Some people may not think that this single topic is thread worthy, but given the million to one chance that someone of some importance actually has a look on the forum I think it deserves it.
Anyway, today (3rd day of the 1st Test at Lord, Eng vs WI 2007) there was much talk in the booth about Harmison and his struggles. Lots of opinions were offered and even Ian Botham said he wasn't sure why Harmison got his hand on the 'wrong side of the ball'.
To be honest I find that pretty disappointing as its a problem I deal with frequently as a fast bowling coach and it is easily correctable.
If you will pardon my crude illustrations Ill attempt to break Harmison's action down and show how it should be adjusted.
Ill do it point by point.
- In delivery Harmisons left arm points to 1st/2nd slip
- When you walk the trail leg follows the lead leg. Thats how you walk in a straight line. It is the same with bowling actions. Where the left arm goes the body and the right arm follows.
- Due to Harmisons left arm, his body is pulled to the left and his right arm would naturally follow in the direction of the slips to a right hander
- Obviously this isnt where he wants the ball to go so he has to make adjustments in the direction his right arm travels. He has to take it away from its natural arc to bring the ball towards off stump.
- This adjustment of the right arm away from its natural direction (which is towards the slips) leads to inconsistency and variable levels of accuracy
- Harmison is fighting against his own action to get the ball towards the stumps and has to 'push' the ball towards off-stump away from its natural direction and away from where his body and left arm are travelling.
- This pushing of the ball often leads to the hand being on the 'wrong side' ie left side of the ball and this adjustment against the natural lines of his action often forces the ball too far and down the leg side
A key for fast bowlers is to think in straight lines. It doesnt matter where the left arm comes from as long as its pointing towards off stump at the highest point of the action and comes down towards off stump in delivery.
This straight line (doesnt matter if sideways on or chest on) bring the whole body through towards the stumps, including the right arm and the ball.
Basically whereever the left arm goes everything else natually follows. Unless a player wants to fight their action and have to make massive adjustment during delivery then the line of the left arm must be off-stump.
If Harmison can adapt and force his left arm up towards the stumps instead of wide and bring it down through the line of off stump like an axe chopping through the off-stump then many of his problems would disappear.
It may sound simple, but it is. People over complicate actions. All the complicated issues are symptoms of fundamental problems. Fix the fundamental flaw and a whole myriad of other issues magically go away.
Take the 6th ball of the 1st over Harmison bowled with the 2nd new ball today. As he went up into delivery I knew it would be a good ball. If you know actions you can see if it will be a good ball before it is even bowled. He actually got his left arm straight and immediately I thought "this is going to be decent". It pitched on a length, just outside offstump and climbed rapidly to the keeper.
He just needs to make that small change and he will be dangerous. As long as he is fighting his own action he will struggle.
If the England Management want to further discuss this point my email and MSN are in the sig below