I have a track record of keeping teams injury free and making bowlers faster in a season.

One of my students sent me the below mentioned message which made me think of this post. The message was:

“It seems I have started using my entire body while bowling ever since we have worked on my back. I am bowling a lot better and at ease.”

How much does training contribute to fast bowlers or baseball pitchers?

Let us first differentiate between a skill set & training in fast bowling:

bowling 1

a) Skill set: how you grip the ball, the movement of your arm, the time of release, pitching and how you release etc.

follow through

b) Movement/training: running in, jumping, movement of your back leg, balancing, landing, rotation of your arm, head position, spine position and follow through etc.


bowling 2

Q 1. Can a fast bowler or pitcher achieve their best result by practicing ‘skill set’ only?

Q2. Do you think just practicing ‘skill set’ can help you train in bowling movement?

Q 3. Do you think ‘training element’ contributes heavily and therefore, can assist in skill set?

Just by answering the above questions you can understand the value of right training. It not only contributes to skill, but more importantly, it can help you achieve your best whether in terms of accuracy, speed, focus, power or all together.


So what is the right combination? How much to train? How much to practice skill? Is there a magic number?

To me there is only one set rule – ‘USAGE’.

Let us break fast bowling action to understand its usage as an example:

  1. Running in – bowling stride & jump – TRAINING
  2. Releasing the ball – SKILL
  3. Landing & follow through – TRAINING

Therefore, regardless of this practice being followed at the highest level, I find it intriguing when I see players warming up for 10 minutes and bowl for 30/45 minutes in the nets!?

How does that work?

Given the above ratio what are we trying to say is – a 10/15 minutes warm-up is enough to bowl for 30/40 minutes? Right?

Really?? Think about it…..

Even more surprising when I hear coaches saying a bowler needs to be rested and he should not train at all? Or if he trains hard then he can get tired or injured?

Firstly, it should be totally opposite: train for minimum 30 minutes and bowl for less because you don’t forget to grip a bowl. Neither you forget the release point. However you can mess with both if your body is not ready to jump, land or follow through appropriately and YES, your body can forget all this if you do not practice.

And most importantly….training do not injure or tires you. It trains you to not get injured.

But practice makes you perfect!?

Yes, it does. But when you use the word practice in sporting context it means practicing everything that is required in an action which includes running, jumping, rotating, balancing etc for a fast bowler. Therefore your thought process may be fundamentally right, however it needs to elaborate further to break up your practice understanding what is required by your body to practice the skill.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. Bowlers bowl so much and repeat every action so many times that it should be considered training for them.

Totally. I agree with you.

But be it speed, running rythem, balance, easiness, or any other quality, it only comes when we train specific components differently and then bring them back in the same chain in a different drill.

We think we are training individual muscle sections in the gym. Sadly..we don’t move the muscles similar way. If we understand the importance of circuit then we would not worry about strength training in a season.

We don’t lose strength in a season. In fact, we strengthen our circuits by training in line with game requirements – how body moves in the game.

Note: remember that strengthening the circuit doesn’t limit to repeating the same action over and over again. If you are a bowler then don’t worry about the circuit. It’s there. Now the art of training lies in making this circuit stronger and not making your arms worth tattooing.

Only when you do the above analysis that you realise training is not just about warming up or making you stronger. It is more about honing your skills and preparing your body for an injury free career. You can arm wrestle or win a squat bet after retirement 🙂

Umesh Chhikara

Movement Specialist I S&C trainer I Relaxation therapist