Saturday, 28 November 2015

Leg Spin basics - Consistent and repeatable action - the run-up

Leg Spin basics - Consistent and repeatable action - the run-up

I've now got a website www.wristspinbowling.com check it out and share it.

No-one ever showed me how to run-up to the crease and bowl, I just worked out a way of doing it as a kid, so when I returned to cricket much later in life, I just reverted to the way I did it at school. For the last 8 years or so I’ve worked on it a little with some guidance from people on the internet and as a result modified it a bit, but I’ve always been aware that it’s not that good and it's massively inconsistent changing in games and during the season and I’ve never been able to figure out how to go about improving it.

This year at the start of the season I bowled fairly successfully off of a slightly longer run-up than usual. This happened after some feedback from a good wicket keeper I played with for a month or so, and as a result I took a decent amount of wickets. I then injured myself and went back to shorter run-ups for the rest of the season while my Achilles tendon healed.
Towards the end of the season I watched a SKY TV master-class featuring Glenn McGrath which has since been removed. In this master-class, he explained how important the run-up is, but went further in that he explained how he established his run-up and this resonated with me, because I’ve never heard anyone explain how you might go about establishing a run-up. This is basically what he said as far as I can recall and it’s pretty straight forward...


  1. Get a mate to watch what you’re doing and mark out the specific finishing points.
  2. Find a football pitch or somewhere with straight line on to run along.
  3. With a ball in your hand run along the line gathering speed or establishing a rhythm, at this point don’t worry about starting and ending points, just run along the line gathering pace until it feels right to go into the delivery stride. Do this about 10 times or longer if required until it feels right.
  4. Now mark a starting point and repeat that run-up watched by your mate/coach. Each time you stop, get him/her to mark your BFC (Back foot contact) point – where you land coming out of the bound. Repeat this, 10 times to establish your most consistent landing point.
  5. Measure that length out – that is your run-up, work with it and tweak it so that you don’t over-step the crease.

Keep an eye out for the video as it may reappear someday.

In the meantime despite the fact that this is a seam bowlers run-up - the basic premise relating to setting off on the correct and consistent foot and maintaining a smooth approach is all relevant and worth having a look at, as to is Stuart MacGills video.

Run-up basics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2oQROhiQFk
Stuart MacGill - basics of Leg Spin including the run-up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRalbzmKIEM

This Youtube channel also has some good basic stuff about aspects of bowling albeit aimed at fast bowlers, but the principles are pretty much the same and are worth looking at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YUDKUooHeg - The gather
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrUx5TU0Jgo - The follow through
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKjWsWg2p2s - Run-up stride length

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Leg Spin Bowling - The Basics - what is a Leg Break.



This Blog takes a lot of work to produce and it's free to access, please help to keep it alive by clicking on my adverts. Liking it on Facebook, Google +, sharing it on Twitter and other social media. Also check out my videos here and remember there's more content at www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com and my new website http://www.wristspinbowling.com/



The Leg-Break, known to most as Leg-Spin. This is the Wrist Spinners main ball, this is the ball most of us bowl 95% of the time and therefore is known as our "Stock Ball". Having said that there are sub variations, but we'll come to that later in the post. If you're totally new to Wrist Spinning and you want to get some sense of what it's all about you should check out some of the videos linked at the end of this post.

1. Basics; As mentioned in the paragraph above your 'Leg Break' is known as your 'Stock Ball'. This basically means this is the delivery you use most of the time and therefore have to be totally in control of, as Terry Jenner would say... "This is your go to ball, the one that will get you overs and the one that will get you wickets or dry up the runs".

This is the ball that you practice the most, this is the ball that you have to be able to spin hard and land in a relatively small area of your choice, again quoting Jenner... "Your bread and butter ball".

On the point of being the ball you practice the most, you have to realise that this is the most difficult of all cricket disciplines, this is recognised by everyone that plays cricket even though they have never tried it, they simply know though having seen and read about Wrist-Spinners at all levels... this is not easy. Most reckon that it'll take you four years of constant practice and if you're looking to do it at a high level you might be looking at 10 years! Needless to say there are those that have natural ability and the basics may come quickly.

Described as Slow Bowling, the approach to the crease is generally off of a short run up and the speed at which you would bowl if playing professionally is around the 45-55mph speed. Primarily you would bowl over the stumps landing the ball 4-5 metres in front of the stumps attacking the stumps (The impression from the batsman's perspective is that the ball will go on to hit the stumps line B) if left forcing the batsman to play the ball. The ball on pitching 'Breaks' (C) towards the off-side of the pitch looking strike the edge of the batsman's bat producing a catching chance for the keeper or slips fielder. (D - red dotted line is the line that the ball would be perceived to travel along if left and not deviated off of the pitch). The ball in this illustration is angled at 45 degrees - this has elements of both side and top-spin.



Grip  Most people use pretty much the same orthodox grip, often described as the two up two down grip the ball sits in the palm of the hand as below (Wrist-spinners grip #1). The thumb for the most part plays very little part, only perhaps supporting the ball in some vague way. The two 'Up' fingers are secondary to the two 'Down' fingers, especially the 3rd finger (Your ring finger). The 3rd finger which is the one which is resting on the seam of the ball in this image is where all the action is happening, this is the finger that puts the revs on the ball, accompanied by the flick of the wrist. Watch the first few seconds of the video here and see the role the 3rd finger plays.

