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.