I noted looking through blog stats that one of the pages that has had a lot of hits recently has been the Sidearm Pro page back in 2012. So I thought I'd write an update on my thoughts on it having used it now for more than a year.
For a start I'm a layman, so I have no vested interests in the product and I only pick it up every now and then and use it, so it's not as if I'm a professional trainer who has spent hours using it and therefore can be accused of over-exaggerating its potential or ease of use.
When I bought my one in Dec 2012, there were a lot of reviews saying that the cup section of the sidearm was manufactured out of a brittle plastic that was susceptible to breaking. I've not found this to be the case and despite being in my kit bag amongst bats and helmets etc it's still very much intact. I think my sons have let go of it in use and its okay.
How fast does it throw?
Fast. Very fast. A lot faster than you could ever throw it from a standing position or off a few steps. I think if you're fast bowler with a fast arm action and young it would be ridiculously fast. Same if you were generally strong with long arms. Have a look at the Youtube vids here, I think they talk about it being easily used at speeds nearing 80 mph.
This vid here - has a more in-depth instructions and demo on how to use it and footage of it being used against a batsman.
How long does it take to be able to bowl accurately with it?
If you practice with one type of ball and not mix them up e.g. only cricket ball as opposed to cricket balls, heavy tennis balls and training balls all at the same time, you may find it really easy. I know that within just a few minutes I was getting it to just miss the off-stump on a regular basis. But realistically maybe 100 balls and you're start to get the hang of it. Needless to say if you've got a bucket of balls to work with it'll be a quicker and easier process. But, on the other-hand if you're not that adept at such things you may take much longer, I would imagine that being a bowler will help you get it nailed.
Can you use it with other types of balls?
Some of the advice in the vids suggests that the pro-version is only usable with heavier balls such as adult size cricket balls, but I use it conjunction with training with my sons and we've used a variety of balls. The balls we've used include - Kookaburra training balls, Readers 'Wind' balls, 4.5 oz cricket balls and the heavy red tennis type cricket balls. What I will point out at this stage is that it is difficult in my experience to use a variety of balls mixed in the same session. Each ball because of its size and weight requires a different approach and I can never quite get a technique to enable me to use a range of types in the same session with any success.
Are there any negatives?
Not that I'm aware of, I suffered from an injury to my upper arm at the start of the season last year that dogged my bowling right through the season into November. The injury occured/came on around the time that I was using the side arm. I'm just about at the point where I'll start to use the side-arm again this season with my kids and I'll be watching out for any niggles. All the bowling I've done so far in the nets hasn't created a re-emergence of the injury, so watch this space for updates on whether this pans out to have been down to using the side-arm
The image that I've used comes from this website here http://www.slashsport.com/shop/product/sidearm-pro-training-cricket-ball-thrower
If you look at the website there is a series of basic instructions relating to its use that might be helpful, so is worth a look at.
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.