Last night I finished one of the pages on the website here relating to increasing accuracy when bowling. I finished with the recommendation that when practicing you do so in the way that Peter Philpott recommends, which is basically using SMART targets.
With this in mind I went out with the specific intention of exploring just a small component of my bowling action Phase 5 (BR - ball release) through to Phase 6 (FT - Follow through).
Although I don't advocate trying to fully replicate other people's bowling actions, one of the things that has filtered through to me via discussions with a variety of coaches and bio-mechanists is the drive through with the knee in the phase 5 through to 6.
One of the key pieces of advice that has been passed onto me when bowling is to direct all of the energy forwards towards the batsman. What this means in practice is, avoid approaching the crease from an angle and avoid fading out of your bowling action during your follow-through (Phase 6) at angle, instead as much as possible continue straight down the wicket towards the batsman do not veer off to the side.
One of my favourite Wrist-Spinners who it maybe argued has one of the better bowling actions is Stuart MacGill. MacGill exemplifies this aspect of the bowling action and one of the key aspects of his action for me that helps to facilitate this 'Direct the energy towards the batsman' aspects is the drive of his knee. See the image below...
From Phase 5 through to Phase 6 just like a fast bowler, MacGills Knee, unlike many bowlers - mine included, drives forwards, directing all of the energy towards the target (batsman). Theoretically this is better option as it potentially increases accuracy and is therefore worth exploring if you're looking to improve your own accuracy. I'm very aware that this contradicts the case of one of the most accurate wrist spinners e.g. Shane Warne, whose bowling action includes the swinging wide of his foot through phase 5 and 6 of the bowling action... The 'Dirty Dog' as Liz ward calls it, as it looks like you're cocking your leg like a dog.
So, today, looking to see how significant this might be I went out today with my Peter Philpott full concentration mode with a very specific target in mind. If I drove the knee forwards, would it increase my accuracy? I'd previously noted that wide balls down the legside were definitely accompanied by the 'Dirty dog' action as I pivoted. So in this session of 120 deliveries I looked to completely eliminate this in my bowling action and instead adopt the MacGill straight through at the target knee drive.
It worked. Through the 1st 60 balls I did it in a really natural manner, really relaxed, not thinking of anything else. What I did notice was that the ball didn't seem to be turning so much and there may have been a loss of spin for some reason? I then added an emphasis on getting up on the toes in the pivot and this then rectified the lack of turn off the wicket.
Hopefully I'll be able to replicate this in the future, but having bowled with the dirty dog swing out of the foot - a legacy of trying to bowl like Warne in the past, it's going to take time and focus to make this a part of what I do naturally.
Remember, this is just a suggestion, just something to look at, consider and explore. Try it yourself if you're not bowling accurately.
I'm well chuffed with this, I had a look at this back in late September. I scrolled back through page 100 + on Google looking to see if my new website was making any impact on the searches for the theme 'Wrist Spin Bowling' and there was nothing. But today I only had to go back to page 7 in the searches to find one associated with this website, so that's a massively encouraging sign and a big thanks to all my readers.
It looks as though all the effort put into putting that specific page together has paid off, so I'll keep going. It's good to see that my old blogs were still up there in the first two pages, so if you're still looking at them another big thanks and while you're over there on those old blogs click the adds for me as they'll page for the up-keep of this website!
I managed to get out today just before lunch and have a bowl. The air was dead still so no wind to assist with getting any drift. I bowled 3 buckets of 30 balls. The initial bucket (Red dots) using an upright arm which is usually the more accurate. I went straight into it rather than warming up, so emulating a situation where you’d be thrown the ball and perhaps only have time to bowl the ball at the mid-off players before bowling for real. The target area was set fuller today - about 9' from the stumps (6' approx.) from the batsman and my younger son Joe did the observation of where the ball landed and marked it on the sheet below. The positioning of the target are wasn't intentional and is probably a bit too full.
The top illustration shows the 1st 30 balls and in comparison with the following two buckets of 30 is very full and lacks the accuracy that I’m after and this was using a delivery method I usually consider to be the more accurate of the two arm positions I’m currently working with. This set of 30 was with a more vertical arm.
The Yellow ball illustration was the 2nd batch of 30 and the blue ball illustration was the last 30 and it's obvious that as I get into a rhythm things improve. But, as Wrist spinners looking to be in the game we/I need to produce accuracy from the outset..
