Friday, April 01, 2016

Pre-season bowling development.

Bowling development. 5 weeks to go till the first proper game of the season, 3 weeks till the chance of a friendly match. Not long to work on the new bowling action that I've been developing since last September. Quick re-cap, last season went really well at the start because of the input and feedback from a wicket keeper we had play with us for a number of weeks (Mike Blerkom). He made some observations about my bowling in that I had a couple of basic run-ups... (1) A Terry Jenner-esque walk to the crease and bowl off of 2 steps or (2).  A longer run-up albeit all over the place and inconsistent. He advised me to stick with the longer version and I took notice as he's a current 2nd XI player and has in the past played in the 1st XI and knows a bit about cricket.

Up until I strained my Achilles tendon batting I'd bowled better than I have done for years and on reflection at the end of the season made the decision to work on the longer run-up. This was also influenced by watching a video featuring Glenn McGrath on how to work out your optimum run-up. See here.

So, in September I made a start... see my Youtube channel here. A big turning point came when Tony M a coach and contributor on Big Cricket contacted me directly and gave me some pointers and advice. My bowling then started to come together and by the end of November when winter set in properly it was looking very promising. Winter put a stop to the development and now I'm trying to play catch-up a little, slightly thwarted by the fact that so far the Easter break here in the UK has been crap as its a lot earlier in the year than usual. Fingers crossed the forecast from tomorrow onwards is for an improvement and I'll be able to work on some of the things I've made observations of in the video below. Double click on the image below to watch the video.

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

In my usual lecturer style and advocating what I teach, I'll reflect on the bowling using the Gibbs reflective method...

What Happened. Primarily we were at Writtle to work on our batting see here but with three of us it meant while two were in the batting net there was an opportunity to have a bowl so I spent 10 minutes or so bowling. I mixed up bowling with and without a ball.

Feeelings. Initially I didn't think it went that well, it felt as though there were a number of problems with the bowling action and the outcome at the other end wasn't that special either.

Evaluation (Good and  bad). Good was the fact that I actually took the time out to bowl when that wasn't the key objective of the Writtle visit and the fact that I had the camera to record myself. Other good things included the speed that I was bowling and my overall fitness. It was commented at the last net session at the club that my bowling speed has gone up and this was one of the key things that Mike Blerkom thought was a key thing I needed to work on. Bad stuff, despite the fact that it looked fast it didn't feel as correct as it had been back in November when I was spending more time working on the action. Also the percentage of good balls versus bad balls at the business end wasn't good.

Analysis. Without going into to technical stuff straight away, watching the video back there's obvious things going on. One that I noticed is that I kind of waver as I approach the crease. The other thing which is a throwback to the old days, is the observed over-rotation. Other key observations are the hip and knee thrust aspect, the hip and knee don't drive through properly in most of the footage in the original 10 minute version of the video. When bowling without the ball it's a lot better, but in this session I wasn't able to bring that aspect of the action with the ball in my hand, so that needs some work.

I think  the main thing is the lack of time at the moment given over to bowling practice. Conventional club nets sessions are useless because of the period of time between balls, so I need to set aside bowling time amongst all of the being put into developing my batting. I think if the time is given over to bowling, the changes will come along with improvements quite quickly. Looking at the video, there's a couple of things I know I should work on straight away... (1). The hip-drive and (2). The over rotation. I think with the hip drive, the over-rotation might come together as a consequence of working on the hip-drive.

At the start of the bowling action in the first phase PDS, I note in the video that my head turns to the side during the gather, I'm not sure if this is an issue or not, but it's something I'll keep an eye on though in the next sequence of videos which hopefully I'll shoot tomorrow. There are other issues such as not getting right up on the toes at FFC, but I'll leave that for the end of the coming week.

Conclusion. It seems okay, the few problems I think will be fairly easy to iron out, and possibly the key thing to do is bowl more so that the action is grooved and increases in consistency.

Action plan. Work on the hip drive tomorrow and the over-rotation.