2 sessions today!
You can tell summers on it's way. This morning it was back to back blue skies and relatively warm, so I was gagging to get out there and throw some balls around. I couldn't get the car because Michelle and the kids were off out in it so I had to bide my time. Eventually just before midday I was able to get away for an hour over at FTF. All morning it had been sunny and as soon as I'd thrown the gear in the back of the car the clouds gathered and the sun disappeared.
No one else around so it was me and a bunch of stumps and 14 balls backwards and forwards from one end to the other. Initially my bowling was mediocre and then it got worse and then in the last 10 minutes or so I thought I'd try and bowl with some conviction instead of just lobbing the ball at and around the stump area. So I decided to bowl flippers, Top Spinners and Wrong Uns pitching them outside of the stumps accordingly so that when they then turned they did so into the stumps. 5 out of 6 of the first balls did exactly that and the remainder of the session went amazingly well. I even had a go at the new flipper variation and hit the stumps a few times with that as well as just getting it to spin to leg massively. So what was looking like a waste of time suddenly with the last 40 odd balls was really good, so I came away very pleased. Again looking back at how I was bowling at the end of the season last year compared to how I'm bowling now I reckon there is a vast difference.
Later in the day just before dinner I went over to the field that's near me set up my stumps and did the throw the ball at the stumps from 40 yards sprint after exercise for 15 minutes as a part of my cricket specific training. Also hit the stumps and few times and my shoulder seems to be holding out okay. Also did some high catch practice - I'm rubbish at it, so I need to practice this a lot more.
The Flipper variant bowled out of the back of the hand was working okay today especially at the end of the session. The early part of the session as I said earlier wasn't going that well especially with this new variation. The problem I'm having with it seems to be it's very slow, so today I was trying to get some more speed on it, but it seems the harder and faster I throw it this comes at the cost of less spin. Just before I went out I'd had a book delivered in the post - "The art of wrist spin bowling" by Peter Philpott. I'd kind of skimmed through the images and read bit of it quickly and somewhere along the way or maybe it was on-line someone say about the levels of concentration that need to be applied when you're bowling. A lot of the time I feel that if you concentrate too much and try too hard things can start going wrong whereas if you just go with the flow sometimes things just fall into place? Today I'd started out very much in the -just let it happen frame of mind - chucking different balls from one end to the other not particularly trying that hard. After the first half hour I was getting a bit peeved as it was obvious that my bowling was lame, but then I recalled what I'd read about really concentrating hard and focussing on the task at hand and changed my overall approach.
With this new Flipper variation I'm kind of concerned that I may lose the ability to bowl some of the other variations, they seem to have a tendency to all merge into something that is not one thing or the other if I'm not careful and the one thing I don't want to lose is the Wrong Un. So with a new frame of mind and a lot more focus and determination I bowled a load of Wrong Uns to see if I could pitch them outside of off and turn them into Leg as I was couple of sessions ago. Up to this point the wrong uns had all been wrong e.g. straight or very little deviation off the line, but with the new approach, right from the outset there was a massive improvement. It was obvious that just by concentrating on what I was doing and making sure I was flicking the wrist it all came together and I was bowling my good wrong uns. So that was a right result.
The same thing then happened with my Flippers and Top spinners, I was able to put the ball into the areas I wanted and for the ball to respond in the way that they should. But as I mentioned earlier it's the new flipper variant that's consuming me at the moment and at the early stages of this session it wasn't happening. The main experiment was to just try and speed up the delivery by using either my arm or the run in and neither had a positive effect in fact the opposite and I was becoming down hearted. Yes I could speed it up but in doing so the spin wasn't happening so that was no good at all. After the success of the wrong uns and Flippers with this new apply yourself and concentrate approach I did the same with the new variant and it worked a treat. I noticed several things that I was doing that helped - one was to have my arm already twisted around as far as I could get it before swinging the arm over, but I felt that this was a dead give away. The other thing that worked was to obscure the fingers and grip with the leading hand till the arm started it's rotation and then to twist the arm into it's weird position, the final bit is to do the same with the wrist so that the angle of the flick from the flipper part of the whole action imparts the spin so that the ball is spinning 90 degrees in opposition with the direction it's heading and it all worked well. The aim with line and length is also coming together because I was pitching the ball very wide of leg and the ball was fizzing back in towards off and several times I hit the stumps. So all in all what with this only being day 3 or so in the development of this new variation I'm very pleased and can't wait to get on some grass with a batsman in the way.