Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paddock News

I haven't said a lot about the paddock of late, but a week or so it was looking in very good condition, with that expensive grass that I'd invested in with the nutrients mixed in with the seed doing very well. The growth is thick and lush and looks as though it's very well established and in a very short period of time. Today though we had some snow, in fact we had a lot of snow considering it's only November, more than the 1980's when we used to get snow quite a bit, but this was good quality snow and lots of it.
With the quality of the snow being so good we went for Igloo MK2 and had a go at improving on the previous version from last January. We didn't get it finished, but we'll be back on it again with Mk3 and we've got plans in place for a more successful outcome.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back yard cricket

Had a knock about yesterday as you may have read in the previous blog and I need to post up the bowling outcomes. I've backed-off with the insistence that we keep practicing all through the winter and we've started to play Badminton instead after a discussion about over-kill on one of the forums. So at the minute there's very little cricket going on with my lads and yesterday was the first time we'd picked up bats on balls for 2 weeks. Me - I still flick the ball and get outside and spin the ball up against walls and bowl whenever I get a chance.


Here's the running total -
Here's some shots of Ben and joe looking a bit knackered after and hour and half of Badmintion. They (especially Ben) would say that they like Badminton more than cricket, but I'm hoping that's just because of the novelty factor. The badminton is on-going for the forsee-able future and I can't see that the weather will offer any encouragement for cricket so I'm quite happy that the Badminton carries on and the cricket fades away a bit, meaning that when winter nets resumes they'll be up for it. My only worry is that not practicing, they may be disappointed with their performance when they come back to it?




Saturday, November 20, 2010

Left Handers Freak me out!

Bloody left handed batsmen! Jesus they freak me out. Despite the fact it's the end of November we're still getting out on the odd ocassion with the bat and ball just have a bit of a knockabout and we did so today with my mate Thomas from way back in the day when this blog was first conceived. He doesn't play cricket and hasn't picked up a bat in years, but he recently knackered his knee (Football) and has been scratching around for a game to play where he's not going to be chopped down whilst having a friendly game, so he's looking at picking up where he left off a few years back. He's a leftie, bowls pretty good Chinaman Leg Breaks ocassionally - but the thing he enjoys is batting as he's got very good eye to ball coordination and he gets on to the ball late and quick. He has no technique, but against my slow bowling and the fact that he's left handed he takes me to pieces!

So today having got a few years of bowling under my belt and trying to ignore the fact that Left - Handers are my nemisis, I thought I might be able to get one over on him? No such luck! I'm going to make some excuses - it was wet and therefore I wasn't getting a lot of grip under-foot and......... No, that's it - one excuse.

Seriously though the Leg Breaks weren't working, he was just waiting to see where they were going and how much turn they had on them and just stepping back and hooking them out to the gap between square leg and Mid wicket ALONG THE GROUND!!! The wrong uns looked as though they'd be okay and I got a couple past him, but on reflection, maybe my length wasn't that good either. Thinking about it - mixing it up a bit may have paid off - Top-Spinners and Flippers right on the stumps might be an option? I'm hoping he's up for some more, because the more I bowl at Lefties the better and he's a much faster bowler than my sons and there's scope for my batting to improve.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grip, flick and release

Another updated section of the revamped blog - still work in progress but with a lot more information and ideas.


Leg Spin bowling - The Grip
From the No.1 Leg Spin web page - http://legspinbowling.blogspot.com/ the new updated section in progress.

This is work in progress being edited frequently.

The Grip, flick and release

The Wrist Spinners grip across all the variations is pretty much the same and conforms to a basic template. This grip (As seen below diagram 1) is referred to by Shane Warne as the 2 fingers up, 2 fingers down technique as seen here below.

Two Fingers Up – Two Fingers Down

Dependent on the size of your hands in relation to the ball size, your own grip may not match this image. Indeed the idea of the 2 up 2 down finger configuration is a template for a basic starting point. Many people bowl with slightly different looking grips, but in a roundabout manner they are normally modelled on this version. All of the Key Wrist Spinners say that, there is no regulation grip and that if people grip the ball in a slightly idiosyncratic manner and still get the ball to produce a good leg break they shouldn't really mess with their technique. But, if you're starting as a beginner in the art of Wrist Spinning, this image above will serve as a good starting point.

