Skip this bit and scroll down if you're looking for general info regarding Leg Break bowling.
If you follow this, my other blogs, my Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/someblokecalleddave1 and my thoughts on spin here - http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/f328/ you'll know that having suffered from the 'Googly Syndrome I've had to work hard to recover my Leg Break, but having recovered it and having an exceptionally good season in 2009 I'm having a rubbish season this year that is so bad I don't even record my scores!
Recently on the http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/f328/ I mentioned the fact that maybe the reason I've bowled so badly this year is due to the fact that in the first game of the season I was smashed out of the county going to 11 runs an over and not taking any wickets. I think at that point I almost gave up on the season and then suffered an almost similar pasting in the following 2 games which buried my season for the rest of the year. Although having said that, part of the problem has been that the teams I've played in have been seriously mis-matched with the Sunday 2nd XI friendly team being pitted against teams with as many as 2 or 3 1st XI League batsmen in, looking to get their figures nice and healthy at the start of the season! As the season has gone on though it has improved although I still haven't played in a match where we've won yet!
So, overall though the conclusion I've come to is that I need to up my game and have something a bit special in the event that I'm pitted against 1st team batsmen who are looking to score 4's and sixes off me. The conclusion is I need to be able to pull the Big Leg-Break out of the bag and bowl it with a degree of confidence.
I know the theory, I've read the books, watched videos and discussed it till the cows have come home ad infinitum. I've even made videos instructing others http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zob1Md0HVqs but I can't produce it over 22 yards myself. Over 22 yards what comes out is a Wrong Un.
At different periods over the last year and half since recovering my leg break I've spent short and promising periods where I've looked as though I might be getting the 'Biggun' together only to have my enthusiasm smashed by the return of Googly Syndrome. But recently I've returned to the idea of working on the 'Biggun' primarily due to watching the Richie Benaud videos that are now on-line uploaded by one of the blokes on the bigcricket forum 'Golden Arm' http://topspincricket.blogspot.com/2010/06/mcc-masterclass-leg-spin-with-richie.html in the video Benaud talks about committing to 4 years to learn the Leg-Breal properly, so with that in mind I'm now taking a far more purposeful approach to learning the Biggun......
In the video link above you'll see that I talk about and demonstrate the 'Big Flick' which is required to get the ball really spinning fast and at the correct seam angle to flight. I've always been able to do this over short distances and practice this outside my house against a bit of wall across 10 yards and doing this I can produce enormous turn with any ball. The conclusion seems to be with less effort across shorter distances I can maintain the wrist and finger integrity to produce the correct release with the combined wrist and finger flick. But as soon as I try this over longer distances it goes awry.
With the need to have something special and having such a bad season and Benauds 'Four years' ringing in my ears, I'm trying a more considered approach and looking at a longer game in the same way that I approached over-coming the Googly Syndrome.
Past experience has shown me that I can produce this ball albeit with limited accuracy over 17 yards. Historically I've had some success and then quickly moved to 18 yards, 19 yards and so on and then it's gone wrong. So currently all of my practice is 99% committment to the 'Biggun' over 15 yards and it seems to be working.
In addition as Philpott advocates (and I've found works with other deliveries), I spend as much time with the ball simply flicking it in the manner that puts back-spin on the ball that facilitates the 'Biggun'. This builds 'Muscle memory' and trains your brain to maintain the wrist and finger flick when you bowl, do it enough and it becomes an automatic response and you begin to build muscles and flexibility in the areas of the wrist and arm where it's required.
One of the down-sides to wrist spinning as many of us know is the accuracy factor, which I'm loathed to disregard. Accuracy for me is as important as the ability to turn the ball, so alongside the increase in turn I'm only ever going to accept that ability to turn the ball so much more if I can still land the ball in a desired area, for me this will be in the short term through the red zone in this image of the Paddock where I practice.
Primarily I'd be looking to get the ball landing in-line with the stumps, but wouldn't be too fussed if it was outside of off-stump during my practice. Today somewhat surprisingly even though I've only put in around 3 - 4 hours of practice with the Biggun over 17 yards which is my starting distance my frequency with bowling in-line with the stumps has been around 90% which is a great start. This evening I had 45 minutes of work in the paddock and only put 5 balls down the legside 2 wrong uns and 3 that were off-target that didn't turn. The rest all either turned exceptionally well or went straight and I'm happy for them to be straight 30% of the time as this creates a sense of being bowled variations.
So with only 2 days of sticking to the plan I'm already reaping rewards it seems. I noted that there was a couple of things that seemed to help a lot with the whole thing. Today in the last spell of bowling I adopted a Total Focus approach with the last two overs and bowled superbly with 11 out of the 12 balls doing exactly what I wanted and turning far bigger than I normally get the ball to turn. Again, this is something that Philpott advocates again and again in his book and is something I've neglected in both my practice and games, maybe to my detriment? The other thing I found was that it was useful - maybe even imperitive to throw the ball into the air above my head with an outstretched arm mimicking the manner in which I was going to bowl, just checking to see that the flick was working and that the ball was leaving the hand in the right way above my head. Doing this a couple of times and then going into the bowling with the total focus produced the results that I wanted.
Previously I've always been impatient and started to lengthen the delivery gagging to get it to 22 yards and it's never worked. I've also varied the deliveries and bowled my normal stuff as soon as there was a some lapse in results. This time I'm remaining focused and I'm sticking with the 17 yard approach for at least another couple of days, then I'll go to 18 and spend 4 or 5 days bowling 18 yards and then review my progress. Updates can be found here - http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/t76377-2/