This next image here (below)  illustrates the grip further by viewing it from above. Again see the 3rd finger position - snug against the seam of the ball.

The image above (Basic Wrist-spin grip) shows the grip from another angle. Dependent on how big or small your hand is it should look similar to this. With regards to the grip Peter Philpott writes...

You may like to experiment with the way you hold the ball - the grip. I have seen so many leg-spinners grip the ball differently, yet still bowl the it effectively, the most important factor is that the grip is comfortable and suits you.
       Even so, it is always sensible to understand the orthodox method. For 'the orthodox' simply means the way that suits most people. Whether you eventually choose to use the orthodox method or not, you should understand it, and experiment with it.

Peter Philpott, page 21, The Art of Wrist-Spin Bowling.

Grip it hard or soft? Again different people say different things, Warne for one says to grip it softly and Richie Benuad differs in that he suggests that you grip the ball quite firmly. Have a look at the clip here at 2:40 where he describes his grip and the firmness of the grip.

Benaud's grip is slightly different to that of Warne's, but having tried it, I'd say that it's worth experimenting with as your fingers might wrap around the ball in a different way and it may just feel like a far better method for you? Inevitably it'll probably be the case that you'll try and number of different ways before you settle on the one that works for you, but it's impossible to say to someone... "Hold it loose" simply because your idea of loose is probably very different to mine. It then means you're going to have to try this basic aspect of your bowling in numerous ways before you establish a way that suits you. I still have to say to myself when I'm bowing "Ridiculously loose, ridiculously loose", over and over again to force myself to bowl with an exceptionally loose grip, as through recent experimentation I've noted that the exceptionally loose grip works so much better for me. Having said that and also having looked at the Warne description of his grip here, I've noted that they both have their fingers either side of the middle finger spread very wide, so I myself may have a go at this in the nets in the coming months and see if it creates any significant difference in my bowling. It's this trial and re-trial process that a lot of us will have to go through over a period of a few years before we feel as though we're at a level that we're happy with.

Boogie Spinner has just said...

"Just reading your blog Dave, I'm reminded of some early commentary on Warne from Benaud. I couldn't possibly say exactly when but I distinctly remember Benaud exclaiming that Warne would 'spin it on glass' and more importantly that he wished he'd known about Warne's loose grip on the ball when he was bowling, because he gripped the ball tightly simply through a belief that it was preferable at the time".Again further reinforcement of the need to work through the various methods to establish what will work for you. Warne himself says...

"The actual pressure of the grip is something you have to feel comfortable with. What I do... and what I do is not necessarily right for you, but it is right for me, remember it's got to be right for you, as long as you're getting the basics right. A lot of people are taught to grip the ball really tight, really squeeze it and spread these fingers out. (The 2 up fingers). The reason I don't like that is that, already everything is tight and tense when you come to the wicket, you're already tense and everything is getting hard. I don't like that, I want to come to the wicket feeling relaxed, if I feel relaxed, I feel like I'm going to be able to do what I want with the ball.

 So I have a loose grip, fingers are probably a little bit close together... but that works for me, the fingers are loose - two fingers up, two fingers down and the thumb just resting on the ball, that works for me".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM4ASXrv5ic Shane Warne talking to Mark Nicholas.



Flickers or Rollers? The Wrist-Spinners bowling action is a whole body affair, from the tip of the toes to the tip of the fingers. Getting up on the toes, bracing the leg, pivoting on the toes, rotating the shoulders over one another, rotating the body 180 degrees, high release, 45 degree release, low release, the point at which the ball is released, the flick of the wrist and fingers all combine to send the ball down the wicket in a particular way. At each stage something can go awry that will effect the outcome and one of the key stages is the final stage - what happens with the hand...

One of the conundrums you'll be faced with, especially if you've learned the basics of bowling previously is the one of accuracy over spin. Intuitively you may feel or have learned from your previous bowling experiences that accuracy is an important aspect of your approach and that both accuracy and spinning the ball should be learned side by side with equal importance attached to them. Everyone without exception advocates that first and foremost the thing you need to do above all else is spin the ball really hard. Not hard, but really hard, so hard, that at the start it will mean that you've got to practice so much on your own you're going to wonder why the hell you started. Reason why - you're not going to be able to land the ball on the cut strip all of the time because of the effort you're going to be putting into spinning the ball!

In his book "The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling" Peter Philpott at the start of the chapters where he explains in detail the "Eight Stages of Spin" one of the first ground rules he sets is the Spin it hard rule. He discusses orthodoxy and variations in grip and actions and says that there should be some flexibility in approaching how people bowl. Coaches shouldn't interfere too much unless of course there's some cause for real concern and even then after much observation. But when it comes to the spinning mantra he says...

But if there is one factor in spin bowling which all spinners should accept if they wish to perform to their optimum, it is the concept that the ball should be spun hard.

    Not rolled, not gently turned, but flicked, ripped, fizzed. If young bowlers learn to spin hard from the start and then enough spinning it hard, they can achieve accuracy.
Peter Philpott, page 19, The Art of Wrist-Spin Bowling.


