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It's going to be the case that you'll have your ups and downs, one week you'll bowl okay and the following week you'll bowl really badly. It's happened to me many times before and this week I've had a shocker going for 7 an over and not taking any wickets, although having said that I dropped a dolly off of my own bowling which was short of tragic as the bloke was on 40 odd and went on to score over a 100!. So what can you do when this happens?
In a lot of professions and possibly within sport at much higher levels, their may be the option of reflecting on the reason you've done so badly using a professional tool - "Reflection practice models" such as the Gibbs method which you may have seen on the blog elsewhere. Basically it's a list of prompts that you can use to be brutally honest about what the problem is.
So in the instance of my recent performance, I would start at the top and work round the cycle in a clockwise direction...
Description (what happened). I bowled really badly, primarily not able to bowl the ball on a good enough line and length. It was getting turn off the wicket, so was spinning the ball well enough and my run-up was a disaster - stuttering and varying the length during the overs.
Feelings (What were you thinking and feeling)? I need to stop bowling as the team is suffering here, but then the next over, there'd be an improvement and occasionally I'd beat the bat or find the edge only for it to go into a gap. Also afterwards I was thinking I've got to look at making some fundamental changes to what I do - primarily my run up.
Evaluation (what was good and bad)? As mentioned there were a few good overs where the ball did land where it was supposed to and spun and caused problems. Bad - wides, too short, too full - generally inaccurate.
Analysis (What else can you make of the situation)? Earlier in the season I'd bowled really well off a fairly fast approach to the crease off of a short run up combined with a fairly side-on delivery out of a conventional bound. This all ended with an Achilles injury, that I've still not 100% recovered from. Given my age 55 (Just a few weeks ago) I then reconsidered my approach to the crease looking at the way that Terry Jenner bowls in his demo's that are on-line. This is a lot slower, but I've seen plenty of old blokes my age bowl very slow finger spin and yet take wickets and be very economic too.
Since then I have tried this and this was the approach I used in the game, but I did notice and have noticed previously that I seem to be too "Chest-on".
Conclusion (What else could I have done). Given the situation, there wasn't a lot I could have done other than gave up earlier, any remedial work or changes needed to be done in a practice environment. I did try bowling flippers and Top-Spinners, but they were equally poor.
Action Plan (What am I going to do now to rectify the situation)? I've looked at other bowlers who have a fairly short and measured approach to the crease including Beau Casson and then noticed again his action through the crease and the necessity to get side-on, in particular... so side-on that you look over the outside of your arm. I then realised that this isn't something I've been aware that I've been doing recently - certainly not since the Achilles injury.
So this evening I bowled as I have been and sprayed it around all over the place. I then focused on landing with my foot at a right angle to the direction I'm bowling and looking to get my body shape so that I look over my shoulder when my leading arm is up just prior to pulling down. The affect was immediate - much better accuracy 70% improvement and far better length again 70% improvement if not more and it seemed to be spinning more and turning off the wicket more.
Continue with the same practice - looking to groove this action through the crease over the coming 6 days leading up to next Saturday.
*******In conclusion, if things do go awry and you're not sure about what it is that is going wrong you could adopt the use of the Gibbs reflective practice model to work through the problem and identify the issue? If you've got video capabilities - try and get a mate or use a tripod (Make sure it's steady) to record a few examples of your bowling action and look at the footage to try and identify the problem. If you can't see the problem, upload it to Youtube and join the big cricket spin bowling forum here and get the blokes on there to have a look.
Some of the simple things that you can do or look at include...
Over - rotation.
Failing to get side-on out of your bound.
Failing to get up on your toes during your pivot.
Not following through
Remedial action and methods to 'Re-align' yourself include the use of video as mentioned above or a really simple process is to re-calibrate your bowling by using the stand-start technique advocated in the Beau Casson/David Freedman video here
Check out my main Blog here http://www.mpafirsteleven.blogspot.co.uk/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRalbzmKIEM (Stuart MacGill).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsE_emWTP4Q (Stuart MacGill & Shane Warne).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFfcCsQyqpw (Shane Warne tactics and strategies).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA7YC7SF71Q (Terry Jenner).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM9UpUV3fHM (Terry Jenner 5 x grips)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFwhAsoax7w (Shane Warne slo-mo release)
The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling, (Peter Philpott, Crowood Press, Marlborough, 1988).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW1fRPqsa-A - (Richie Benuad grip & hardness).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyHX7GsrMlo - (Shane Warne Grip)
http://www.pitchvision.com/how-to-coach-more-spin-into-spinners#comment-2778800 - (Mark Garraway - Hip rotation).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC5aElnH4Zk (Shane Warne explaining stuff + slo mo footage of release).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMOzzBgwlNk (Simon Hughes analysing Warne's bowling 2005 ashes test + slow mo footage of top-spinner and leg break).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhnPiWob0QI (Beau Casson guidance).
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/camera-interviews-tich-freeman (Titch Freeman's bowling action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqxbF4dvQpE - Starters tutorial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8BwlY9Umdg - Ball by ball Shane Warne Gabba 1994. Worth watching again and again to see how he goes about his work.
http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/22/daniel-goleman-focus-10000-hours-myth/ - training - how long is this going to take aspects.
http://www.bigcricket.com/community/threads/wrist-spin-bowling-part-two.41774/page-10 - (Big Cricket forum).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFfcCsQyqpw - SKY TV master class with Shane Warne talking tactics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGTCtd0ZSLU Big Warnie - psychology
http://adsoftheworld.com/sites/default/files/styles/media_retina/public/images/bigwarnie.jpg?itok=MkUMt972 - Big Warnie adverts/media
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhnPiWob0QI Beau Casson bowling and guidance/tutorial.
http://www.espncricinfo.com/county-cricket-2015/content/story/917767.html - English spinners don't practice enough - Jeetan Patel.