Perhaps the most common question asked by young fast bowlers is “how can I bowl faster? Everyone wants to bowl faster and in most cases everyone can bowl faster by following a few basic principles. However, the real challenge is to improve speed without sacrificing control and any current strength you have as a bowler whether it is swinging the ball, getting some extra bounce or the ability to bowl cutters. Here are some of the things that can help you bowl quicker and as with all good things these will take time to master but if you are patient and work hard on them, you will bowl quicker and at the same time stay healthy.
One I thing I have noticed as a bowler is that when I have “good rhythm” or when I have the feeling of being “in the zone”, I bowl faster without the feeling of having to try harder. Michael Kasprowicz once said to me that the quickest he bowled was when he was the most relaxed. The point I am trying to make is that trying too hard to bowl fast causes unnecessary tension in the body and restricts your movement and ability to produce force. Being relaxed, feeling comfortable and getting to the point of delivery with good momentum is crucial to being able to transfer power and speed towards the target.
Slight Lean Forward
Try to have a slight lean forward while running in to bowl. This helps to create a nice build up of speed to the crease and helps create a smooth, efficient jump in to the crease.
Pull the Batters Collar Towards your Rib Cage
We started using the coaching cue “pull the collar ” which we learnt from Ian Pont of Mavericks Cricket. Most people use the ‘toilet chain” cue which gets bowlers to pull up and down. This pull down of the front arm is not as effective as a stretch (grab the batters collar) and pull back into the ribs. The shoulders are connected and should work LATERALLY instead of VERTICALLY to be the most efficient.
Driving through the Crease
Having strong legs and knowing how to use them well is essential to not only bowl quicker but also to ensure that you don’t put extra pressure on your shoulder and back to generate the extra pace you are looking for. Driving through the crease from your back leg requires you to push hard off of your back leg so it comes as close to your chest as possible as you release the ball. From experience this not only helps you bowl faster but it will help you to hit the bat harder with some extra bounce. Since working on my leg drive through the crease, the batsman I have bowled to have noted that I have been hitting the bat harder.
There are a few drills you can use to develop these mechanics.
Lead Foot Block with High Knee Progression
Snap Your Wrist at the Point of Delivery
This is an advanced technique to bowl quicker because you need very good control to snap your wrist without losing the proper form in your wrist i.e. keeping your wrist behind the ball at the point for release. If you get this right you may also find that you get extra bounce or “kick” of the pitch and find it easier to move the ball off the seam which will give you that extra wicket taking ability which is important.
Mobility, Strength and Power Training
The more mobile and stronger you are the more force you will potentially be able to generate through the crease on delivery. But before you blindly start a strength and conditioning program it is important to understand and be aware of your training age, any weaknesses you may have i.e. any areas of movement deficiency and asymmetries so that you can address these issues early on. The last thing you want to do as an athlete, especially a fast bowler is add strength to dysfunction. This will only put you at greater risk of injury. We like to do a Functional Movement Screen which basically captures fundamental movements, motor control within those movement patterns and how efficient you are at each movement. Any weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries become noticeable and an appropriate program can be designed from there. If you want to get stronger to bowl faster and would like a program custom designed for your needs then please see our Online Strength and Conditioning Service