One of the difficulties that you're going to face whether young or older, is the fact that if you go for this 'Spinning it hard' approach which you should, you are going to have to be really thick skinned if you're learning your craft in match situations. In the first few years, you're probably going to be carted all over the shop in matches and other days you'll get a bag full of wickets. There's a mantra that says S**t bowling gets wickets, so in between the days when you see ball after ball go down the legside and the umpire stretching his arms out and shouting "Wide Ball", there will be days when you come away with wickets and some success. A lot of it will be through luck and not design, but you have to grasp these moments and stick in there knowing that in a few years you'll be able to get the ball down the off-side a lot more often than not. But it does take a lot of determination and being very thick skinned, because you will be coming away feeling it was you that lost the team the match.

It helps therefore if you have a supportive captain and it may be an idea to play Sunday cricket or friendly matches as opposed to league cricket where the outcome of the game is subject to different dynamics within the club. I learned under the tuition of a bloke called Neil Samwell who was an exceptionally good Offie for Grays & Chadwell cricket club in Essex. At the time I played under him as captain he held the record for the most wickets taken at the club. But more than that, this bloke gave me a chance, he gave me overs, knowing that the chances were I'd get a ball or two down the legs-ide, so wide they'd be off the cut strip, or I'd bowl 4 wides down the leg-side before getting the ball on the stumps. I went through stages of having the yips almost and still he'd give me 4 or 5 overs and when I was successful, he celebrated my success in a way that enabled me to hang in there and not walk away from my desire to be a wrist spinner, he seemed genuinely interested in my long term goals and I'm extremely grateful for his input and support during my years at Grays and Chadwell.

I think if you have someone at your club that supports you in this manner and you don't feel totally isolated, the chances are in the longer term you'll get there, you'll be able to turn up at games and put the ball in areas that you design to do so and spin the ball and get it to turn off the wicket. How do you get to that place though?

Some thoughts here from Menno Gazendum http://www.pitchvision.com/the-7-deadly-sins-of-spin-bowling#/




Pitch vision advice on Pivot and closing off your action.
http://www.pitchvision.com/master-the-pivot-to-give-the-ball-extra-spin-revolutions#/

Leg Spin Bowling - Repeatable & consistent bowling action.

This Blog takes a lot of work to produce and it's free to access, please help to keep it alive by clicking on my adverts. Liking it on Facebook, Google +, sharing it on Twitter and other social media. Also check out my videos here and remember there's more content at www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com

New Content see the video 7th April below.

 Repeatable and Consistent Bowling action 

I came to wrist spinning out of nowhere in my late 40's and prior to that never played cricket and then worked on everything I do and know through a process of self reflection and watching videos and reading about it. One of the things that I've struggled with during this 8 year journey is my run-up and the approach to the crease and then as a consequence of those components the action through the crease. From posting videos of my bowling on Youtube I've had numerous people look at it and comment about it as well as team mates... You're to slow through the crease, you haven't got a bound amongst the observations.

With no or little coaching, and with the criticism there and the video evidence, it's difficult to come up with a coherent plan going forwards. It does seem that the obvious conclusion in a lot of people's minds as well as my own is to look for a template in someone else's bowling and this is discussed in the section below with regards its merits as a process to resolve the issue.

The issue I've had is that the bowling action that I use at different stages in the season changes in response to different issues. Sometimes I've been concerned that I bowl too slow, sometimes it's been a case that I bowl too fast and the spin is reduced. Other times it's been inconsistencies with line and length and in a reaction to each of these problems I've concluded that the main culprit has been my run-up and the approach to the crease. But a couple of months ago I watched a SKY TV master class with Glenn McGrath and during it at 16 minutes and 40 seconds he talks about something that I've never heard discussed before in such a simple way and it immediately resonated with me. He talks about and explains how he developed and worked out his run-up and it is so simple.



*Unfortunately some removed that video from Youtube * I'll write up an explanation at some point to make up for the loss of the video.


 

I've now in a week worked on this and gone from being generally confused and wondering whether I should bowl like a, b or c to now bowling my way.


If you have a look at my Youtube channel here you'll see some video's where I'm working with this new action. Furthermore I've come to some additional conclusions that relate to the run-in aspect of bowling. The McGrath video here should be looked at and considered in conjunction with Stuart MacGills advice in this video below...




The MacGill video differs massively from most of the video's you'll find on the web as they focus on the micro details that should only be addressed once some of the basics have been fully learned. MacGill instead focuses on the fundamentals such as your run-in and approach to the crease. Don't dismiss this aspect and think of it as being a superficial part of the whole process, because it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, especially if you are struggling with your bowling. Think of it this way. Your run-in and movement through the crease (Bowling action) is the rock bed or foundation of everything else that follows. If you've not got this part consistent and correct, everything else is going to suffer, it will be like building onto a sketchy foundation and having to do remedial work all the time as a result.

 

 
Pivot
http://www.pitchvision.com/master-the-pivot-to-give-the-ball-extra-spin-revolutions#/


Repeatable and consistent action update and analysis.

