is my late day when I don't have to go into work till gone 12, so if it is sunny I may have a quick go and see how it pans out?
October 12th Session No.9 and No.10
Learning to bowl the Leg Break... Another good day! Have a look at my main blog at http://www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com/ there's a lot more detail there regarding today's cricket escapades but we had phenomenal weather today at 5pm it was 22 degrees centigrade and all day there wasn't a cloud in the sky once the mist cleared in the morning. It was so hot I had my shirt off all afternoon. But anyway the bowling......
Yes very good. My accuracy is very promising I'm able to bowl my desired line and length 65% of the time with the ball turning in the right direction. The grip and action still feels wrong but I'm just going to keep going until it feels right before I try and improve on the flick of the wrist stuff. At the moment as soon as I try and spin it more I just produce Googly's. I am noticing that if there are very subtle variations in the way that 'Down' fingers drag across the ball as it leaves the hand this produces a much better Leg Break, but at the same time the same kind of release also drags the ball down, so I'm not going to dwell too much on what's going on there. I just want the action that I've got that is producing the very small turn to get to the point where it just feels right and I don't have to think too much about it. Today I bowled well I reckon and I was a lot more relaxed and wasn't having to concentrate quite so much as I have had to recently so that in itself may be an indication of some improvement.
The diagram below indicates the kind of line and length I'm bowling at the minute.
October 10th Session No.8
The nice weather continues but the night draws in too fast now to really get out on the field for any length of time, so I was pleased to be asked to go and get something from Michelle's freinds house realising that round the corner from her house was one of the new style basket ball courts with the vandal proof fencing. I'd used this one once or twice last year and new that it had a nice smooth and flat tarmac surface but wasn't sure whether there was any floodlighting? When I got there I was pleased to find that it did have a floodlight and that it's more or less perfect for my practice sessions, so offers another venue for practice.
Straight away from the first ball I bowled Leg Breaks and they weren't bad either. I went through a phase during the half hour when the accuracy and length got really good but seemingly at the expense of the turn, but realising that I was losing the turn slightly I focused again on bowling striaght and the turn came back.
At one point the Old Bill turned up and had a chat and one of them used to play when he was a kid and I was explaining that I was trying to bowl Leg Breaks as my natrual action had become Googly's. I then showed him what a Googly was and for the first time in nearly 2 weeks I threw a ball that came out of the back of my hand and oh my God how natural and easy it felt as though that was what I was born to do! So what with almost 2 weeks of bowling Leg breaks it's obvious that my brain as yet has been re-wired so that the Googly feels like the wrong one. It's obvious that I need to keep bowling the leg break and that it is going to take months for the Leg Break to feel like the right one and for the Googly to feel like the wrong one!
October 8th Session No.7
Bouyed by the break-through I wanted to make sure that this was real, so this evening I found a floodlit bit of concrete and took 6 Hockey Balls and went to test out whether I could repeat the same thing again 8 hours later.
I spent the usual 30 minutes or so but this time I wasn't quite as focussed on the task as I was this morning. The consequence being that 70% of the balls were straight 25% of them were Leg Breaks and the others were the straight types that went slightly off-spin. Line and length was a bit wobbly as well. So in a way it kind of represented a possible step backwards, but I'm going to take some positives away from the session.
70% were straight (whereas 70% would be off-spin if not more).
25% were Leg Breaks some of them healthy looking bigguns
I was using Hockey Balls and there is no seam
I wasn't fully focussed on the task
Again I noticed the smoother and more relaxed I was the better the results. On the way home I checked out The Chav Park and threw a few more balls there and they looked okay too. I also noticed that I could use the lines on the ground (basket ball court) to bowl along and this really seemed to help with getting the line really straight, so I may go back there the next time I practice and the added bonus is that it's just round the corner. All in all a fairly positive session.