The 3rd Finger – Contact on the Ball

The most important aspect of the grip though is the position of the 3rd finger on the seam. It's the 3rd finger and its contact with the seam that is used to impart the spin on the ball. When you release the ball in the bowling action, your 3rd finger is the last point of contact as it's flicked from the hand using that finger to put the revs on the ball. The contact therefore needs to be deliberate and positive and along the seam. In fact if you experiment with this using any ball, the more contact you get on the ball with the finger the better. If you have bigger hands and longer fingers there’s potential for you to be able to produce more revs? The principle being similar to that of wrapping the string round a spinning top and pulling it, the longer the string the more contact with the top as it’s pulled. A short length of string would only impart a limited amount of whip on the top, in the same way as shorter stubbie fingers would only allow limited contact with the ball before it finally leaves the end of the fingers. The remaining '2 Up' fingers go across the seam. The thumb generally rests on the ball having varying amounts of contact differing from one person to another. Again, depending on each individuals grip and the way that they release the ball, some people may find that their thumb is lesser or more important in the grip and release, but generally the thumb plays very little part in the action.

How hard do you grip the ball?

Most of the advice with regards the grip and how hard you should grip it is standard - in that you shouldn't grip the ball too hard. The logic behind this advice is that when you execute your Leg Break correctly – as a whole body action, the bowling action is usually performed in a smooth fluid motion where all of your 'Levers' work in unison with each other to deliver the ball. Tension within the bowling action at any point tends to lead to problems with inaccuracy and the classic dragging of the ball down short. So a tight grip on the ball is seen to be non-productive and potentially a cause of problems with your bowling.

Where in the hand should the ball sit?

With regards how and where the ball sits in your hands - especially if you have large hands will be down to trial and error. I personally use differing positions in the hand to affect variations. I bowl a smaller turning ball that is bowled faster using a slightly harder grip, much higher in the fingers pretty much as in the image above (A). But my basic Leg Break is bowled with the ball lower in the hand and sitting cupped loosely in the palm. This aspect of your bowling is well worth examining, especially if you’re not getting it to turn that well and you feel all the other aspects of your bowling action are pretty sound.

Variants of the Leg Break

The Leg Break we understand is our primary weapon against the Batsman and is described as our Stock Ball meaning that this is the ball that we bowl the majority of the time in our pursuit of wickets. But being our Stock Ball this doesn’t mean that the Leg Break is a one dimensional delivery that is bowled in exactly the same way each time. The Leg Break, once mastered has an array of subtle variations that on their own will suffice against most batsman and it’s these subtleties that stand as an argument for there not being a case for spending months if not years, learning all the other variations such as Top-Spinners, Wrong Un’s and Sliders.

At this juncture I’m going to somewhat controversially suggest that the Leg Break as a variation is a ball that is released from the hand with the scope to be directed in a range of directions through almost 180 degrees. At either end of the 180 degree range you have two of your other variations the Top-Spinner and the Slider. This proposition is met with derision in most quarters, but you have only got to get yourself a ball that has some grip attributes to simulate a seam and throw the ball forwards with angled backspin on it and you’ll see the potential for massive turn. Grimmett understood the potential for the amount of ‘Break’ to vary through a span of 90 degrees back in 1930 when he wrote in ‘Getting Wickets’……….

The amount of break and swerve (Drift) may be regulated, but it requires years of practice. The principle of regulation of the break or swerve seems simple, but its application is much less easy. If a bowler wants to make the ball break from the leg, he must propel it in the direction of the batsman, at the same time turning or rolling the ball over his fingers in the direction of the slips.

If he holds the ball so that the seam comes in contact comes in contact with his first two fingers and his thumb, and holds his arm out at 45 degrees from his body, he will find that the seam will point practically straight down the wicket. As a further guide to what is meant, the palm of the hand would be facing mid –on, level with the bowlers wicket. If the ball were twisted or spun, so that the seam went round like a hoop, he would find that the ball would not break, but go straight through. It would however, have what is called “Overspin” and, after striking the pitch gather pace as the spin took effect.

Go a step farther by assuming the previous position, but, instead of having the palm of the hand facing mid-on, shift the seam so that it is pointing towards the slips. If the ball is now twisted, the spin will be in the direction of the slips while travelling through the air. Consequently, after pitching, it will change its direction to that which the seam is revolving – towards the slips. We therefore have a Leg Break, and so the farther the wrist is brought round, until the palm of the hand is facing the batsman at the moment the ball leaves the hand, the bigger the break which thus can be controlled; the maximum is when the palm of the hand faces the batsman, giving a spin directly across the line of flight.

Grimmetts explanation alludes to the limits of the Leg Break being restricted to a variation of 90 degrees, ranging from the Top-Spinner to the Leg Break bowled so that the ball spins from the hand rotating at right angles to its direction of flight. It appears that at this point Grimmett was either ignorant of the potential for the back-spinning slider or disregarded it, so Grimmett fails to pick up on the possibility of turning the wrist further still from the perpendicular spinning Leg Break to one that is delivered with increasing degrees of backspin moving towards being a Slider.