Lovely day here in the UK, we're just a few days short of November when you'd expect to see frost, even snow some years and generally miserable cold and wet rainy weather, but as it's an El Nino year, so everything is a little weird. It's usually the case that summer lingers as it has today and then suddenly around about November 5th it changes dramatically and the wind shifts from the south to the East and we get unusually good snow.

A couple of days ago both son Joe and Ben joined me over at the home of cricket - Mopsies Park and we had a bat and a bowl, but it was a little damp. So I kept an eye on the weather looking for a better day and that was today. 27th Oct and we had bright sunshine, southerly winds and temperature of about 20 degrees centigrade... Warm!

Today it was Joe and I and we both had a bit of a bat and a bowl. Joe didn't bowl that well as he'd hurt his leading arm shoulder today. But I'd gone with the intention of looking at and trying a few things out. So, let's do this using the Gibbs Reflective Practice Model...

What happened?
We went over to Mopsies Park and used the all weather wicket and had a bowl. I was looking to see how accurate I could bowl, if I could increase my speed a bit and look at getting up on the toes and bring the leg through. I bowled in excess of 250 balls over a 2 hour stint.

Feelings?
Physically - knackered now 6 hours later and was beginning to feel a bit knackered towards the last 50 balls. But, that aside there were some promising things to make note of and consider going forwards. There were some periods where the bowling was going a little haywire, I did at one point bowl 5 balls one after another wide down the legside. But I was able to get things back on track and soon after was bowling decently with a lot of the ball drifting as far as I could make out which is pretty unheard of for me!

Evaluation.
(Good and Bad). I've come away with a range of feelings about how this went and since last night when I originally started this post I've looked at the video footage. Yesterday when I videoed my bowling and batting I had two cameras when bowling - one shooting the batsman's perspective which is something I often do and the other shooting from the side at the bowlers end. It's this perspective that is more interesting and looking at it I can gain a few positives and some negatives...

Good first; overall I'm quite pleased with the development and the basic idea of acquiring a consistent and repeatable action. This I think I've improved massively and looking at the footage each delivery looks pretty much identical. I'd been working on the gather aspect and this too has massively improved along with the leading arm. Bad stuff; It just looks slow and lacking in dynamism and looking at the way my 'landing foot' lands it looks as though it's not square enough to the wicket and I'm therefore not getting my body set-up enough to get side on and therefore the hip rotation is weak.

Anlaysis (Everything relates to bowling right arm wrist spin).

This potentially opens up a new avenue of thought on my bowling action, but at the same time I'm running out of time because the UK winter is all but days away and the chances of their being warm dry weather in the next couple of days is diminishing. Looking at the video here, which is the side on shot with all the revealing information...
 
I can break down my bowling action into sections and start to analyse it and make sense of it.

The Gather; This was an issue some months ago and sometimes in the confusion of worrying about the run-up and what I was going to do at the crease, I'd find that my arms were flailing around all over the place. This was one of the first aspects of the new run-up that I looked at and in my research I found some basic advice that said to get the leading arm (Left arm) hand up around you right ear at the start of the gather and make sure that you're looking over the outside of the left arm down the wicket at the batsman or whatever it is you choose to look at at this stage of the bowling action.

I'm happy with this and as far as I'm aware this now happens naturally and I don't have to worry about it at all and it sets me up to then reach out long and strong with the leading arm.

Leading Arm: If I was to be super critical I might say that because I've formed a fist in the leading arm component of the action, it might not be as dynamic as an open hand really stretching out and reaching? I'm too worried about that, but it might be something that I look at later on, but for the moment I'm not that bothered by the fist.

The Bound: The bound looks fine and does seem to be one aspect of the action that does look pretty dynamic. If you look around at some of the international spinners some of them have fairly weak looking bounds, some looking like shuffles. It may be the case though that my bound needs to be tweaked slightly in order that I get set up to land more side on?

Landing out of the bound (getting side on).You can see here below as the foot lands it's not exactly at 90 degrees to the wicket and I feel that this doesn't set me up fully to get 100% side-on, which I'm sure is pretty important if you're looking to put loads of action on the ball at release.
Delivery Stride: This is the other component of the action which I think is weak is the stride out of the bound. The general advice is that your stride is simply one that you're comfortable with.

Looking around at the pro's you can see mine is weak/short...
Terry Jenner - big stride..
Shane Warne - Big Stride
 Pravin Tambe  - Massive Stride
 Stuart MacGill - Big Stride.
Yasir Shah  - Massive Stride.

All of the Delivery strides shown here are far longer than mine, which gives me food for thought, but then they're far younger than me and their speed approaching the crease and dynamism through the crease is that much better than mine quite obviously. But is it something I need to consider and explore? Part of me believes so, but it's something I may look into and consider trying and experimenting with.