October 8th Session No.6
Googly Syndrome news AKA I can't bowl leg breaksI've just had 30 minutes on the field - lovely autumn weather here in the UK 18 degrees sunny and dewy. Initially it was the same old story - no matter what I did the balls were spinning off and I was confronted with the image of a pile of balls all on the wrong side of the stumps as I walked up the other end to start again. Did this a few times and realised I wasn't going to get anywhere. The most promising glimmer of hope was that when I tried to bowl Top Spinners they weren't going so far off and I kind of felt that if I just twisted my wrist so that the face of my hand was what the bat would see that might help. Again this just feels totally alien and wrong to me because of the googly sydrome but everything I read tells me this is what I need to do. A couple of these did then spin to the legside marginally but they were massively wide and I was descending into a state of despair again. I walked from one end to the other to gather the balls again for a final frustrating 8 more attempts and as I did I thought -
'What if I bowl the ball and just simply try not to spin it anyway - top, off or leg. Just a straight non spinning ball using the Wrist spinners grip'?
I summised that if I could do that and then get all the other components sorted first - line, length, flight etc I'd be not bowling googly's and therefore slowly conditioning my brain, wrist and arm to go back to year 0 when I started all this lark and that seems as though I may have a chance of learning this bloody Leg Break lark? It seemed like a plan?Poised at the other end now with 8 balls and the idea of bowling a straight non-spinning ball but using the leg break grip I went for it and guess what happened? It spun off to off. And then again and again and again and again. All 8 balls ended up on the off side of the stump as I looked down the wicket! You don't know how good that felt and some of them had hit the single stump and some of them had pitched legside and spun towards off - but they all ended up on the off side.So it looks as though in the short term I've found a solution - Don't try and spin it! I think I've said this before that if you hold the ball in the right manner and throw it most people have a tendency to produce Leg Breaks in a rough and ready way fairly easily hence little kids can do it quite often as with my son Joe. So this looks promising?
October 6th Session No.5
Half hour on the field with single stumps at each end 8 of my white balls. Back and forth usual story. Very very frustrating. If I really try at the moment I get the ball to go straight, sometimes the fingers manage to drag across the ball and some extra spin occurs to make the ball act like a small leg break. But generally at the moment it isn't happening. If I relax or lose concentration the ball turns into a googly. Perhaps I'm doing too much? What I may need to do is as said at the very beginning and what I tell other people to do is to follow Philpotts advice and start at the very beginning? I'm not going to be able to do anything in the next couple of days and my next early night coming home from work will be Wednesday, so maybe I'll try once more on flat ground using Hockey balls and see how that works and if I don't get a result I'll start back at the beginning because tonight was awful.
October 5th Session No.4
The weather eased up late afternoon and in evening at 8.30 pm I drove over to the Skatepark and took some stumps and 7 balls and had half an hour of bowling. After yesterdays session I wasn't expecting too much, but this session I was able to concentrate a lot more. Tonight I posted a thing about this on a cricket website thread and said this in response to someone esle acknowledging the Googly Syndrome as being real.
At last people acknowledging the Googly syndrome and coming up with real life references to it. I like the point you make about the fact that your body becomes accustomed to it. I keep trying to think of analogies to get the point across about how potentially damaging learning the googly is and how important it is to not to learn it to the detriment of your Leg Break. I've said this before plenty of times (and I'm getting the impression from Bills previous post mentioning all the international players that have gone through this, that this is a common phenomenon) already you have got to be really careful. Thinking about it all my own teams Wrist spin bowlers bowl Leg Breaks and none of them bowl both the Leg Break and the Googly - they all watch in interest when I bowl googly's because I can and I'm the only one. But bowling googly's requires such a massively different physical approach to something that looks very similar that if you do it too much it kind of re-wires your brain. Your brain has to tell your body to do something that just feels alien in comparison to your Leg Break. The Leg Break is difficult enough, but it kind of makes sense and your body doesn't feel like it's being forced to do something which is wholly wrong. The Googly on the other hand just feels totally wrong and the learning process requires such a vast amount of what seems like contradictory information relating to the physical and conceptual theory behind it, that if practiced with commitment results in your body and brain accepting what felt wrong suddenly coming together as being right. The result then being that when you return to bowling the Leg Break you're then asking your body to do something that now seems to feel as the googly did - completely wrong. I don't know why - maybe it's got something to do with different parts of your brain controlling either action?
Again this evening I felt exactly as I've described above - the wrist position for the Leg Break just feels wrong and I'm really struggling to convince my brain that this is how I've got to bowl. The stuff above was in response to a thread on website where a bloke was saying that there are several international bowlers including Terry Jenner that were big leg break bowlers who then concentrated it seems on the googly and they all lost the ability to bowl their leg break in the same way which is not very good news.
