Saturday, September 25, 2010

Googly Syndrome

I'm convinced I coined the phrase 'Googly Syndrome' and if you look it up on the internet most - if not all of the references to it link to my blogs or this forum. I'm looking forward to the day when I first hear it used by a TV commentator!

So what is the Googly Syndrome?

Serious commentators on the subject of Wrist Spin - Grimmett, Philpott, Jenner, Benaud and Warne all refer to it, in that they advise that when you turn to learning the Googly (Wrong Un) you do so with an awareness that you run the risk of losing your leg break. The don't go as far as giving it a name as I have done, but they warn that you should practice it in short periods, going back to your Leg Break frequently to check to see if it's still working okay.

One of the great bowlers and I can't remember which one, or it may even be Woolmer, claims that the Googly is an easier and far more natural way to bowl a ball over-arm. Therefore if you start out with the Googly or you over-do the Googly when you start to learn it, your muscle memory ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_memory ) is programmed to bowl in that way. If you already had a Leg Break, too much work with the Googly will suit your bodies neural processes and a new neural map will be drawn up over-writing to a great degree the neural processes for the Leg Break. My own observations having had the 'Googly Syndrome' and just observing human behaviour is that much of the time we and our bodies will have a tendency to adapt to easier conditions or options. So in bowling the Googly the new neural map is readily drawn up and you often find that you produce an amazingly good googly that is faster and turns far more readily.

The Leg Break, our stock ball on the other hand is a difficult ball to bowl but as wrist spinners we're encouraged and told that is the action that we must learn first. The motor learning involved in bowling the leg break is very complex and subject to far more complex neural processes, hence the difficulties that most of us have in getting the basics mastered. So the body/brain it seems when subjected to the process of learning the Googly quickly adapts to it and over-writes all the work we did trying to bowl leg breaks.

So, if like me you've gone through the process of learning the Googly to the detriment of your Leg Break, you'll find that you can no longer bowl a leg break and no matter how hard you try the ball will just spin away to the off-side. Here's the answer.

How to recover your leg break

1. You've got to stop bowling the Googly. Don't worry, when you come back to it in a couple of months it'll still be there, remember it's the natural option of the 2 methods and you know how to bowl it now.
2. Only attempt leg breaks.
3. Bowl the leg break by over-exaggerating the wrist position. Turn the wrist so that it feels like you are going to bowl with a Karate Chop action. You need to physically set your arm and wrist, think and visualise that as you bring the arm over you are doing so in a way that the batsman will see the side of your hand and not your palm.

The reality is because you're neural map is so well written for the Googly all your attempts up to this point to bowl out of the front of the hand have meant that so far as your arm has come over your head, your muscle memory is so well defined and programmed that you are still bowling out of the back of your hand. You have now got to bowl what feels like a Karate Chop action in order that you bowl out of the front of the hand so that the spin and seam presentation is such that you produce a leg break. This may not happen over-night, it took me 8 months of bowling in the closed season 1-2 hours a week to rectify, but I got there in the end, but no-one was giving me any advice and I had to discover the Karate Chop thing through trial and error. Other people that I've explained the Karate Chop thing to that have had the Googly Syndrome for months and years have corrected it much faster - days and weeks in some cases.

See the video below..........


YouTube - Googly Syndrome.wmv

Good Luck