Rotation: I was unsure of the rotation aspect of my bowling and looking at the video footage from the batsman's end it appeared that I was very front on, but looking at the side-on video, I can see that there's aspects of the rotation that are coming together okay. As identified, my foot out of the bound lands slightly skewed and not exactly at 90 degrees to the wicket.
As in the diagram there's some scope to get that landing foot exactly 90 degrees, how significant this is I'm not 100% certain but everyone advocates getting that foot correct as it lines up the shoulders, hips so that you're side on and ready to rotate. Looking at some of my previous videos I can see that coming out of the bound and landing side on is reasonable...
Landing out of the bound - looking over the shoulder down the wicket, almost with my foot at 90 degrees. Hips and shoulders almost in line with the wicket. But, if you watch the video footage, the rotation is then somewhat thwarted? Looking at the videos here..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT1HhHntF2o - Shane Warne at the end of  his career in the IPL, his rotation is very evident and in some cases he over-rotates to some extent. Terry Jenner in this video here...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA7YC7SF71Q demonstrates a good 180 degree rotation. Both of the rotations seem to be a product of getting right up onto the toes of the braced pivot leg and the leading arm coming down strong. Jenner in his video talks about rotating 180 degrees so that your shoulder ends up pointing down towards the batsman.

Watching the IPL footage I noted with interest how short Warne's follow through is in a lot of instances, but at the same time how smooth. Another thing in the IPL footage is the position of his landing foot out of the bound, it's not always at 90 degrees.

Look at this video here which is very new of Warne bowling - watch the rotation of his hips as he bowls to Michael Clarke. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=805j4dAPKUQ I also like the way he bustles in during his run-up something I don't seem to be able to do.

Leg action through the crease

This one is a tricky one with loads of different examples to look at that confuse you and contradict each other. Looking around the internet for examples one thing you shouldn't do is refer to finger spinners as this aspect of their bowling is a desired attribute for them. But for wrist-spinners despite the fact that you'll no doubt be able to find examples of it including Warne there is a definite sense within the Wrist Spinning community that what I'm about to discuss and advocate is the correct way.

First Warne and the incorrect way. Not for him obviously as it worked quite well, but for the rest of us this aspect of his bowling is something I'm increasingly being told not to do. Look at Funkster192's sequence here. At the bottom right-hand corner you'll see that at the end of his action his right leg swings out and round and you'll see many images of him doing this in stills images and video images. But this is not the best way to do it and it increases inaccuracy in your bowling.

 photo WarneActionfront.jpg

But here below is Stuart MacGill who in so many ways was a better bowler than Warne and one aspect that is increasingly recognised as being better is his bowling action as a template to emulate. You'll easily see that MacGills leg doesn't swing out like Warne's - instead it pushes through. Watch the video...
At 2:57 Watch the bowling action of MacGill from the back and how his knee does not swing out and round described by one friend as the 'Dirty Dog Action' e.g. cocking your leg up. Instead MacGill's leg comes through like someone knee butting another person in the nuts. It pushes forwards and through.

I know looking at the footage of my own bowling that my leg swings out and round doing the 'Dirty dog' and this is something I need to address. As far as I'm aware and this is reinforced in MacGill's video, this leads to inaccuracy.

Another exponent of the knee through approach is Pravin Tambe, but watching this video the extent that it comes through and sometimes swings out a little differs which is interesting...

Follow through

Again in this session my follow-through was weak and this is something I need to look at and I suspect it's that overall lack of energy running and the lack of 'Explosive energy' through the crease.

Conclusion

So out of this one of the things that I thought may be worth looking at and exploring is the length of the run-up in order to get more speed and vigour into the whole bowling action. At the start of the season in 2014 I did really well with my bowling and that was partly down to the input of a bloke called Mike Blerkom who kept wicket for us for a few games. Normally he'd play in the 2nd XI rather than the 4th. But he made some useful observations about my bowling and one of them was around the issue of an erratic run-up. At the time I was caught between the notion of (a). A short step in like Terry Jenner, which was slow but produced more spin. Or (b). A much longer run-up - but a perception on my part that the ball spun less and if I got it wrong I'd go for runs and getting it wrong was likely to be more frequent, or (c). A compromise between the 2. Mike said - 'Use the faster run-in' and I did and it worked really well for a number of matches till I damaged my Achilles tendon.

So, today having seen this and realising that it kind of looks like the option (c) a compromise between the two methods, I'm now thinking how difficult would it be to add another 2 steps on to the run-up and look to get more dynamism and speed?

But - is it the case because of my age I'm never going to be able to produce the kind of explosive energy speed a younger bloke would be able to produce?

Action Plan

Upload the video's and see if there's any advice on Bigcricket. Then in the meantime while I'm waiting for feedback I'll explore the idea of working with a slightly longer run-up.

I'll also look at trying to extend the delivery stride and video that.
Finally just look at getting the leg through straight at the batsman and not cocked in the 'Dirty Dog' method.

2016 - With only a few weeks now till the start of the season here in the UK, I'm working on the new action increasingly trying to bed in the muscle memory aspect of the delivery. See the two videos below as I start to get it together prior to the first league game in the first week of May...