But anyway to my practice session. I bowled several balls and didn't really get anywhere. They were simply straight. The odd one was still very very slightly turning like a googly. In the end I resorted to bowling Top Spinners and this seemed to help as they were actually straight! I say this because my top spinners have a tendency to turn like a googly and just to have them go straight is a big improvement. With that happening I then tried to turn the wrist a bit and found that helped and I then started to get some small leg breaks. A few of these also benefitted from the rip action imparted by the fingers and these turned better but were getting dragged down a bit with poor accuracy. The accuracy with the Top - spinners was very good whcih I was happy about. Coming away from it and thnking about it afterwards I reckon I could benefit from trying to be more round armed with the leg breaks especially if I just try a round arm approach to the top spinner - I reckon that may help?
- Try Top Spinners more round armed move away from being totally vertical
- Don't try and force the big leg break - keep it small but rip it well
- leading arm - get that working
- The exaggerated step over in the follow through
I reckon I was still not quite in the zone on the concentration front and that when I do fully concentrate and incorporate all the above elements and get an hour bowling it may come together and produce better results?
October 4th Session No.3
An impromptu practice session driven by watching the weather at 5.30pm and seeing that the prediction for tomorrow is solid rain all day meaning that I wouldn't get to bowl tomorrow. So grabbing two stumps I went over to the field and threw about 50-60 ball end to end for about 20-30 minutes. Again this was another session that was approached in the wrong kind of way, I had my mind on other things so couldn't focus on the task at hand. Loads of the balls spun to the right, the length was too long and it was all over the place. I did find that before bowling the ball it was helpful to flick the ball from hand to hand sort rehearsing the required hand position and flick - if I did this a few times it turned correctly or did the other thing that I'd noticed before which was a really nice unexpected bounce upwards - possibly because of the top-spin affect? So again the conclusion was you must do this with total concentration and commitment. The other thing I'm beginning to realise is that I have got to be in this for the long haul.
There's more stuff relating to places to practice over at the main blog
October 1st Session No.2
Prior to starting this session something occured on the field with the other users of the field that stopped me from being able to focus on the task at hand. So not being able to focus 100% as advised by Peter Philpott the session was nowhere near as productive as the one on Saturday. I suppose I should be happy because the majority of the balls were either straight or small Leg Breaks with the rare one that I did manage to rip properly and they obviously turned wider. What I did notice was that in the 90 or so balls that I did throw several of them did the thing that I hear so many people talking about - I dragged it down trying really hard to impart the spin. After doing this a few times I stood back and took stock of what I was doing and it was the fact that I wasn't concentrating. I wasn't leading with the high arm, I wasn't following through with step over action and none of it was relaxed, as soon as I adopted this approach all aspects came together - line, length and spin, but it does require the total concentration. So all in all despite being nowhere near as good as the Saturday experience - I was bowling Leg Breaks - 80% of them turned albeit in a very small way, but this is only Oct 1st and I've got all of Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and March to get it right, so I just need to be patient.
Sept 28th 2008
Big Step forward
The idea has been that I wouldn't be addressing my leg break issues until after Sept 30th and then from that day on until the spring not another cricket ball would leave my hand spinning out of the back of it (The Googly). Since Sept 6th I've been giving Peter Philpotts round the clock theory some serious thought. I'm a great believer in pre-visualising actions in sport - I used to use it a lot with my surfing, you imagine before you do it how it feels and what you should do and you visualise yourself going through the action you're trying to learn. So in bed at night (Yeah I am that obsessed) I've been imagining my hand/wrist position in accordance with Philpotts clock theory and bowling like that. Because I've been bowling Googly's now for more than a year this wrist position and flick just feels completely alien and as though it will not work, but I've been doing it at home focussing on getting the top spinner straight initially (as my top spinner tends to produce a small googly). So as Philpott suggest I've been flicking and flicking anything and everything just trying to produce the flick without it coming out of the back of my hand.
Every now and then since the 6th I've bowled a ball or two trying to get my hand round into the correct position, it's kind of happened but I've had to focus on what's happening with my hand and wrist so much that all the other aspects have gone haywire, so I've not persisted. But then this weekend the only game on offer was a Sunday game and I was expecting to get a game on Saturday. So Saturday afternoon I found myself on our Valence way practice wicket with 18 balls and some spare time. The weather was amazing and I was able at last to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.