Grimmett then goes on to explain how these principles can be demonstrated by the Lay Person by putting spin on the ball by –

The ball is held between the finger and the thumb, and I spin it or twist it a short distance – say, eight or ten yards. The method of spinning is similar to that used in clicking the finger and thumb to attract attention. It is possible to make the ball do four different things with exactly the same spin, simply by holding the wrist in a different position.

This is the first recorded description by anyone of the Flipper and furthermore Grimmett describes it in 4 different variants – Top, Leg, Off and back-spinner. (Page 59-60 Getting wickets). It strikes me as being unusual that Grimmett describes a method of projecting the ball forwards and being able to spin the ball in all directions (Round the loop) including backwards and no doubt with differing degrees of backspin and side spin, but seemingly fails to see its potential. Grimmett would conduct demonstrations at the drop of a hat using table tennis balls showing the results of his experiments with the spinning ball and how it reacted when coming into contact with a surface. Surely Grimmett would have observed the affects of the combination of forward motion with back and sidespin as this is the combination that produces the most dramatic side-spin combined with stalling and the Sliding In - characteristic of the Slider and the Big Leg Break? But we’ll come back to this theory later in this section.

From Grimmetts ‘Getting Wickets’ 1930…………….

If a bowler wants to make the ball break from the leg, he must propel it in the direction of the batsman, at the same time turning or rolling the ball over his fingers in the direction of the slips.

Rolling or Ripping?

As there is so little written on the subject of Wrist Spinnning other than Grimmetts 3 books, Philpotts Bible and the more recent tome written by Bob Woolmer which references Grimmett and his genius, there’s little of the potential discussion around rolling the ball off the fingers and ripping the ball out of the fingers. I heard recently that the two distinctly differing techniques were attributable to being The English way and the Australian way. Rolling being the English approach and ripping being the Aussie approach. My research would suggest the idea of ripping the ball out of the fingers isn’t something that is so Australian that it goes back as far as Grimmett and that maybe it’s a fairly new approach. The idea of the rolling being the English approach comes from a book by or about Ian Peebles which was written back in, so this would then suggest that Ripping The ball off the fingers goes back at least that far and without having read any of the biographies/autobiographies of all the Wrist Spinners I’m ignorant as to when this may have been first mentioned?

The modern mantra is the Australian way, as soon as you pick the ball up with the intention of being a Wrist Spinner you should be looking to rip the ball out of the fingers spinning it hard. The advice is that spinning the ball hard is first and foremost and that issues such as line, length, flight are secondary to the ability to get the ball spinning.

Peter Philpott in ‘The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’

Every chance you get, spin a ball – tennis ball, cricket ball, table tennis ball, hockey ball. Any ball. Apples and oranges should be spun too. Spin them a hundred times before you eat them, and they’ll always taste a little better! Spin the ball in front of the television. Spin it in the garden. Spin it before you go to bed. Try to spin harder and harder. Try to feel what I mean when I say give it a real flick!

So now we’re looking at whether as individuals we’re Flickers or Rollers? When you start out unless of course you’re one of those exceptionally rare and gifted individuals, you’re more likely to be a Roller. There’s a lot of discussion on the Merits of learning as a Ripper as opposed to learning as a Roller. As a Roller you’re more than likely going to be able to make the ball break and land it on a reasonable line and length with a degree of practice, but then you’re going to reach a point in your development as a Wrist Spinner where you’re going to want to turn the ball more – you may have been dropped from your team or you may be seeing that you’re getting less overs, or your figures reflect the fact that you’re simply not an attacking bowler as a Wrist Spinner should be?

If you’re a good roller that incorporates all of the Wrist Spinners wider skills you’ll get by, but anyone looking to take their bowling to the next level needs to embrace the Australian mantra of Ripping the ball out of the fingers with a big flick. The downside is that for most, the dynamics of this action are such that the level of practice that is required to execute such a release with the control required to land the ball on the right line and length, are extraordinarily difficult taking many years to perfect.

Again from Philpott…

Now go away and bowl for a few years. Bowl anywhere – in the backyard, in the street, in the nets, in matches. Just bowl. And spin, spin, spin! And love it.

The consensus amongst higher levels of coaches and professional Wrist Spinners is that if you’re looking to become a spinner you should start out with the intention of bowling with the Big Flick, trying to put as many revs on the ball as is physically possible at the outset with very little regard for where the ball lands (Line and length). Rip the ball first and work on all the other aspects later.