I reckon this definitely too full and needs to be pulled back another 3’ or a metre.
This is definitely a good drill to do and easily recorded if you've got a mate that can watch where the ball lands and mark it on a piece of paper to show how accurate you are when bowling, it also puts a little bit of pressure on you and you have to bowl with purpose. So in terms of its usefulness it's SMART...
Specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely and uses resources easily put together other than the 30 balls.
Balmy end of October here in the UK. Today and yesterday the temperature was in the region of 15-17 degrees centigrade. It hasn't rained much of late, so the ground is still dry and I'm still able to practice. Hopefully this'll continue over the weekend and then I can't imagine it'll continue, so this will probably be the last two days.
I had two practice sessions today, 90 + balls each session, working with the accuracy drills trying to land it on the target zone. Despite the fact that I'm constantly doing this I still find that I have to remind myself to do things like loosen my grip and push my knee through in the delivery during the pivot, probably due to years of doing it in the wrong way and I'm still in the process of un-learning these things which is kind of frustrating.
The other thing I did today which I've done a few times of late is return to the run up off of 5 steps which I was working on last year till the start of the season when I twisted my knee. I still haven't totally discarded the idea of running up and the reason I've come back to it a little is the fact that I tried it with a slightly more round arm approach and was surprised to find that it was quite accurate and an awful lot faster than bowling off of 2 steps. Hopefully the weather will hold and I'll get at least two more sessions in over the weekend and then I'll have to come up with a plan for over the winter to keep things ticking over, I feel like I've made some decent advances in the last couple of months and it would be good to carry this forward to next season.
I wrote a post up yesterday with regards to the psychology of the game advocating the use of social media/blogging as a method of getting under the skin of batsman. See 'Local Bunnies', but thinking about it a bit more I'm not sure whether its a good idea as it might invite a confrontational reaction? I did suggest alongside keeping a data base and a record of all your successes and battles and posting all the info on-line e.g. in a blog with the names of the batsman, you might also put their photo's up on-line. I think that part of it I might retract on. I reckon I'll look at it again and emphasis that you make it about you and not so much about the batsman and to dilute that aspect slightly, so I don't think the use of a photo is such a good idea.
Had a drive around the local area today trying to get shots of some of the local pavilions before they're pulled down or have their usage changed. Alongside the main pavilion project I've kind of got another project on the go involving places where there used to be pavilions or/and disused pavilions. In two hours and a round trip of about 40-45 miles I shot about 5 pavilions focusing on the traditional style. Although I did re-shoot the Lake Meadows pavilion in Billericay which is the bog standard rectangular council shed style.
I shot two in Billericay, Essex. The first is the Billericay CC pavilion which is rather grand and their ground is used by Essex County Cricket club for different purposes. This pavilion has within its wall two full size indoor nets on the ground floor.
The other pavilion in the Billericay area was the one mentioned above - Lake Meadows where I played a number of times when I played at Chadwell & Pitsea CC. This is a council facility and is in a very nice section of the Lake Meadows park - ringed almost 360 degree with mature trees. The wicket turns as well, I had a fantastic game there years ago under the captaincy of my mentor Neil Samwell where we won by 1 run.
The project as it stands at the moment can be found here http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html or via the tab at the top of the page.
Half term so I'm off and able to go and shoot some images of pavilions. Hopefully if I can get off the computer, get some practice in and do some decorating I'll be able to slope off and shoot a few. Last week I got some shots of defunct pavilions in Tilbury, Essex. At the moment I'm doing some research into Tilbury's cricket history, so it was good to get out and shoot two that are still only just there before they're pulled down or changed beyond recognition. The one here was used by Tilbury Cricket Club up till the late 1980's early 1990's. I lived in Tilbury as a kid and vaguely remember it being built late 1960's?
When Tilbury CC disappeared, the players went on to join Grays and Chadwell cc as far as I'm aware. The pavilion which was a dual use facility e.g. Football and cricket as far as I'm aware continued to be used for football, but in recent years the building was burnt down by arsonists and looks like this at the moment.
This is part of my Pavilion Typology project (See tabs) or link via this http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html
Progress on my research into Tilbury's cricket history can be found here - http://mpafirsteleven.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/cricket-history-tilbury-essex.html