United Cricket Club.
Atlanta. USA


  • Correct grip is important. Do not hold the ball too tight.
  • A long run-up is not important. Your run-up must be confortable and economical.
  • Aim to pitch the ball on / outside offstump, just short of a length.
  • Keep your front arm high up when delivering the ball, do not forget to follow through.
  • If you are bowling out-swing you must aim to pitch the ball on middle.
  • If you are bowling inswing you must aim to pitch the ball outside the off-stump.
  • Aim to bowl at the batsman's weaknesses - do not bowl at his strengths.
  • Always shine the ball - without any shine the ball will not swing.

Fast Bowling - Grip and Basic Action

The ball is held between the first two fingers and the thumb. The fingers are placed on either side of the seam, which is upright, with the thumb on the seam under the ball to provide support. The palm of the hand points towards the batsman.


A good smooth run up and the body turns sideways and coils slightly backwards. The front shoulder points down the pitch and the head is upright as the bowler looks at the batsman from behind his front arm.

The front knee is raised and the pull down of the front arm commences into your side. The front leg straightens on impact with the ground as the ball is released from as high as possible. The head keeps upright as the arm extends back and the bowling arm goes across the body. The back leg is brought through close to the front leg and a few steps are run as the follow through.

Spin Bowling - Grip and Basic Action

The ball is held firmly, with the index finger the main one used for imparting spin on the ball. The back of the hand faces midwicket (right arm bowler) when the ball is being delivered and the seam points towards fine leg as it goes down the pitch.

The Off-spinner

The off spinner or left arm orthodox spinner should deliver the ball from a fairly high arm position (not completely vertical) and rotate strongly over and then around the front leg with a fairly short delivery stride. This will achieve maximum spin and a little drift away from the batsman. Use a short rhythmical run up of about 8 paces, a nice high arm action, a good follow through and then the bowler should stay ready for a return catch. The head stays still with the eyes watching the batsman.

The leg spin grip has the ball placed with the seam resting on the index, second and third finger and the ball is spun off the first knuckle of the index and thrid finger. The ball is gripped firmly and is spun with a combination of side spin and over spin with the seam pointing towards gully as it goes down the pitch.

The Leg spinner

The leg spinner needs a short rhythmical run up of about 8 paces. He can have a slightly longer delivery stride than the off spinner, but still be able to push over his front leg on release. The bowling arm is slightly lower than for the off spinner and rotates across the bowler's body with a good follow through. Head must remain still with the eyes fixed on the batsman and the bowler should be ready for a return catch.

General Hints

The most important aspect of teaching young players to bowl is to coach the correct basics from the start so that later on we are not correcting players with mixed actions who are prone to injury. Coaches should take the players through all the basics of run up, gather, delivery stride, positioning of the feet and arms and of course the follow through.

Common errors which we need to address are:

Bowlers bowling too short - the bowler needs to extend his front arm higher and we must watch out for the front leg collapsing.

Falling away at delivery - can be caused by poor positioning of the front foot, collapsing into the back knee, head not staying upright and the front arm not being pulled down straight.

Lack of follow through - caused by approach being too slow or the bowler not bowling over his front leg.

Inconsistent line - caused by poor use of the front arm as well as head falling away to the side. Also from bowlers trying to bowl faster than what their bodies can achieve.

Seam not upright in fast bowlers is caused by an incorrect grip or sideways movement of the wrist at delivery.

As you can see there are many areas for the coach to focus on and often a video is required to find the exact problems. However not many coaches have this luxury so it is often a case of just trying to keep the bowler nicely balanced at the crease in an upright position and to move everything in a straight line towards the target. The front arm pulls down straight, the bowling arm is high and the head stays up straight and pulls the body down the pitch.

When all is said and done on the basics it is probably still most important to have good rhythm in your bowling and to bowl a good line and length. It is important that the coach actually shows his players where the ball should land (line and length) so that they are not confused. A good basic side-on action with everything moving in a straight line will normally bring the good line into bowling automatically and then all the bowler needs to concentrate on is his length. Ideally this should be where the ball is too short to drive but too full to hook or pull.

When working with young bowlers it is often a good idea to mark an area on the pitch where you want them to land the ball, but in doing so also make sure that your bowlers do not just try to "put" the ball in the right place - they must still bowl at their normal pace.

Swing Bowling

In our initial coaching of young medium/fast bowlers it would be good to stress the importance of accuracy and of keeping the seam of the ball straight so that the ball lands on it.

As the players grow older and start to bowl to better batsmen on good pitches it is necessary not just to be fast and to bowl straight but to be able to make the ball swing through the air as it moves down the pitch.

In teaching bowlers to swing the ball our first point is that the seam needs to be delivered in an upright position so that it travels in this way down the pitch. The palm of the hand should move down the plane of the intended movement. The two fingers on top of the ball must stay up straight and not rotate sideways or else we will lose the swing. The fingers should just brush the ball and impart backspin on it to keep the seam upright. The other major factor of course in swinging the ball is to keep one side of the ball polished and shiny and allowing the other to get rough through wear and tear during the game. The result of this is that the shiny side moves through the air quicker than the rough side and causes it to swing in one or the other direction depending on which side you put the shiny side. Let us look at the two types of swing bowling.

Click here to see pic

Outswing Bowling

For the outswinger (right arm bowler to right hand batsman), the ball is gripped between the index and middle fingers on each side of the seam which is pointing in the direction of the slips. The thumb rests underneath the ball on the seam for support. The shiny side of the ball is on the bowler's right hand side.

A side-on action is crucial with the right foot parallel to the crease and looking behind the front arm with a high but slightly round arm action and the bowling arm following through across the body. The wrist is locked and the palm of the hand is kept behind the ball. The longer the ball is in the air the more chance it has to swing so the bowler should pitch most of his deliveries on a full length aiming at about middle and off and letting the ball swing away for an edge to the wicket keeper or slips.

The Inswinger

The inswinger (right arm bowler to right hand batsman) has the ball gripped between the index and middle fingers which lie on each side of the seam. The seam is pointed towards fine leg and the thumb rests on the seam under the ball. The shiny side of the ball is on the bowler's left hand side.

In delivery the body can be more open and the wrist a little loose but the palm must face the line you intend to bowl. The ball is delivered with a high action but the bowling arm does not need to go across the body but can stay on the inside.

One of the most important aspects of inswing bowling is the line which we bowl. We should start the ball outside off stump so that it swings in to hit off stump. Any delivery straighter than that starts to move down the leg side and makes run scoring much easier for the batsman. The bowler should be looking to bowl the batsman or get an LBW decision.

United Cricket Club Atlanta 2002
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