Rolling and Ripping – Three different approaches

If you’re starting out on your own big Wrist Spinning adventure, you have to accept one thing and that is, it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to happen over night. Many hours will be required over a period of years as opposed to months and you’ll have to negotiate many barriers as you go along, one of which will be the ripper or roller conundrum.

Many people will come to the discipline from another bowling background and would have enjoyed an experience beforehand where they would have been able to bowl the ball on a reasonable line and length. I suspect that these converts will get on well with being rollers and they will find some pleasing results with being able to get the ball to turn off the wicket with relative ease. This next section will describe three different approaches that I’ve used in order to produce a Leg Break all of which work to some extent. I’m going to start with real Leg Break because as a purist this is what you should be aiming to do from the outset and I’ll be towing the party line on the big rip mantra…..

The real Leg Break with the big flick

My feeling is that with the improvement in communication over the last 40 years information is being disseminated more effectively and we’re all now aware of the potential of the Leg Break. In Grimmetts day his books and other written forms of communication would have been the way in which anyone trying to learn the art would have gleaned their information. Whereas for us in the internet age and with tele-visual communication systems, we’re all able to access footage of Shane Warnes ball to Mike Gatting and numerous balls thereafter. We know the potential and Warne has set the bench mark against which all of us will be judged. It’s that type of delivery that we’re all looking to be able to produce at will.

So, where did that ball come from? How did Shane Warne produce that ball? Why had no-one else prior to that moment done anything so amazing and how did he do it? Bob Woolmer in his book The Art & Science of Cricket hypothesises as to how the ball was delivered, looking at seam presentation, trajectory, speed and their impact on how the ball drifted through the air and why it turned so much. Much of it is basic Peter Philpott stuff, with the addition of some evidence gleaned from experiments conducted looking at the physics of spinning cricket balls and the impact of the seam on air-flow across the ball. Woolmers conclusion is that the ball was delivered with the seam almost perpendicular to the direction of flight, with the seam slightly angled forwards on the off-side but, the axis of the spinning seam wasn’t upright but angled backwards when seen from above. This aspect of having the seam angled backwards is integral in getting the ball to drift as much as it did and as late as it did. All of which when it comes down to it is pretty basic and straight out of Philpotts book apart from the axis of the seam in flight.

Peter Philpott……….

Stand side-on in a bowling position with left shoulder facing your target (Stumps). Now, using the Leg Break action we been employing, spin the ball square across the target from right to left – the direction of the spin would be towards point if the fieldsman were there. As the ball hits the ground, it will turn in the direction of the spin; but not square, not at right angles, for its forward momentum will decrease the angle of turn. But even so, this will be the largest angled Leg Break that you will try to have available in your repertoire. That is your ‘Big Leg Break’.

Philpott makes it clear in this description that he feels that there is no benefit from releasing the ball with perfect 90 degree seam presentation in relation to the direction of flight, yet, the illustrations that accompany the description show a perfectly presented 90 degree seam. Philpott clearly directs us to angle the seam towards point arguing that the ball will turn more effectively if the seam is already spinning in that direction. A 90 degree seam he tells us will be negated by the forward motion.

We therefore can conclude that if we’re aiming to bowl a Big Leg Break we need to be working with the seam almost bowling at 90 degrees to the direction of flight. It seems logical that the nearer we get to the 90 degree seam presentation the more likely the spin will be negated by the forward motion, but this is hypothesis that needs to be quantified by experimentation. In the shorter term a ball with a less extreme seam presentation is obviously going to give us lesser degrees of turn off the wicket and this gives us the potential to produce Leg Breaks of differing amounts of turn and therein lies one aspect of variation within one delivery.

The success of this delivery and its dynamic response on making contact with the wicket is down to how fast the ball is rotating……. How well you rip it from the fingers making it spin hard. So not only have you got to release the ball with some control over where the seam is pointing and how tilted forwards or backwards the seam is as it leaves the hand to effect drift, but you’ve also got to combine the violent flick of your wrist with the perfect timing and whiplash affect flicking the ball from the fingers ensuring that the contact time the balls seam has along the length of the fingers is extended for as long as possible in order to make best use of the Spinning Top whip affect.




In theory this is fine in execution it’s a tad more problematic.

