Cricket Bowling: Fast Bowling / How to control where I bowl the ball

Hi Coach,

I am an 18 year old fast bowler. I am having difficulty in controlling my line and length. I used to run up and bowl the ball without any intent to pitch it in the right areas, but now I am trying to control where I bowl the ball. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Hi, in learning to control where you bowl the ball it is important to get the balance right between the intent of bowling fast and the trade off in control that comes with seeking to bowl at full pace.

A simple way of training control of line and length is to put a marker the size of a piece of paper (A4) on a good length. I regard a good length for a fast bowler as being four walking strides from the crease, down the wicket, put your marker down on the line of off stump. You can use a plastic coke bottle with some water or sand in it or a piece of old carpet as a marker.

This drill can be done in season or for pre-season : You will also need a notebook to mark yourself on success rate for overs bowled.

Six balls times six overs.

Make sure you have fully warmed up with a run around and stretch.

You are going to bowl 2 overs off your normal run up to warm up.

Then I want you to bowl 6 overs twice a week, with a days rest in between.

The first 3 overs will be off a half run where you will keep your eyes focused on your target. Bowl the ball with full intent each delivery

Mark every time you hit your target.

You are then going to bowl 3 overs off your long run, again with full intent to bowl quick.

Again monitor your accuracy, as you practice this your control will improve as each week goes by, aim to improve from week to week.

You can use this for each delivery you want to work with, yorkers, slower balls etc.

kind regards Richard

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How to make my jump like Brett Lee

by Arman


Brett Lee

Hi Coach, I have two questions.

Firstly I’m a fast bowler and want to work on my bound so that it is like Brett Lee.

Can you help me?

Secondly, I’m getting pain in the shin bone of my front leg, what can I do to get rid of this?

Hi Arman, firstly, you haven’t put your age in the mail, this is important because changes made to technique are relevant to your stage of development.

Any changes you want to make to your bowling action need to be discussed with your coach. I would also suggest you leave them to the off season if you do decide to make techical changes.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to copy great bowlers but you need to be clear what the benefits of the changes are going to bring, is trying to get your bound like Brett Lee going to improve your bowling?

You need to work with your coach and decide the purpose of the changes and when to make them.

Changes need to be made incrementally, building up from one pace work in the crease, to three steps including the bound, to 5,7,9 steps and then to full run, allowing each stage of learning to take place and consolidate it.

Regarding your leg and the pain you are experiencing, you need to get to a doctor and get the leg checked. I don’t want to be dramatic but it could be a ‘hot spot’ which is the emergence of a stress fracture so you need to be very careful. Rest until the pain has gone at the very least.

Best wishes Coach

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Cricket Fast Bowling Tips: How To Bowl Fast Like Dale Steyn

by Mustafa Kapadia
(Nasik, Maharashtra, India)

Hi, how can I become a fast bowler like Dale Steyn?

What should I do to increase my bowling speed?

Hi Mustafa, regarding both questions, fast bowlers are gifted with the genetics at birth to bowl fast.

We have two types of muscle fibre, fast and slow twitch, quick bowlers genetically are born with fast twitch muscle fibre, like Dale Steyn, which means they are going to be gifted at explosive activities involving moving the body – running, kicking, throwing at speed.

Slow twitch is self explanatory … slow !

If you have been gifted with fast twitch muscle then your bowling technique, physical conditioning ( strength and speed )and game plans can all be improved through good coaching and strength conditioning.

Speak to your club coach about improving your bowling technique, see my previous posts and advice on this.

Find out who at the local first class set up can put you in touch with a good strength conditioning coach who knows about fast bowling.

Check out the pages on game plans for fast bowling, use your initiative and ask to speak to the best fast bowlers in your region.

Best wishes Coach

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Cricket Fast Bowling Tips: Improving Control With The New Ball

by K.Arjun

How do I improve my control when bowling with the new ball? I also would like to swing the ball at greater pace, any ideas?

Hi Visves, two good questions.

Let’s deal with control first, at club level you usually only see a new ball on the saturday of the game because of the cost of balls.

If the club can afford it, you need to practice with the new ball as much as possible, this will allow you to work on your skills without fear of bowling wides in a match.

If you can get one specific ball from the club and look after it, you can use this to bowl in the middle to a keeper, which is more realistic and simulates bowling in a match.

Then it is plenty of target bowling, read the earlier pages in ‘Ask Coach’ for ideas on this.

The bottom line is … practice, practice, practice.

During a match, if the ball is swinging too much, the simple thing to do is bowl with your fingers across the seam,this will stop the swing and you can focus on hitting a line and length and begin building up some pressure. When the ball is older and it isn’t swinging so much, you can return to

Regarding improving your pace, check out the pages on cricket fitness and strength conditioning.