Update and further analysis March 31st 2016 (Double click the image below).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uopI5PETHI0

Again more work April 7th 2016 - in this video there's a pretty detailed analysis of the rotation and getting side on in your action using slow motion sequences. A lot of people talk about rotating your hips and shoulders, this video looks at this and illustrates it. Double click the image for the video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vda1F_FsaY







Resources and Links

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/metarasa/cricket/spin/the-mechanics-of-finger-spin-bowling/
http://files.pitchero.com/counties/1/1397142351.pdf - This is really useful - diagrams and illustrations.
https://static.ecb.co.uk/files/hitting-the-seam-issue-8-page-7-227.pdf
http://www.strengthspeedagility.com/leg-spin-bowling-tips/ - Interesting stuff about closing off
http://www.cricketvictoria.com.au/files/pages/2011-state-coaching-seminar/The_Modern_Spinner_Bryce_McGain.pdf
https://cricket.co.za/category/15/Coach-Education/2394/Bowling-The-basic-action/
https://cricket.co.za/category/15/Coach-Education/2400/Bowling-Leg-spin-bowling/
http://www.quintic.com/education/case_studies/Cricket%203.htm
http://www.pitchvision.com/harry-shapiros-leg-spin-primer#/

 362 view 8/4/16

Leg Spin Bowling - Fitness, Agility, Exercise and Strength.

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On the Forum http://www.bigcricket.com/community/forums/spin-bowling.36/ as we come to the end of the season here in the UK we're all asking ourselves what do we need to do over the winter in order to maintain our fitness and keep things ticking over?

Well, on the forum we've got a few experts that time to time look in and give us some really good ideas and guidance. Just of late two of the experts Liz Ward and Tony Mowles have both pointed me in the direction of Cricket Strength (Click on the image).
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIqjMYDAI1OE6wohmtfuFKw


 They've got loads of ideas for things you can do over the winter that will build up your strength and agility ready for a new season and far better level of fitness that will enable you to bowl better potentially and decrease the chances of your sustaining injuries during the season.

Warming Up
Watching this video here featuring Shane Warne, Ian Healey and Ricky Ponting, Ian Healey mentions the fact that before he goes live and bowls to Healey and Ponting, Warne has already bowled 6 overs off camera to ensure that when it comes to doing it for real live he gets it pretty much right.

Leg Spin Bowling - Bowling Drills, Training, Practice & Visualisation.

This Blog takes a lot of work to produce and it's free to access, please help to keep it alive by clicking on my adverts. Liking it on Facebook, Google +, sharing it on Twitter and other social media. Also check out my videos here and remember there's more content at www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com

Training methods

 With spin-bowling especially wrist spinning (Adil Rashid link) there’s a good chance that when you’re learning you’re going to get smashed to all quarters of the ground by tail-enders, middle order players and openers at some point. To some extent this sorts the wheat from the chaff, only those that are tough enough mentally are going to survive such encounters and be able to pick themselves up and turn up for the next game and give it another go. Adil Rashid being a perfect example of the mental toughness required to be a Wrist Spinner.

 But, what you don’t need as a spin bowler is the same crap when you’re practicing. Clarrie Grimmett famously practiced in isolation, having a net in his back yard where he practiced all of the time. He never practiced in the nets against batsmen in the Aussie team because he knew that he’d meet them again in domestic games in the Sheffield shield matches and he didn’t want them to have any idea about how they might approach his bowling. He was also aware that there was very little to be gained bowling in the nets because batsmen never batted in the way that they’d bowl in a game and therefore saw it as a pointless exercise.

 I too completely agree with Grimmett and have very little time for bowling in nets as I recognise the same issues and find it a pointless and soul destroying exercise, especially if you do it without any specific intention or outcome.

 The ECB similarly warn of the same problems with young spin-bowlers…

 Time and again spin bowlers
are seen as cannon fodder
for batsmen in the net
environment, but if spinners
are to develop effectively
coaches and the bowlers
themselves have to find time
for quality specific practice.


 A spin bowler needs to have a bag of balls or at least a fence behind the stumps. I used to have 24 balls and would bowl 24 from one end then collect them up and bowl from that end for hours on end. Over the years I’ve developed different ways of doing it, but believe it’s essential to have several balls so that you can bowl in overs. Six balls would be a minimum if you’re bowling in nets as the collection of the balls kind of replicates the break between the over at the other end and yours.

2 Player method (Bowler and batsman).

 If a spinner is to bowl in
practice at a batsman, the
coach should seek to make
the practice as close to a
match simulation as possible
for both the batsman and the
bowler. Fields should be
identified, goals set, overs
bowled, scores kept, coaches
should umpire and rewards
should be given for wicket taking.

https://static.ecb.co.uk/files/ecb-coaches-association-technical-bulletin-issue-5-10313.pdf

This method for the spin bowler is a far more preferable approach. We have a collection of balls e.g. 24 and we practice on an artificial wicket or a wicket set aside specifically for practice. Using 10 cones or anything you have at hand the bowler set his/her initial field. A target is set e.g. the batsman has to score 50 runs off of 48 balls to win and the bowler has to take x amount of runs or what-ever combination you feel is reasonable for each player. Between the two players you make decisions as to how many runs the ball goes for or whether it’s fielded or caught. Better still if there’s a coach or a neutral 3rd person they keep a tally of the score/wickets. The field can be re-set and the bowler should be encouraged to make observations as to where the ball is being hit and make decisions with regards the field as to where a gap may be left and the ball bowled in order to encourage the shot that’s required to gain runs through that vacant area, but bowled in such a way that it’s tactically advantageous to the bowler…

This field for instance may be set for a batsman that's been seen in the first over as struggling to play the ball being bowled coming round the wicket (Right - arm Leg Break). Warne advocates in the first over, extending potentially into the 2nd over that you bowl from different positions on the crease in order to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of the batsman's approach.


