Woolmer on the other hand





The real leg break requires the big flick. Look at the earlier explanations regarding the throwing of the ball from one hand to the other and the video on-line at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8wAzBKmgYM . As you work on this and get used to the feeling you’ll soon begin to develop an action where rather than just rolling your hand over and round the ball you’ll begin to produce an action more akin to a flick. hopefully this flick will incorporate the use of the 3rd finger, the wrist, the elbow and shoulder in putting the spin on the ball. Again the exact way in which this is done varies from person to person, some people note that the amount of work that the 3rd finger does is such that it produces blisters, Shane Warne apparently was able to produce his spin without having blisters or callouses at all. The important thing is that the flick is there. My own version creates an audible sound not unlike the Flippers click as the ball is flicked off my 3rd finger. In trying to understand the wrist flick and the role the 3rd finger plays my own experience is that the sensation that I have is that I’m primarily bowling the ball off the 3rd and 4th fingers, the rest of my hand apart from the wrist has very little involvement in getting the ball to spin, the thumb and the 2 up fingers only support the ball in holding the ball poised against the fingers that impart the spin.

To see the emphasis and action of the 3rd finger on the ball watch the two sequences of Shane Warne in this video in high quality (HQ). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x72rFy1YmU&feature=related

When learning this, note the sideways action of the ball being thrown from one hand across the body to the other right to left with the flick. This is the basis of the leg break with the big flick. This is the action that gives you the flick coupled with imparting spin off the 3rd finger.

Similarly with the other versions the hand still releases the ball with the *palm facing the batsman, the ball should leave the hand rotating anti-clockwise with the seam at right angles to the direction of flight so that when the ball hits the ground the seam bites and propels the ball towards the off-side away from it’s expected trajectory. You may find that with this variation that your thumb is instrumental in some way and holds the ball in the hand so that the ball is tucked up ready against the 3rd finger on release as the ball is released the hand closes around the thumb. With all these slight variations and approaches there is one consistent aspect and that’s the position of the wrist on release. The underside of your wrist with the veins needs to be
facing the batsman on release.

The grip therefore is important in getting the ball to spin in the way that wrist spinners do. A good wrist spinner is able to impart so much spin on the ball that, as it flies through the air it hums


Here's a still from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EznP02ZQOWE where you can see that the last point of contact is Warnes 3rd finger.

Again below, but not quite so clear is this screen grab from the Cloverdale series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWYcuaTosc

Three Different Approaches to bowling this delivery

I suppose I should tow the party line on Wrist Spinning and advocate the Aussie way and say that it is of utmost importance to spin the ball hard and learn to do so before anything else. I've had discussions with many people about whether there is any merit in establishing first, whether you can actually bowl at all, e.g. straight and there are big differences in opinion. If, you read both Grimmetts and Philpotts books, the premise is that the books are for boys looking to bowl wrist spin, but there is a tacit understanding that, at the 1st stages in the process, your raw material is a boy that can bowl. I would still argue, that even before you start to try and spin the ball you should have a basic ability to bowl the ball seam up with a side on action and a regulation bound. This action should then enable you to get the ball to batsman with a degree of acceptable accuracy.

I would say that, if you're there you can then go forward with all the instructions with regards to spinning the ball hard. The foundations to your bowling are there and you can now build on them. I would imagine that if you've got those fundamentals already in place you're in a good position to go forwards



The Straight Ball with the drag off the 3rd finger
The Cocked Wrist with the straightening of the hand at release
The real leg break with the flick

The Straight Ball with the drag off the 3rd finger

If you are struggling with the Leg Break, one approach is to bowl the ball with the palm of the hand at the point of release facing the batsman. As the ball leaves the hand the last part of the hand that has contact with the ball is the 3rd finger and it’s this that imparts the spin. This approach seemingly doesn’t use any or minimal wrist action but still produces a small leg break with a good degree of bounce. Some people say that as you bring the ball over you should also have a feeling that you’re pushing the ball forward out of your hand rather than flinging it. Also try turning the wrist slightly clockwise so that your thumb comes round towards you and the little finger moves towards the bat so that the hand starts to move towards being in the Karate Chop position. You’ll notice that this small variation in the wrist position will affect the spin and the bounce. This approach would probably fit Philpotts description of you 'Rolling the ball' rather than ripping the ball out of the hand.