The commitment was made No more googly's and then I gave it a go - turning the hand slightly more than I would for a top - spinner I managed to get the top-spinners straight, so then all I had to do was turn the wrist a bit more into what for me is a ridiculously weak feeling position that imparts hardly any flick and try that. I gave it a go - the line and length was rubbish, but the ball went straight. So that seemed promising. A few more of those and again a very similar feeling but the ball was either straight or erring towards off....... Was it happening? It seemed to be? I've recently improved on my run in and now bowl using that exaggerated step over action which is part of spinners follow through and I thought to myself let's just try and do that and have the leading arm reaching up high at the start and get a good overall movement going combined with this weak flick that I am getting? I tried it and it worked! I tried it again and again it worked and this time the line and length was better!
15 minutes later and I was pitching the ball at a good length just outside of the off - stump and it was spinning away slightly to off! Joe my son was there with me and they'd got side-tracked by football while I was doing this and then him and his mate came back for more cricket. So I bowled using a plastic Kookaburra ball and bowled my new small leg break and he was totall flummoxed by it. For the last year he's been playing against balls that are either straight or more than often turn into his body, so he saw the flight read the length, took his usual step back ready to square cut it out to off somewhere out of either the middle of the bat if it turned or off the end if it was straight. Instead it went the other way and he missed it and again and again!
"Dad! Bowl properly - you're bowling wides"! I showed him that they were pitching in front of him and turning away and that I was in fact bowling Leg Breaks! "Oh I'm not playing then - I can't hit them"! So that was him gone and I could return to a proper practice.
By the time I'd finished I was bowling Leg break after Leg Break, every single ball was spinning towards off. My line and length within 25 minutes was under control and I was getting a fair bit of speed. The other interesting aspect was that because it's a smallish leg break and not unsimilar to a top spinner there was loads of bounce off the pitch which is good to see as I can also bowl the flipper which does the opposite. Some of the balls every now and then I did manage to get the flick right and felt my fingers drag across the ball in the flick - and they spun so much more. So it's obvious that with some more work it looks as though I'm going to get this sussed pretty quickly. Watch this space!
Sept 6th 2008
Got a match tomorrow, don't know who the opposition is, but at the moment it's raining and the forecast was for Sunday to improve slightly and for the afternoon to be cloudy but sunny, but that was about 48 hrs ago when I last had a look. For the last 3 days it has been raining so the wicket is going to be pretty wet which usually favours my bowling. I've hardly practiced at all recently and whether that'll turn out to be good or bad I'm not sure, but throwing balls around the house and mucking about with my kids over on the Valence Way wicket I've been bowling mostly straight balls that were intended to be Leg Breaks.
What I may do is have a practice tomorrow before the match as I want to see if the follow through with leg lifting over is still there as a part of the bowling action. I've also got a video camera from work so I could take that over and film myself bowling and see how it all looks? But then again the footballers may be on the field.
Sept 1st 2008 Another day without bowling a single Wrong Un - helped by the fact I haven't bowled full stop! I've recently scored a new lawn mower and tonight I went over to the field where I practice and maintain a wicket and gave it a mowing with this new mower and it looks very impressive. This new mower has a roller at the back of it and I'm hoping the cut is so short that I'm going to be able to see the defects in the wicket and perhaps affect some repairs and maybe get the grass on the wicket smoother and shorter so that once I start to practice in earnest the bounce/spin off the wicket is true. I wont know until tomorrow when I get to look at it in the light as it was mowed under virtual darkness.
One month left till ground zero (The day I stop bowling off-spin). No cricket match today as I was in Derby. But While I've been there I've been throwing tennis balls and hockey balls and purposely trying to not bowl off spin balls (Wrong uns). I've been keeping Philpotts Around the loop theory in mind and trying to turn my wrist and flick the ball in the manner to impart leg spin rather than off spin and it does seem to be working, albeit producing straight balls and very small deviation from leg to off, but it is there and it does feel odd as I am trying to program my brain in doing something that feels wholly unnatural. I was further bouyed by watching the England v Sth Africa match and a comment made by Simon Hughes with regards Samit Patel's bowling http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/player/18632.html Simon Hughes made the comment that he felt that Patel's strength lay in the fact that his line was consistent and all the balls were delivered on target to hit the stumps and in doing so forced the batsmen into playing defensively, they eventually snapped in the psycological war because of the need to produce runs and eventually were forced into trying to hit the ball and it's then that he had two that were caught on the boundary and in the field some way out off of balls that were miss-hit. So if my endeavours to bowl Leg breaks are slow in producing results with regards getting the ball to turn lots, I'll be happy to get a good line and length.