The foundation of speed is strength, so to bowl quicker, with swing, which is a skill which you are suggesting you have, you need to be stronger.

best wishes Coach

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Cricket Fast Bowling Tips: How To Keep Pace In My Bouncer

by Lorcan O’Connor
(Australia )

Hi Coach

How can I bowl bouncers and keep power in the ball after the bounce. When I bowl bouncers, the ball slows down greatly after the bounce.

Hi Lorcan,

Firstly, its important to understand that all deliveries lose pace after ball release from the hand and contact with the wicket.

You may often hear comments like ‘he’s quick off the wicket’ or ‘he seems to pick up pace off the wicket’.

These comments can be misleading, perhaps a bowler has a strong action and the ball has greater speed than a batter anticipates or a spin bowler bowls a ball with a lot of top spin and the ball spins forward more than it does sideways.

But all deliveries will lose velocity as the ball moves forward.

Anyway, back to your question, how to make sure that your bouncer keeps as much speed as possible.

You need to examine the length you are bowling.
If you are banging the ball in too short then the ball will lose a lot of pace and it will balloon through to the wicket keeper or batsman, rather than holding its pace and trajectory.

Practice varying your lengths to see if you can bowl the bouncer with a slightly flatter trajectory, about head high or up into the batter’s rib cage.

This will keep greater speed on the ball.

Also work on making sure that your action is vigorous and that you work hard all the way through your follow through.

See the picture of Dale Steyn above, as an example and notice the full follow through which is the completion of the delivery.

Quite often what a bowler thinks is a bouncer is really a half tracker, bowled half way down the wicket with little intent on the ball.

Make sure that each ball has a goal, in height, direction and speed. Where you want the batter to move to or to hit the ball with the intention of forcing a catch.

best wishes Coach

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Cricket Fast Bowling Tips: Increasing Pace and No Ball Problems

by Akram


Dale Steyn: Pace – Accuracy – Control

Hi Coach, I am a pace bowler and want to increase my pace and make my bowling more accurate.

Also could you help me with a no ball problem I have? Is it to do with the place from where I jump before my delivery stride ?

Please could you help me out on this?
Thanks Akram.

Hi Akram, regarding the first part of your question, an increase in pace is going to come from several factors.

Firstly, explosive strength is important in bowling fast, dependent on your age you will need to begin a comprehensive strength conditioning program to get your body in optimal condition to bowl fast.

You can visit your local gym and ask to speak to the head conditioning coach for advice about developing explosive strength relative to your age.

This is important because if you are too young, say under 18, your body is still growing and you have no history of weight lifting you could get injured if you attempt this unsupervised.

You can look at the Cricket Fitness pages on this site that have been put together as an introduction by Greg King, the former Indian cricket team conditioning coach.

You can improve pace with an improvement in your fast bowling technique, learning to use your body more efficently to generate pace.

It isn’t possible for me to help you with your action without seeng you, you will need to ask at your local club and see if there is a fast bowling coach either at the club or in the region who can help you.

A little tip though, look at bowlers who are similar to you and model your action on them.

I have put the photo of Dale Steyn up with this page because as a young cricketer Dale modelled his action on Brett Lee’s. That is really how we learn as young cricketers – copying our heroes.

My advice is to find the best fast bowling coach possible, even if you have to pay to get an assessment of your action.

Regarding accuracy, read back through my previous ‘Ask Coach’ tips where I advised the young fast bowler about the balance between intent and control.

The no ball problem can be caused by a number of issues, typically it is because you are jumping too close to the stumps in your take off stride, as you rightly point out.

A simple cure is to work out the exact length of your run up and then measure it – measure accurately with a tape measure, this is what the pro’s do.

To work out the correct length of your run up, ask a friend or your coach to help you.

Go to the side of the field away from the nets or middle strips.

Put a marker down on the grass, this will be the marker to begin your run up, you will then close your eyes and run out in a straight line and jump and bowl when it ‘feels’ right.

Do this 6 – 12 times so your partner can see where your front foot lands consistently.

When he gets a regular front foot mark he can put the second marker down, you now have the beginning and end point of your run up.

Do this another 6 – 12 times to get a consistent feel of this and to check consistency.

Measure this, give yourself a margin of 6-12 inches on the length of this whilst you fine tune it.

You will need to practice this regularly so that you have over-learnt it to the point where it works on automatic.

Work on this over a couple of weeks, doing it 2/3 times each week for 3 to 6 overs to get it deep into your subconscious mind.

Come back to this exercise if your run needs tweaking in the future.

Trust this, it is an exercise I have done with many fast bowlers to sort out their run ups, I used it with Morne Morkel when I first started working with him to sort out a no ball problem.

Use your tape measure at each game and practice to make sure it is measured properly.

Happy Fast Bowling ! Coach

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Richard Pybus

About Richard Pybus

I'm Richard Pybus, I've coached Pakistan, Bangladesh, Middlesex, Titans and the Cape Cobras in South Africa and the goal of this site is to help you to play winning cricket.