The unfurled cocked wrist approach

Many wrist spinners you’ll note will start with their wrists cocked at the start of the delivery and then release the ball with the hand in the ‘Traffic Cop’ position on release. Again if you’re having problems getting your Leg Break together this is an approach that you may want to explore that could potentially lead to a break through or an improvement. The unfurling of the cocked wrist to the ‘Traffic cop’ position with the palm facing the batsman on release involves a degree of wrist flick and incorporates the 3rd finger as the last point of contact on the ball thus producing the spin. You only have to do this gently over a couple yards so that you can step forward and catch the ball yourself and you can see how readily the ball comes out of the hand rotating perfectly with the seam rotating at right angles to the direction of flight. Again this isn't quite the 'Ripping' phase, but it's an intermediate approach that will produce a Leg Break for many people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZgFi9Q9gc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlWYcuaTosc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA7YC7SF71Q

At this point I need to mention anomalies in the ability to carry out complex motor activities despite the ability to mentally formulate the action. We've seen the need to present the hand in the manner as indicated by the images and we understand that in order to release the ball with the seam spinning approx 70-80 degrees to the direction of flight or thereabouts to obtain maximum turn off the wicket, there can be difficulties in executing this action. Without the use of high speed video recording we're unable to see exactly what it is we're doing as we release the ball. If your motor coordination is perfect, you're not going to have a problem, you'll release the ball in the manner as intended and it will spin in the direction as imparted by the flick and the position of the wrist. The subtleties of the wrist position dictate whether you're going to bowl the Leg Break with differing degrees of over-spin or side spin. If you're able to formulate the action prior to bowling and then execute the delivery with accuracy and consistency you've probably got extraordinarily good fine motor skills. I would suggest that if you do have this kind of control over your Leg Break you should follow all of the guidance with regards to learning how to bowl the Googly e.g. do so with due care and attention to your Leg Break, do not over do the learning of the leg break see http://www.bigcricket.com/forum/t79461/ The consequence of over doing it when learning the Googly is that you end up losing the Leg Break (Googly Syndrome) and my own anecdotal experience to date would suggest that it seems to have an extremely detrimental affect on your ability to contol your Leg Break release (Fine Motor skills). For further reference see the links at the bottom of the page with regards the grip.


The Grip and Release

As you’ll have read earlier there are schools of thought with regards the grip/release ideas, unfortunately it’s difficult to get real one to one coaching with a good wrist spinner, so like me a lot of us have to muddle through it as best we can and for the most part we do so and we get by. I’ve found that even if you’ve got someone within your club who also bowls wrist spin you’ll probably find that they’re either not that forthcoming with the info you’re after or that they’re simply not good teachers for one reason or another. The mantra when reading about the release is that of ‘Give it a big flick’ and to ‘Rip’ the ball off the fingers and not to roll it.

It’s at this point that we have to go back to the fact that all the experts and some amateurs like myself will tell you that you need to think of your development as a wrist spinner as a 4 year + project. Think also about the fact that when people like Benaud, Jenner, Warne talk about this time frame they are probably talking in terms of doing this in an Old Skool environment where you didn’t have the kind of distractions we have these days and that a lot of their spare time (Remember too these people are all Australians so have the weather for it) was probably spent developing their skills.

My suspicion is that the majority of Leg Spin bowlers that I’ve ever come across with the exception of one or two ‘Roll’ the ball off the fingers. Indeed if the truth be known I believe I’m a roller rather than Ripper of the ball the majority of the time, but I’ve never had anyone look at my bowling who has any credability and say ‘You really Rip your Leg Break’! Whereas my wrong un has prompted that kind of comment from Umpires and is evident in that as the ball leaves the fingers it snaps audibly.

So, you must aim to rip the ball out of the hand with your bowling action and make the ball spin. At this point I’m going to now talk about Motor Skills.

Motor Skills; This is the complex process of your brain communicating with your body (Limbs) effectively to produce coordinated movement.

So this now brings me back to the notion of ripping the ball from the hand putting maximum revs on the ball. Now here comes the contentious part. In Philpotts ‘Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’ he describes as best he can using text and stills images how to practice flicking the wrist to produce the Leg Break. He shows images of someone flicking the ball across the body from the right hand to the left using the 2 up 2 down grip, all the time focusing on giving it a good flick. The image and the explanation are straight forward and you can see quite easily once you start doing it what he means and over a period of weeks and months you go from rolling the ball over to really giving it a good flick. But in the same section he talks about using the same Big Flick to spin the ball from an outstretched arm inwards towards your chest. This inward flick he doesn’t dwell on at all, but just says to practice it alongside the flick across the body from right hand to left (See my video clip Legspin Bowling Drill No.2).

Philpott later in the book returns to the ‘Inward flick’ action as the final part of his Round the loop system to explain the variations. Grimmett used the exact same explanation back in 1930 in his book Getting Wickets and the basic premise is that the position of the wrist at the point of release is instrumental in producing the Wrist Spin variations. Philpott though more than most using the inward flick drill demonstrates what seems to be the little known method (I would argue the genuine version) of producing The Slider. If you’ve followed Philpotts round the loop advice, you’ll have understood that the variations in Wrist Spinning are a result of wrist presentation at the point of release, again on the internet, both Shane Warne and Terry Jenner focus on this to some extent in their videos on Legspin bowling, but they do not dwell on it at all and just rush through the explanations leaving gaping great holes in the information. It is only when you research further – Grimmett, Benaud, Philpott, Jenner, Woolmer and Warne using a broad range of information sources that you’re able to collate all the information and synthesise it and potentially come to the conclusion that I have.