I thought again about Andy's potential and if he can repeat what he did last night over 22 yards there may be a chance that we'll include him in the MPA first eleven team? That aside I was thinking about how easily he just went from seam up bowling to putting spin on it and remembered back to how I was able to bowl leg breaks without any real knowledge, I just realised that in order that to make the ball turn from Leg to Off I needed to impart spin on it. The thing is I wouldn't have known about the 2 fingers up 2 fingers down grip back then and would have gripped the ball in a far more natural way and imparted the spin in that manner. Which then lead me on to realise that with my Wrong Uns the grip that gets the big turn is far less conventional grip that is a lot more relaxed. So if I approach my re-learning of the Leg Break with a year zero approach e.g almost disregard everything I've seen or read about it and just try and bowl the ball in a less conventional manner, maybe that will work for me? The other thought I had was to maybe not bowl the ball at all for the first few weeks and then start learning? This morning I've been practicing the flick particularly the inward flick, which is the one that seems to confuse natural leg spinners. One of the great exponents of wrist spin bowling is Peter Philpott and he's the author of the book "The art of wrist spin bowling" from which much of what I'm writing originally comes from he talks about the position of your hand when you bowling in terms of going round the loop. With the basic bowling action you can acheive 4 different variations just by turning the wrist at different angles. What I'll try and do is produce images of the hand positions, but to be honest I've written about this at length on forums and some people have real issues with the hand position that produces the Big Leg break, they do not get it as it is so much at odds with how they already bowl their Leg Breaks. If you're one of those people simply go back to the internet videos and listen to what both Warne and Jenner say. Those video's are ultra basic instructions just to give people an idea or clarify that what they are trying to do is basically correct, but both Warne and Jenner come to the point that if what you are doing works stick with it. But if you're looking to bowl the Big leg break I believe that Philpotts going round the loop and the final piece of the jigsaw where he then says "Spin the ball backwards" is the key to the Big leg break. The thing is - I've already glimpsed the future. Several weeks back I spent an afternoon with another bloke trying to re-learn the leg break and for half an hour I had it, but then undid it all by returning to bowling Wrong Uns. But for half an hour I was making the ball turn 45 degrees into off from leg. The key to my success in that instance was that I'd followed Philpotts stage by stage instructions arriving at the "Spin the ball backwards" conclusion but I had a partner to whom I was able to bowl the ball back and forth to. It strikes me that if you were fortunate to have someone to do this with who was also genuinely interested bowling or better still Wrist spin bowling the learning process would be dramatically sped up. So today remembering the going round the loop I gave it a go and had a little bit of success. It does feel like I have programmed my brain to tell my hand it has to do the wrong un position if I am going to bowl, turning your wrist then 270 degrees to counteract the wrong un just feels like the most un-natural thing in the world. It is obvious that on that day when I commit myself to not bowling the wrong un anymore, that commitment is going to have to be 100%.
Gutted! In the intro I mentioned that in my opinion if you had the ability to turn your arm over and bring the other one down in the fulcrum action it wasn't that impossible to then develop the neccessary flick to produce a basic Leg Break (If you had any essence of desire to do so). I've seen this in our own younger seam bowlers at G&CCC every now and then as if to wind you up they'll throw a ball at you and put spin on it and they produce Leg Break balls that I would die to be able to do at this stage! Tonight this theory was further reinforced by the fact that one of the Great Berry kids - Andy who is a promising looking seam bowler said to me "What is that you do to get it to spin"? And then he twisted his wrist round in the Googlie position. "Christ no don't do that - that's fatal - look watch" and I showed him the theory behind producing the Leg Break and said "Never twist your hand round that far until you can do this one (The Leg Break) absoultely perfect". He seemed to take it on board and went up the other end and bowled his first attempt at a Leg Break and sure enough it spun a country mile - what's more it came down the wicket straight and middle and then spun away from a good length and could well produced a little edge to catch in the slips or even the wicket keeper with a dive. It as perfect and then he did it again and again and again and again. I then said "bowl it down the leg side and it should then turn in and hit the stumps"? Sure enough first ball his middle and leg! I'm absolutely gutted, what can I do to re-wire my brain so that it totally forgets the twisted wrist of the Googlie? I said to him that his bowling was so good that he should come and play for G&CCC, he is by far the most enthusiastic of all the kids that go over to Valence Way and he's athletic as well. His mate said - yeah you love it this cricket Andy, you should do it. Andy then said yeah alright then. So what now? What I'll do in the first instance is extent the length of the wicket so that he bowls the full 22yards and see how he gets on with that and then take it from there.
