Friday, August 19, 2011

Big changes afoot

Nearly six years into this wrist spinning journey and I've probably had the steepest learning curve process during the last 6 months. As you'll all be aware I've bowled with this odd skip during my bowling action and it's been pointed out and understood by me that it is detrimental to my bowling so at the end of the last season I started to work on it to get rid of it. Initially walking in, but eventually I had to look at bounding, which at the time seemed to be a step too far. But after some help from my nine year old, it looked as though this old dog was up for learning a new trick!

The bound came in its basic form and it's still a work in progress as its a lot more complex than what you'd imagine, but the thing I want to highlight here is the grip. My grip was formed years ago after watching Warne on the tele and it served me okay in the 1st year, but like most people I was soon wanting more and some of the variations were introduced and needless to say I got the Googly syndrome and lost my Leg Break. Two years of bowling off-spin and getting no-where forced me to re-learn the leg break and that's been on-going and it's been difficult. Come this Sept it's been 2 years trying to re-configure my wrist position and more importantly the hard wiring in my head. I've been able to come up with strategies and bit by bit it has been getting there. But fundamentally the last two years has been pretty flawed in my approach.

My Wrong Un/Googly is good, very good sometimes and I can return to it easily with a bit of practice, but choose not to. It's bowled out of what I perceive to be a cocked wrist and in the past if ever I tried to bowl the Leg Break with a cocked wrist I would produce a wrong un (My younger son has the same issue). To rectify this I've had to use a rigid wrist and keep it straight for the last 2 years, using my fingers primarily to impart the leg - spin and this has been okay, but not particularly affective.

This year I was charged with the task of keeping an eye on a young leg-spinner at our club and in doing so noticed that despite what is probably a bowling action very much in its early stages which in time will need a lot of tweaking, he still bowls a good Leg Break with dip and drift and good turn off the wicket. Analysing it, I realised that the key thing that he was doing that I wasn't was cocking the wrist and that his release technique looked pretty straight forward and no-where near as complex as the stuff that I had been trying to do. So for the first time in almost 2 years I cocked my wrist and bowled. And lo and behold I produced a very promising Leg Break!

Since then, the combination of the bound and the re-introduction of the cocked wrist has seen an exponential development in what I do. It's no-where near ready yet, but some of the fundamentals required like drift and dip which have for the most part been missing are there. So the long and the short of what I'm saying here and I would imagine most people know this already is that the cocked wrist is absolutely integral to what we're trying to do. Further more it almost negates all of the things I've been saying for the last 2 years in relation to grip on this blog and my other blogs unless of course you are going through the Googly syndrome. I'm still convinced that if you're someone who suffers from advanced Googly syndrome as in, you've got it and you've then tried to live with it and not bothered to try and address it, the advice on the blog and elsewhere with regards correcting it still may be valid?

But other than that if you're learning to bowl the leg break, that cocked wrist is so much of a key aspect of your bowling, so you need it and you have to practice with it despite how awkward it may feel initially.