The notion of spinning the ball inwards is not common-place, but then neither is Wrist Spinning where the bowler has the knowledge of all of the variations. Furthermore knowledge of the variations is one thing, but being able to execute the variations in a match situation with accuracy and length is virtually unknown. There’s a sequence to learning Wrist Spinning and because of the complexities of the discipline the perception that I have is that most practitioners rarely move beyond bowling the Leg Break and the Top-Spinner, which to be honest will serve you well in most situations. It may be the case that most people pick up Philpotts The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling get through to the sections that deal with the Leg-Break, Top-Spinner and Wrong Un and then call it a day at the Wrong Un? Therefore having possibly struggled with the Wrong Un and maybe got no-where near mastering it don’t fancy the prospect of trying to get the wrist round to spin the ball inwards for the Slider? Who knows?

But, if you’re looking to master the Leg Break and bowl it with differing degrees of turn and therefore dip and drift and hoping to be able to bowl the coveted ‘Biggun’ (Ball of the Century) I think you need to explore the potential of the real Slider and this is the ball that requires the Inward Flick.


The key conclusion that I’ve come to and this is alluded to by Philpott more than the others is that the Inward Flick Drill is possibly the key to becoming an advanced practitioner of Wrist Spinning. I’ve found that the inward flick because it is so unusual and requires that you turn the wrist so far has led to far more control over the release of the ball from the hand – Fine Motor Skills. It’s been the case for the last 3-4 years as I’ve developed as a Wrist Spinner that I’ve been unaware of what it is that happens with my hand/wrist on release. On one hand, body and hand are seemingly coordinating in order to produce the Leg Break, yet the result is a Wrong Un, Top-Spinner or a very weak Leg Break. All of which are indicative of having The Googly Syndrome (See other sections).

The Mother of all Leg Breaks

It’s not until the 1990’s with the publication of Peter Philpotts ‘The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’ that we’re formally introduced to the Slider as a variation bowled with the Big Flick. It’s clear that Philpott didn’t invent the Slider because as he builds up to it describing how the Slider is bowled, he credits Benaud as being a particularly good exponent of the delivery.

After the Lord's Test of 1953, Doug Ring picked up an apple on a train journey and showed a young Richie Benaud how he bowled the slider, pushed out of the front of the hand between the second and third fingers
From http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/287315.html sourced 12/11/10



The slider as described by Philpott being the key to developing the perpendicular Leg Break by taking it further round the loop so that it’s delivered with the potential of side-spin combined with back-spin. This delivery used somewhere between the Slider and the perpendicular Leg Break giving rise to the potential emergence and development of the Mother of all Big Leg Breaks.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Warnes Ball of the century was a Fluke



There is a God after all, the impossible has suddenly become slightly more achievable.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Legspin bowling - grip, flick, wrist and release

The Grip, flick, wrist and release (C) Dave Thompson.

There's some pretty contentious stuff in this section with regards the Back-spinning variants that are possible between the 'Perpendicular spinning Leg Break' and the 'Back Spinning Slider' this is Wrist Spinnings rarely explored 'Dark Side' being unearthed. If you read about this elsewhere remember that you heard it here first! Because this is work in progress, destined for the main Leg Spin blog, this version lacks the images and only really serves as an update for potential discussion on the big cricket forum before finally being committed to the other blog.

See newer update above

Update of Legspin Blog

Because of the lack of recent content, I'm going to post up some of the content from the re-vamp of the Leg Spin Bowling Blog which is currently on-going.


Motor Skills; This is the complex process of your brain communicating with your body (Limbs) effectively to produce coordinated movement.

So this now brings me back to the notion of ripping the ball from the hand putting maximum revs on the ball. Now here comes the contentious part. In Philpotts ‘Art of Wrist Spin Bowling’ he describes as best he can using text and stills images how to practice flicking the wrist to produce the Leg Break. He shows images of someone flicking the ball across the body from the right hand to the left using the 2 up 2 down grip, all the time focusing on giving it a good flick. The image and the explanation are straight forward and you can see quite easily once you start doing it what he means and over a period of weeks and months you go from rolling the ball over to really giving it a good flick. But in the same section he talks about using the same Big Flick to spin the ball from an outstretched arm inwards towards your chest. This inward flick he doesn’t dwell on at all, but just says to practice it alongside the flick across the body from right hand to left (See my video clip Legspin Bowling Drill No.2[H1] ).

