The term ‘fast bowling’ has become less and less defined in recent years, with even some definitions contradicting each other. Some define it as fast paced quick bowlers while others use the word to refer only to fast swing balls or leg-spin.
Whatever your definition is, there are three main elements that make up the defining characteristics of a fast bowler. They are their pace, how quickly they throw the ball, and what kind of spin they create with the ball.
This article will go into more detail about all three parts and how to improve yours! At the end you will know everything from the basics to advanced tips for fast bowlers. So get ready to learn!
Reminder: These lessons apply both to professional level cricketers and anyone who wants to practice their own game.
Fast Bowls You Must Know
There are several different types of fast bowling styles, so this section will discuss the top two: power bowls and wrist-throwers. Both require good hand–ball technique, so be sure to study those before moving onto the next part.
Power bowls are typically characterized by fast speed and strong arm strength. Powerful arms can generate enough momentum to hit the stumps hard when throwing the ball at high speeds.
Wrist-throwing fast bowlers usually have very flexible wrists which allow them to twist the ball more as it comes down.
Practice batting and fast bowling all the time
While most professional bowlers spend their time practicing either shooting or throwing, very few professionals devote enough time to both to be truly efficient.
Most elite bowlers will have separate practices for each skill-balling before a game, working on technique and strength during games, and then going back and doing it again after games.
This is because you can’t rely totally on muscle memory when training yourself in something that requires precision. You need to reestablish those neural pathways every now and then!
That’s why having a practice routine that includes both ball-throwing and hitting is so important. This way you’re not wasting any valuable workout time by only doing one thing.
Create a strong bowling stance
When you are bowling, your feet should be parallel with each other and your knees should be slightly bent. Your shins should be vertical as well as your toes! This is your starting position or stance.
Your feet should be about two feet apart when you enter the lane- this is your transition position. Then, once you get going, your legs will pull in together so that it feels like one long leg. This is your fast bowler’s stance- your strongbowling stance.
The stronger your arms are, the faster you can bowl. So, make sure you work on developing strength in your upper body by doing some heavy lifting every day. You also want to do some light weight training to increase muscle mass, especially in your shoulders and chest.
Running or swimming are great ways to add lean muscles and strengthen your heart and lungs. Doing these exercises before bowling will help you feel more prepared and confident on the lanes.
Blog post: How To Become A Great Bowler
Bullet point: Keep practicing, keep working at it
They practiced daily and worked hard at improving their skills.
Use correct fast bowling arm position
Most people use their right hand as a throwing handle when bowling, but this is not the best way to do it! Using your left hand as a thrower is much better because you lower your elbow slightly as you throw, which helps create more power in the ball.
Using your right hand as a thrower also places extra stress on your wrist because you have to push with every toss. This can cause injury or pain later on if you don’t work off-season on rolling properly. The same goes for using your forearm as a support – you should always use your whole upper body instead.
To achieve great success as a beginner bowler, try practicing each type of shot with just your left hand until you feel comfortable. Once you are, then you can move onto doing them with your right hand.
Use correct finger and ball position
When bowling, there is an important position you need to know how to use your fingers in. This position has three major parts: up, down, and side. The number one rule about using this position is that they must be parallel to the ground.
When your index finger is at a high position, then it is not parallel to the ground. You will never get the right amount of torque or speed with this hand position. Your forearm also needs to be fully extended so that your upper arm can rotate as well.
Your middle finger should be able to rest comfortably next to your ring finger without being pressed into the palm. This way your little and pinky fingers have space to move freely. Your thumbs should be hanging low enough so that when you roll the balls they do not hit them before they are completely curled up.
If these things look like they are beyond you then start practicing slowly! No matter what kind of bowler you want to be, you need to understand the basics first.
Use right fast bowling speed
The first thing that makes some bowlers faster is their ability to use a proper amount of quick, lightning-quick speed. This article will talk about how to determine your ideal bowling speed and what tools you can use to find it!
The easiest way to identify your personal best bowling speed is by practicing your roll. Once you have mastered this skill, you can add more balls onto the lane as you strive for your top speed.
Practice rolling a ball as hard as you can while keeping time under 250 milliseconds (a millisecond is one thousandth of a second). This takes around five minutes to perfect!
Once you have this down, you can slowly increase the pace until you reach your top speed.
Understand your opponent
The second part of fast bowling is understanding your opponents. This includes knowing how they like to be pitched, what types of bats they prefer, if they have any weaknesses, and more importantly, how much time you should spend on each bowler.
In my experience as an off-spinner, it seems that most top level batsmen become distracted by me very quickly. I’ve even heard stories about some players asking for a new bat after being hit in the head with a ball!
This can cost them big points or even lose a match for their team. If you notice this happening, try to distract them or change the subject. For example, ask whether they want something hot or cold, tell a funny story, or just say “good luck tomorrow” and walk away!
For instance, during our World Cup semi-final last year (England v Australia), I noticed Alastair Cook was looking quite stressed out. So I asked him if he wanted milk or water – his answer? A glass of milk! He laughed hysterically for several seconds before getting back into the game.
Know the pitch well
The first thing that will make you fast is knowing how to throw the ball really hard. What kind of pitcher are you? Are you a power pitcher, or more of an accuracy pitcher? If it’s the former then you need to know what the hardest pitch is in order to get the most speed out of your arm.
The easiest way to determine this is by looking at the baseball field. Find the back edge of the outfield fence and see where the ground rises up towards it. This is called the uphill line.
Now, find the biggest hill in the infield and use that as a reference point. Then, measure the angle between those two points. That will tell you which direction the mound slopes down towards the batter.
Once you have determined the downhill slope, you can now work backwards to figure out what type of pitch it is!
You want to know if it’s a screwball, slider, split-finger fastball, etc. There are different types of balls that break away from the hitter slightly differently so they require different pitches. By studying these, you will be able to learn some tricks to improve your bowling speed.
Concentrate on your fast bowling
When it comes down to it, there is not much that sets great bowlers apart from good ones. What makes someone feel tall as they walk around the field or what makes them feel confident in their abilities are usually things like rhythm, timing, and perception.
All three of these depend heavily on how well you know the game of cricket. The more you understand the rules and the games, the better you will be at guessing what the next play might be and knowing when to use which tactic.
That last one is important because some strategies require you to wait for an opponent to make a mistake before using yours. It may sound hard, but I assure you that most people who consider themselves professional cricketers were spending hours studying the game before they could really get going.