4th Oct - not a lot in this section yet, but I've just found a couple of really good but obscure video from Zambia

https://cricket.co.za/category/15/Coach-Education/2400/Bowling-Leg-spin-bowling/

https://cricket.co.za/category/15/Coach-Education/2400/Bowling-Leg-spin-bowling/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD2DD1o98j0&list=PLv2zAq1Y4gDxdFwgJyuavzaQPviMudAqe

And this one...



 

 

Leg Spin Bowling - Bowling Plans & Psychology

Bowling Plans and Psychology Work in progress.


As you get better at your bowling and more serious about your cricket, you're going to become increasingly aware that in order to perform better you will need to have plans and strategies in place to work with in order that you get results. I would imagine that the transition from Youth Cricket to 4th team cricket and then making your way up through the ranks to first team cricket as a wrist spin bowler is pretty difficult and one where your learning curve is pretty steep. You as a bowler have to be pretty thick skinned to be able to accept that in between being hit for 6 by far superior and stronger batsmen, you have to somehow put that out of your mind and focus on the positives. It's at this stage I would imagine a lot of kids lose the plot and give up wrist spinning because of the negative side to what you're doing.

If your team has got a several teams... first team down to the 4th or 5th XI it may be the case that you're moved back and forth, given the opportunity to play at different levels - trying you out, which is completely normal - think Adil Rashid here in the UK... He's been around the England set-up for some years now and has played international one day cricket for England back in 2009. He didn't do that well and therefore, soon disappeared again. It seems to be universally acknowledged that wrist spinners (and the other blokes as well) mature  with age and as you get older and wiser your approach to the game changes, you become more wily and less affected by being hit for 6, you internalise it and see it as a positive and you don't let it get under your skin. Rashid, now 27 has recently played in a one day series against Australia and New Zealand and has done fairly well and there's speculation that the up and coming series against Pakistan on spin friendly wickets, will see him possibly break into the Test Arena?

At 27, that's seen as still being pretty young and if he doesn't do well it may be the case that he'll disappear again to play around the fringes of the England set up "England Lions". and for his county Yorkshire. It'll probably be the case that if he doesn't make the impact that he needs to this year in the test side if he's given the chance we'll see him again later on in his career when he's in his 30's. It is just the case that this thing that we all do, is one of the most difficult if not the most difficult  of all the disciplines in cricket and it takes years and years to learn and be good at it.

Part of the being good at it includes the need to have a good cricketing brain. Something you'll hear said about Shane Warne very often. This means thinking about it, planning, scheming, and working out batsmen.

Working out the Batsman

In Bob Woolmer's book 'The Art and Science of Cricket' there's a good chapter that is dedicated to this in a section headed 'Thinking cricket'. The section starts with this aspect, discussing the importance of it and he mentions Glen McGraths ability to dismiss both Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Atherton again and again based on observations about small flaws in their techniques. Woolmer says that despite being geniuses at their game, all batsmen have flaws, it may not be entirely technical, it may be a flaw in their psychology as Woolmer says...

"Be alert to the signs of tension and be willing to dominate him emotionally as well as technically".

Bob Woolmer's Art & Science of Cricket; 2008; New Holland Publishers; London; Page 399.


Bill O'Reilly Is mentioned in Woolmer's book The Art and Science of Cricket as being a advocate of keeping notes on the batsmen that he faced, making meticulous notes of new information at the end of each game. Teams for years have had staff members that draw up pitch maps that show the where batsmen score the majority of their runs and nowadays this is being increasingly recorded using digital technology and there are even apps on mobile phones and tablets that allow you to store this data and make use of it, if you have a scorer, coach or someone off the pitch that can record it for you.


Clarrie Grimmett was so serious about his bowling that when he played for Australia, he never netted with the other Australian players because he new that when they went back to playing state cricket he would have to face them. If he bowled in the nets with them he knew they'd potentially be able to work out some aspect of his bowling. You can see Grimmett watching and learning about them, but never giving them the chance to get one over him!

The thing is what can we do in our situation? As mentioned if you have access to the equipment and someone to record the data you could start to do your own Bill O'Reilly. The sooner you can start to do this the better and potentially the better you'll be at cricket generally. If you are a youth player and you're good enough to play in leagues where they mix club players up to represent larger areas that you play/live in, these are the perfect opportunities to observe the players that you'll meet in club games. In the UK, the next step up for kids that play for their clubs are 'District' teams...
This allows such players to play with all of the best players in their local area that they'll meet again and again over their cricket lives (if they go on to play cricket as adults). So this is one of those opportunities to bowl against those blokes when they're young and start to work out what it is they do well and what they do wrong. The environment is one of sharing, so it's one of those situations where if you're clever you could even ask the bloke - what's the weakest aspect of their batting? What don't you like about facing Leggies?

If you're not that player and you're in a position where you only get to see the players twice a year as I do, then the problem isn't that easy to work with. But you can make a start and you do have to see it as a long term project and the younger you are the better, because you will over the years get to know these blokes and you will have to face them every year thus enabling you to start working the player out. Remember, your apprenticeship as a Leggie is going to be 8-10 years if not longer so get started with this straight away!

