Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Leg Spin Bowling - Strength, Agility, Fitness and Body

Leg Spin Bowling - Strength, Agility, Fitness and Body

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Body and Fitness

I can't remember who said this, but it was on the big cricket forum and it rings true. "You can't fire a cannon ball from a canoe". As soon as I started bowling I started to hear the term 'Core Strength' primarily from people who work with biomechanics and are in the game of training people to be better at their sports. It was a new thing to me, but I listened and read and it made complete sense to me and in essence their point is the one made by the cannon/canoe analogy.

Training, exercise and practice ideas (Mat)

I've now been doing this stuff for more than 8 years now and I'm still nowhere near where I'd like to be with my bowling, but at 54 years old, I've come to this far too late in life to make the kind advances I'd like to see happening, but until health and fitness evades me I'm going to continue practicing and trying to work out what it's all about!

But if you're younger than me like that youngster currently in the IPL who got his break when he was 40 odd years old, you've got the opportunity to make an impact in the games you play. The key thing is to practice all of the time and to maintain and keep your fitness up to enable you to perform at your best.

When I started out I bowled everywhere and anywhere that I could and I bowled almost every day (have a look back through this blog). My wife and most people I knew thought I was nuts and a lot of the time I must have looked like a nutter! I would bowl in playgrounds at night under floodlights using hockey balls, anywhere where there was a bit of flat grass as soon as the ground was hard enough I'd be bowling proper cricket balls. Every opportunity that I could I would bowl and that to some extent still is my mantra, it's just that I've now created a situation that's easier to access and use and I only look like a nutter to the people who live near me! If I could and it's only that my garden is small, I would almost certainly have a couple of wickets in my back yard along with some form of net to practice in daily a la' Clarrie Grimmett.

Fitness - I'm relative fit and lucky in that I'm a mesomorph in terms of body type, so that means that as long as I don't drink or eat excessively it's pretty easy for me to gain muscle prior to the season and get fit again after a few months of resting over the winter here in the UK. I'm not someone that has ever visited a gym and the idea of going to a gym seems bizarre to me when you can work on your fitness easily for free. I've always been interested in fitness and I've always been quite competitive and aware that I've got very good levels of stamina, I think these things have been useful with regards to bowling and playing cricket and put me in good position with regards a starting point. In addition the fact that I've got two sons that are at this point 13 and 16 years old, I have plenty of reason and excuses to do the things I do!

So a year of cricket with regards fitness kind of goes like this...

December; Here in the UK the end of November sees the weather consistently cold, days are short, it rains a lot and the chances of getting outside and even having a knock about in the street are very limited, although at the weekend if the temperature is above 8 degrees or so, me and one of my sons would have half an hour of batting and bowling in the street. But December sees very limited exercise and I have a break from playing.  Over the Christmas holiday we might book a sports hall and have a an hour a week bowling, batting and fielding as well. The only other thing I might do is the occasional 10 press-ups.

January; Nothing happens rarely go out and have a knock about as it's too cold.

February; Winter nets at the club start, so running up to that I might start regular press-ups and I'll do batches of ten throughout the day, meaning I may be doing 30 press-ups a day and I'll do plank exercises in the evening. I also do an exercise that targets the deltoid muscles in the upper arm as these I find are used a lot in my bowling and without this exercise I come away from bowling spells suffering a bit. Since discovering this video this hasn't been an issue and I combine this exercise with my press-ups.

March; Throughout March I just slowly increase the frequency and how many reps I do in each batch. By mid March we're outside in the street bowling again with windballs and therefore running in and pivoting and starting to get some agility and cardio work going and as the weather improves this becomes more frequent. I also do some Yoga and cycling when I can - very limited a 20 minute circuit which involves a very steep hill and I use a single speed fixie type bike with a mid range gear ratio so that the hill is hard work.

I also use a wobble/balance board for my knees/balance and core strength. I do an exercise on my pivot foot similar to this vid here performed by the ballet dancer, I hold my other foot pulled up behind my buttocks while balancing on the ball of my foot and this stretches my quadriceps (See video below...

Quadriceps basic exercise...
I also do this one above without the wobble board and another series of stretches and exercises that help with strengthening the knee. These all increase in frequency as the season approaches, but I do it all pretty sporadically depending on how I feel. I just kind of do it to stay supple and fit and enable me to be able to play a 6 hour game without suffering injuries. The other thing I've learned as well is that, if you're doing any of this - including longer spells of practicing with your bowling - if you get to a point where it's starting to cause pain you're probably best off stopping and resting for a day or so. Watch out especially when you're bowling/throwing for your shoulder muscles especially your Rotator Cuff, it's worth having a little knowledge about this one, as if you over do it when bowling/throwing, the outcome can be that you could finish off your bowling career. This one can be looked after using stretch bands and specific exercises that target that particular muscle set.

All of this requires 'Core Strength' and this is one of the key areas I work on all year round in varying degrees and I frequently use this set of reps in the way that these blokes demonstrate here, but I also vary the planks in a number of ways.

These blokes also have some quick work-outs for cardio/stamina which are hard work at the start of the year, but going through March and April I do some of these occasionally.

April; The weather's dry and we're out in the paddock bowling all the time, gradually building our fitness. We at this stage start doing cricket specific drills based around some of the idea you'll see in the book SAQ cricket by Alan Pearson.

These combine stamina and agility drills with catching and fielding skills. Typically one of my sons and I do this after a session of bowling

More content at my may Blog  (Stuart MacGill). (Stuart MacGill & Shane Warne). (Shane Warne tactics and strategies). (Terry Jenner). (Terry Jenner 5 x grips) (Shane Warne slo-mo release)
The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling, (Peter Philpott, Crowood Press, Marlborough, 1988). - (Richie Benuad grip & hardness). - (Shane Warne Grip) - (Mark Garraway - Hip rotation). (Shane Warne explaining stuff + slo mo footage of release). (Simon Hughes analysing Warne's bowling 2005 ashes test + slow mo footage of top-spinner and leg break). (Beau Casson guidance). (Titch Freeman's bowling action. - Starters tutorial - Ball by ball Shane Warne Gabba 1994. Worth watching again and again to see how he goes about his work. - training - how long is this going to take aspects. - (Big Cricket forum).  - SKY TV master class with Shane Warne talking tactics. Big Warnie - psychology - Big Warnie adverts/media Beau Casson bowling and guidance/tutorial. - English spinners don't practice enough - Jeetan Patel.