15th Aug Had a practice tonight bowling top-spinners, wrong un’s, flippers and gippers all of them going quite well, I was also trying to speed them up a bit. I seem to have this problem where if I increase the speed the trajectory seems to be flatter and straighter, whereas if I watch Neil bowling his trajectory seems to be loopy like a slower ball, but with that sharp dip at the end and at a much faster rate than my balls. It’s something I need to see him doing as I’m not 100% sure about this. The same with the wizard – he bowls a lot faster than me – so what’s his flight trajectory like – does he get the dip? My perception is that if I bowl faster the flight of the ball is going to be below the eye-line of the batsman and therefore a lot easier to hit? All these things feel like very small tweaks in comparison to what’s going to happen on Sept 30th which is the date now fixed for no more wrong uns and I start to learn how to bowl Leg Breaks. The Plan The word is that if you drop your wrong un and re-learn the Legbreak you can get it back. This is what I plan to do. I will bowl my last ever Wrong Un of this season in my last match of the season which I think is the 3rd Sunday in Sept. From then on right through the rest of September till the first match in April I will bowl only Legbreak balls. I'm going to take it back to the absolute basics and will be posting images on here of what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Some of it I can already do, but I'll just re-do it all for the sake of starting back at the beginning. Holding the ball; The 2 fingers up and 2 fingers down technique. Your index finger and middle fingers along the seam as in the diagram. The thumb resting on the ball gently or not at all. The ring finger and little finger are tucked away folded gently downwards behind the ball as such, in my case the ring finger is touching the ball. The flick; The flick is essential and it's the key to getting the ball spinning hard. What you need to do is learn to throw the ball from your right hand across to your left hand. This is done whilst trying to get the ball to spin anti-clockwise as you flick it from your right hand to your left hand. The spin is put on the ball through a combination of the drag of your ring and little finger across the top of the ball as it's released from your hand along with a big flick of your wrist. Once you've mastered this the force of the flick should create a clicking noise as the ball comes out of your hand. This flick is essential and what you need to be doing is flicking it as hard as you can so that it spins out of your hand as fast as you get it to go.Initially you'll find that you'll be throwing the ball all over the place and putting different degrees of spin on the ball, where you want to get is to the point where you can flick it from hand to hand without looking at it whilst obviously putting a lot of spin on it. This looks good in the field - Warne does and it's fairly rare that club bowlers do it because they lack the confidence and practice required to flick it so hard whilst maintaining control of the ball at the same time. Practice; Do this a lot. use anything that comes to hand - apples, oranges, golf balls, tennis balls, hockey balls, cubes absolutely anything just as long as you're training your wrist and your brain to really give that object a massive flick. It's helpful to note that if you're under 18 walking around doing this it is far more socially acceptable, whereas obsessives like myself tend to be looked at as people that are being cared for within the community and that temporarily my helper as gone to the toilet or something! But if you want to be good at this, it is essential that you practice the big flick anytime and all of the time. So in week 1 this will be the kind of thing I'll be doing. Incidentally it's what I do all the time and it drives my wife round the bend! I use hockey balls as the main object mainly because their weight and size is approximately the same as a cricket ball and there is no seam to help - the theory being that if I can spin a ball with no seam, what will I be like with a cricket ball? Exercise; Fitness is an issue as well and looking after your bowling arm (Rotator Cuff). There are a number of websites ****** and ****** where information can be found regarding what you should do to look after your arm. I do a number of things - Rotational Press ups, Pull ups on a door bar, Handstands, The plank and stretching "Terrabands" behind my head in order to keep my rotator cuff in order and avoid injury. This isn't exhaustive, but it does me for the moment.