What do I look for?

This is the hard part as far as I'm concerned - partly because I can't bat and I've never had any training or coaching in batting, so I haven't got a clue basically, and everything I've learned (and never been able to implement in any meaningful way) has been through observation and listening, without any confirmation that my assumptions and conclusions are sound. So, I'll turn to Bob Woolmer for guidance...

It is important to be able to spot the gap between the batsman's pad and bat, or to tally a flinch when you slip in a short ball, or a shuffle too far across to off-stump; but it is vital to be able to sense the batsman's state of mind as you run-in. Many batsmen betray their characters and emotional states through small visual clues. Perhaps his eyes are very wide, or he's gripping the bat handle tightly. Some batsmen beat the toe of the bat against the pitch much harder when they're about to hit over the top. A nervous batsman will be a tense batsman, and a tense batsman will be slow to get the bat down to a Yorker, or get his foot to the pitch of the ball swinging away on a good length. Be alert to the signs of tension and be willing to dominate him emotionally as well as technically.

Bob Woolmer's Art & Science of Cricket; 2008; New Holland Publishers; London; Page 399.
 
Execution of plans and strategies.

It has to be mentioned that in order to put your plans into action you have to be bowling well in almost all instances, as in being accurate with your line and length. Even the most basic of plans requires this one aspect to be in place.

This Blog takes a lot of work to produce and it's free to access, please help to keep it alive by clicking on my adverts. Liking it on Facebook, Google +, sharing it on Twitter and other social media. Also check out my videos here and remember there's more content at www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.com

6th October. I've made a start on this and I'm starting to write the articles. In the mean time here's a good start an article elsewhere discussing the term 'Hunting in packs' when discussing bowling attacks, something we're hearing more and more in cricket commentaries.

Wrist Spin Tactics - Pravin Tambe T20
Tactics/Plans

Over at one of my other blogs I'm slowly writing a post where I'm looking at tactics and plans, so at the moment that post is a bit disorganised and I'm still at the research stage. Last night I was researching Pravin Tambe and watching a Rajastan Royals match with Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he takes 4 wickets in his four overs.

Pravin Tambe has an interesting story in that he came from nowhere, progressing from being a club cricketer to playing for RR in the IPL bowling at the likes of Virat Kohli, AB Devlliers et al. Despite that massive progression he's done exceptionally well, partly due to the fact that it is T20 cricket and the batsmen have to go after the ball and score and the fact that he's been handled well by the captains seemingly.

Watching the Youtube video Tambe's spell is interesting because of the way that he goes about getting Virat Kohli's wicket. In the game Kohli is the only bloke that looks as though he's going to be able to put runs on the board because all around him the other players are falling for pitiful scores. On his side Tambe has the benefit of the fact that Kohli therefore is under immense pressure to score runs. Up to the point where Tambe gets the Kohli's wicket, Kohli has played Tambe fairly well, scoring singles and rotating the strike. Then Tambe does something very simple, not changing his action - so he runs in exactly the same as before, the bowling action effort is the same, but he does something quite obvious in one respect, especially if seen from the side, but from Kohli's position at the crease, possibly not that apparent...
He bowls from way back on the crease, so the ball pitches shorter and Kohli plays through the ball far too early and scoops it up for an easy catch at Mid Wicket. Very simple tactic and very effective.

I've just been listening to Chris Jordan talking about death bowling in the 2016 England v South Africa. Whist this might be obvious to most people captains especially, to learners and people that don't think about this stuff 24-7 it's good to hear people reiterate the point and explain it. Very basic, but if the ground is big - square on the leg-side, put a man out there (your best catcher) and just sneak a ball an over on middle and leg with more top-spin, so that the batsman goes through the ball too early and potentially hits it up in the air - your equivalent of Jordan's slower ball.

Pitches that don't turn (Bob Woolmer) - bowl at the off-stump varying the speed and length. Also move around the crease and mix up your leg break with more over-spin or a pure Top-Spinner. If you've got a Wrong Un, use that as well. 

http://linesongrass.com/2013/05/20/hunting-as-a-pack/

From Pitchvision's David Hinchcliffe http://www.cricketworld.com/why-and-how-bowlers-hunt-in-packs/39206.htm

Just been watching the 2015 Pakistan v England in the UAE and it's the 2nd test where Yasir Shar and Wahab Riaz have demolished England pretty much securing a win at the end of Englands first innings leaving them well short of Pakistans total.
Not started on this yet but it'll come. In the meantime check out Shane Warne being smacked for 22 off of one over by a tail - ender. That's never happened to me to date (Not that bad), but the thing is take heart - this is the best Wrist Spinner in the history of the game and he's gone for 22 off of one over. Watch it and empathise!

Batgrip - tight.
Lack of feet movement -
Gap between bat and pads

A couple of links here to be getting on with...

http://www.dangermouse.net/cricket/bowlstrategy.html
 
http://www.pitchvision.com/setting-the-field-%E2%80%93-theory-and-practice#/

Bob Woolmer's Art & Science of Cricket; 2008; New Holland Publishers; London.

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