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The Socialism Of Fast Bowling


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hate to be an old git about this, when I'm actually not. But I hanker after the 'old' days when the West Indies had 4, 5 maybe 6 genuine quick bowlers and scared the complete **** out of batsmen around the world. Watching fast bowling today reminds me of watching something sanitised and put into boxes. It reeks of a standardising of quality and a multiplicity of sameness. In political terms, this is a socialism of fast bowling where everyone must have the same, all should be the same and even look the same. "Get the wrist strong, shape the ball away, hit the right areas, pitch the ball up"... if you simply say this over and over, you may even end up as a bowling coach yourself. But bowling fast isn't about any of those things. That's because they are outcomes and not processes. And the truth is, we have lost the ability to actually coach speed - or at least understand the process that makes a fast bowler bowl fast in the first place. Bowling fast is what the West Indies had. No one ever said to the West Indies "Get the wrist strong, shape the ball away, hit the right areas, pitch the ball up"... instead their mantra was bowl at 100mph and let the batsman negotiate the ball. Watching Day 1 of the Aus v SA Test series showed exactly what I am talking about with pace bowling and where it has got to. However, the socialism of fast bowling starts way, way before this level and runs deep into junior coaching psyche. Is it any wonder that the robotic, repetitive averageness of fast-medium bowling is winning through? I have spent the past 18 months coaching on and off in India. I have seen bowlers with the passion to bowl fast being actively discouraged from trying to. The coaches instead preferring the socialism of fast bowling where no actual coaching needs to be done. And this for me, is at the heart of it all. If we can tick boxes, repeat mantras, pass coaching over to strength & conditioning, measure and manage players in the gym, focus on diets and nutrition, pay more interest in the mental side of the game, and lay out hundreds of cones, ski poles, gadgets and targets INSTEAD OF coaching speed into pace bowlers, then all is good with the game. But the truth is all of that must be done ALONG SIDE coaching speed. Otherwise we have all the trimmings, but no turkey. We have all the tinsel but no Xmas tree. We have all the box ticking, but no fast bowlers. Day 1 of the Test match showed a peppering of mid-130s kph (84 mph) deliveries. What's happened to the 150-155 kph (mid 90 mph) bowlers? For all the technology, training, props and gadgets, gym work, S&C, mantras and "get the wrist strong, shape the ball away, hit the right areas, pitch the ball up".... we have a complete levelling of the playing field in speed terms. And that is the problem. Sanitisation or the socialism of fast bowling is now endemic. Coaches are being groomed to continue down this path. Educators actively pass on the methodology of blandness, mistakenly believing it to be excellence. It would be time, before pace bowling is a lost art, to have a moratorium on speed and open the minds up to the truth that you can and you must coach the processes of fast bowling. It starts with understanding. It begins with knowing how to coach speed into bowlers and not out of them, as we appear to be witnessing in world cricket right now.
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I am not sure if any of the wi fast bowlers bowled 100 mph. Players always play their best when they are not in the middle anymore.
agree. dont think any bowler can clock 95 mph consistently in tests. 87-90 mph is a searing pace in test cricket but Aussie bowlers struggeled to clock 87 mph first day or speed guns were showing them slow?
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