Philpott later in the book returns to the ‘Inward flick’ action as the final part of his Round the loop system to explain the variations. Grimmett used the exact same explanation back in 1930 in his book Getting Wickets and the basic premise is that the position of the wrist at the point of release is instrumental in producing the Wrist Spin variations. Philpott though more than most using the inward flick drill demonstrates what seems to be the little known method (I would argue the genuine version) of producing The Slider. If you’ve followed Philpotts round the loop advice, you’ll have understood that the variations in Wrist Spinning are a result of wrist presentation at the point of release, again on the internet, both Shane Warne and Terry Jenner focus on this to some extent in their videos on Legspin bowling, but they do not dwell on it at all and just rush through the explanations leaving gaping great holes in the information. It is only when you research further – Grimmett, Benaud, Philpott, Jenner, Woolmer and Warne using a broad range of information sources that you’re able to collate all the information and synthesise it and potentially come to the conclusion that I have.

The notion of spinning the ball inwards is not common-place, but then neither is Wrist Spinning where the bowler has the knowledge of all of the variations. Furthermore knowledge of the variations is one thing, but being able to execute the variations in a match situation with accuracy and length is virtually unknown. There’s a sequence to learning Wrist Spinning and because of the complexities of the discipline the perception that I have is that most practitioners rarely move beyond bowling the Leg Break and the Top-Spinner, which to be honest will serve you well in most situations. It may be the case that most people pick up Philpotts The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling get through to the sections that deal with the Leg-Break, Top-Spinner and Wrong Un and then call it a day at the Wrong Un? Therefore having possibly struggled with the Wrong Un and maybe got no-where near mastering it don’t fancy the prospect of trying to get the wrist round to spin the ball inwards for the Slider? Who knows?

But, if you’re looking to master the Leg Break and bowl it with differing degrees of turn and therefore dip and drift and hoping to be able to bowl the coveted ‘Biggun’ (Ball of the Century) I think you need to explore the potential of the real Slider and this is the ball that requires the Inward Flick.


The key conclusion that I’ve come to and this is alluded to by Philpott more than the others is that the Inward Flick Drill is possibly the key to becoming an advanced practitioner of Wrist Spinning. I’ve found that the inward flick because it is so unusual and requires that you turn the wrist so far has led to far more control over the release of the ball from the hand – Fine Motor Skills. It’s been the case for the last 3-4 years as I’ve developed as a Wrist Spinner that I’ve been unaware of what it is that happens with my hand/wrist on release. On one hand, body and hand are seemingly coordinating in order to produce the Leg Break, yet the result is a Wrong Un, Top-Spinner or a very weak Leg Break. All of which are indicative of having The Googly Syndrome (See other sections).

[H1]The intention is that I’ll re-do the videos – possibly shooting them at college in the atrium during a holiday or at the weekend and re-name them all.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Backyard Cricket and knockabouts

Had a knock about yesterday over at the Rec in the disused tennis courts. Some of the others couldn't join us so there was only Ben, Joe and I and we took the camera along and video'd the action. Again as usual as far as the bowling was concerned Ben was the pick of the bunch taking the most wickets, but Joe was pretty close this week as well with 3 wickets compared to Ben's 4.

Hopefully the resulting clips which have been edited and uploaded to youtube will serve as an example of how not to bat to my younger son Joe! Have a look and you'll see what I mean

video
So yesterdays knock about puts Ben miles in the lead with 10 wickets. No-one was focusing on their batting, as you may have seen on the video, Joe is still trying his approach where he walks across his stumps to the off-side so that he can hit the ball legside. He just doesn't account for the fact that if the ball is bowled straight he has an increased chance of it hitting the stumps. Maybe next week I'll bowl straight at him and try and prove the point?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Paddock News

Winter is getting here slowly, we've had a generally mild October and the grass on the wicket in the paddock has recovered very well considering the use it's had from 'Football kids'. The lazy Chav/Bogan Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners who can't be asked to walk their ill trained dogs properly are now taking the easy option of taking their dogs into the 'Fenced off' Paddock so that they can shit everywhere all over a place set aside for kids to play!

I've been in there this morning and raked residual grass cuttings and leaves off the batting end and couple of piles of Dog shit and it's looking vary healthy. I invested in some quality grass seed a month or so ago which came with nutrients and that seems to have worked very well.

It's sunny at the minute and 12 degrees, hopefully we'll get a knock about in during the day, so I'm looking forward to that.