Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Front Arm

It continues to amaze me just how many young spinners around the world fail to gain any benefit from the use of their front arm. As this arm leads and guides the action it is little wonder these bowlers are struggling to improve at a reasonable rate.
My belief is that a strong front arm leads to a strong action. I call it the rudder.
A lot of the boys seem to copy the Shane Warne front arm with one major difference. Warne takes his arm from bent towards his chest to outstretched towards the target, taking his weight over his front leg. Those attempting to copy him take the front arm back towards their chest but do not then reach out toward the target. Most flop it to the side encouraging their body to fall away, not allowing the bowling shoulder to become powerful. Certainly there have been fewer (if any) more powerful wrist spinning actions than Shane's.
His front arm reaches out, pulls down hard encouraging his bowling shoulder to rotate up and over along the path set out by his "rudder".
Follow his lead and you are almost certain to improve.
Whilst on the front arm, let me share a true story with you.
"A young leg spinner bowled his deliveries with virtually no lead from his front arm. It basically stayed by his side throughout the action. It looked odd and it made it difficult for him to gain spin and consistency.
A group of coaches (me included) were discussing his lack of a front arm (typical coaching expression) over a few beers in a bar at the end of a coaching session. We probably mentioned the "no front arm" comment at least half a dozen times before heading to dinner.
One of the coaches wives was present and heard our conversation and when they finally arrived home after dinner she got stuck in to him. "How dare you criticize that boy with no front arm. At least he has the courage to play cricket with his disability". She went on " Can you imagine how hard it is for him to bat and field one handed?"
The coach burst into laughter, of course because he knew it was only cricket terminology we were using. She never saw the funny side!