Coaching Tips for the Beginner & Advanced




The terms used in this section are for RIGHT-HANDED bowlers, bowling to RIGHT-HANDED BATSMEN. 

Lefties should reverse any of the instructions with regard to direction etc., and similarly if you are bowling to a lefty.

Basic Grip


This is the basic grip for a bowler who isn't trying to spin the ball. It is meant for the bowler who is trying to use line, length, and pace, to do the job. The spinner's grips follow at the bottom of the page here, but for now, this picture shows how you should be holding the ball at the moment you let it fly if you are bowling seam or swing.

Place the forefinger and middle finger on either side of the seam, but very close (resting on it is probably best) to it, the thumb resting underneath the ball (actually ON the seam for swing bowling, unlike in the piture here) with the seam as upright as possible. This will give you the best possible chance of landing the ball on the seam when it pitches (bounces) which, together with the swing, will give you the best chance of making the ball bounce into or away from the batsman.

This is the basic grip for seam bowling. You should experiment with it, change little bits and pieces, for example how close to the ends of your fingers you hold the ball, how far back or forward your thumb is, how tight you grip the ball etc., in order to give you the best grip for your own action, the best 'feel' for the ball. But don't stray too far from this picture, the basics WORK!

Swing Bowling

Bowling inswing or outswing - making the ball move away from, or in towards the batsman, will depend on which way the seam is pointing, and whether the "shiny" side of the ball is on the left or right as the bowler looks at it at the point of delivery. Changing how th thumb sits underneath the seam will help in the aiming process.


To make the ball swing in the air in towards the batsman, hold the ball with the flat part of your thumb resting on the seam underneath the ball, with the seam pointing towards leg slip, and the shiny side of the ball on the left as you look at it at the point of delivery. Because of the very complicated laws of physics controlling swing bowling, the ball will swing away from the shiny side. So to make the ball swing left to right, the seam points right, the shiny side points left. KEEP THE SEAM AS UPRIGHT AS POSSIBLE AT DELIVERY


With one small change to the grip, simply reverse the instructions for inswing. Point the seam towards first, and keep the shiny side on the right as you look at it. This will make the ball swing right to left in the air. The change in the grip comes from the thumb. Rest the ball on the side of your thumb for this action. KEEP THE SEAM AS UPRIGHT AS POSSIBLE AT DELIVERY


The terms used here are for RIGHT-handed bowlers, bowling to right-handed batsmen. Lefties should reverse any of the instructions with regard to direction etc., and similarly if you are bowling to a lefty.

Quick Explanation

At this level we are not going to talk about Doozras, Flippers, Wrong 'uns, Googlies - I doubt one percent of people who read this would know the difference anyway! Let's get the ball to actually spin first, then worry about fancy stuff.

There are two basic spin bowling actions (right-handed bowlers remember) to think about; off-spin and leg-spin. I always think these are confusing as they spin the opposite way to the way they sound. Off-spin turns from off to leg - or from left to right; leg-spin turns from leg to off - right to left.

With spinners grips there are two main differences from seam or swing bowling grips. First, the ball is turned through 90 degrees so the fingers are across the seam rather than either side of it. Secondly, the thumb plays very little part - it's all in the fingers!

Let's look at the two grips.

Off Spin

Hold the ball with the first and second fingers of the hand spread fairly wide across the (vertical) seam, the first (top) joints of the fingers on the seam, the ball resting on the third finger. The palm of the hand should face forwards.

At the point of delivery the wrist turns, or 'snaps', clockwise (left to right) and the first and second fingers pull down sharply, placing as much left-to-right spin as possible. The ball should be aimed at the batsman's off stump, or just outside it.

With this type of spin bowling, turning the wrist, but keeping the fingers in the same place, so the seam points straight down the pitch, gives the bowler the option of the 'top-spinner' - making the ball spin straight at the batsman, rather than across him.

Leg Spin

This is the tough one. There ain't many Shane Warnes about, and this is why.

The top joints of the first and second fingers are again across and on the seam, as with the off-spin, but this time the third finger is bent so that it rests along the seam. This is very important, as it is the third finger, along with the wrist, that does all the work in leg spin.

At delivery, the wrist turns or 'flicks' anti-clockwise (right to left) and the third finger is pulled along the seam, causing the ball to spin right-to left. Aim to pitch the ball on leg stump. This makes the batsman play at the ball, and gives a very good chance of close in catches.

Again, twisting the wrist allows the leg spinner to vary how the ball will spin - into the batsman or straight at him.

In my opinion this is the most difficult bowling skill to master; it also happens to be the hardest to bat against.