England coach Peter Moores answers an aspiring coach’s query every month.
“My seam bowler is generally bowling well but he’s sending down a few too many wides between good balls. Is there a fun way for us to work on consistency?”
DRAW THE LINE, RUN THE LINE, BOWL THE LINE
If you want a bowler to bowl consistently, they need to be pretty well aligned. They should be running in in pretty much a straight line and then try and follow through in a straight line towards off-stump. A good drill you could do in the nets involves drawing a chalk line from the start of the bowler’s run-up down to the batting crease. The bowler then has to try and run along the line, take off from the line and bowl down the line. This should mean that, in theory, the ball goes down the line.
HAVE PLAYERS RATE THEIR OWN BOWLING
When a player measures their own bowling they get a better idea of what they’re doing and what is going wrong. So the player should rate each ball he bowls in the nets – if he’s happy with it, give it a tick, if he’s not, give it a cross. This can be built up so they bowl six balls in a row and see how many ticks they get in an over. They’ll probably start with two or three ticks an over so they need to keep working on it to raise their consistency. Their target needs to be five or six ticks an over – that’s what a top bowler would be achieving.
The problem with net bowling is there is often four or more of them bowling and before they know it they’re just running in and bowling and not paying any attention to what they’re doing. They’re bowling pretty average balls and then when it comes to a game they can’t bowl consistently in good areas. By bowling deliveries in a set of six you suddenly have a more realistic game situation and by focusing on this a bit more their consistency will increase quite quickly.
If you set the bowler challenges, or they set them themselves, it brings in a bit of competition and makes practice a bit more fun. This could be their deliveries holding a line on off-stump or pitching in a specified target area. Once again have them score their own bowling – a tick if they hold the line or hit the target. This added focus will really help them improve.
Stay tuned for more expert advice from Peter Moores in the coming weeks