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Thread: One Day in Coventry (Ian Pont and ABSAT)

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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    One Day in Coventry (Ian Pont and ABSAT)

    Ouch. Ow, ooh, aah. And ouch again. I have just discovered at least two entire groups of muscles that I could have sworn never existed. And it's all Ian Pont's fault.

    I remember one Monday this April, when I knelt down alongside a child's table to explain a piece of work. The sensation I experienced - nay, endured - on standing up again was roughly akin to having an industrial quantity of of molten lead poured down the backs of my hamstrings. That one was the result of keeping wicket, unprepared, for around three hours, the previous day. Today's steelworks are located roughly in an egg shape, and neatly enclose my stomach. This makes getting up off my backside remarkably difficult. The solution is to remain either (a) stood up, or (b) sat down. This has made for several lively maths lessons, and an entire evening parked in front of Sky TV.

    Apparently, this bit of my body is called the "core" and it's where all of my strength and power ought to come from. This would also seemingly neatly explain why my bowling struggles to threaten anyone over the age of ten, and why my attempts at throwing closely resemble a morbidly obese pet cat, disinterestedly wafting away the offer of a tin of new, low-calorie Felix.

    Did I mention that even rolling over in bed hurts now? One thing that came out of April's wicketkeeping-related excursion into the spectre of old age and constant joint ache was the realisation that I was now very much old enough to have to warm up, properly, or pay for it. So, before participating in Sunday's ABSAT course at Coventry University, I did that. The warm-up that's always prevented the day after I bowled pace feeling like a day out on the Styx. However, it appears that a short excerpt of the Macarena could have proven just as (in)effective in the injury prevention stakes.

    When it came down to it, though (and when we all actually located the Sports Hall at Coventry University), it was four very well spent hours. Incidentally, I now wonder whether being sent to Coventry in the physical sense of the phrase is preferable to the metaphorical one, but I digress, for unlike the A4114 Ring Road, it's all really, really simple.

    There is something oddly refreshing about having your own bowling action held up for inspection as fundamentally flawed within the first five minutes of a course. It's encouraging to see your own rudimentary video analyses being vindicated by someone who so clearly knows what he's talking about - and maybe, just maybe, it gives me a sliver of hope that it's technique that I'm lacking, rather than the rather more critical talent.

    Three years ago, when I first wrote parts of CricketWeb's coaching section, I wrote that a good coach should be able to make himself redundant by helping players to understand WHY their technique was lacking, rather than simply telling them that fact. Today, I feel like I know exactly why my action generates a gentle scattergun, prevents the umpire from ever seeing an LBW decision and sends me following through to extra cover. Two hours of drills gave me a follow through - minus ball, minus run up - twice the length of my initial meander.

    I know I've forseen a hundred false dawns in my cricket a hundred times before, but today I feel like I actually know why the sun's trying to burn through 22 years without a single seam-up delivery in an 11-a-side match.

    Tomorrow evening, I'm going to stake out the Gym and send down a few balls either side of the Year 5/6 cricket session. I wonder if disposing, entirely, of that run-up is enough to cut the strings of muscle memory attached to the old action? I wonder if I can ever generate anything that even broadly approximates to pace? I wonder if I can bribe any of my form to video it?
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    Cricketer Of The Year Kweek's Avatar
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    haha, ive had 3 sessions with Ian Pont last year, such a gun guy, and really helpfull excersises aswell, I'm a spinner, but Ian Pont still had a lot of helpfull tips for me, stuff he picked up from Grant Flower etc. and generally fitness excersises aswell.
    good to see your knackerd Neil, getting fit :') aye....

    jeesh something I should do...
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    State Captain Chubb's Avatar
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    My uncle used to play for Hutton CC with Ian Pont and his two brothers Keith and Kelvin. Ian once added 200+ for the fourth wicket in an Essex League match with him.Their mother is one of my grandparent's friends. I have met him, but only briefly. He was one of the first coaches to realise the importance of biomechanics in making bowlers faster.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Had a good half-hour bowling at stumps in the gym last night - admittedly the sports hall is barely big enough for anything beyond a four-pace run-up, but I've never managed such a consistently good length (75% in the right place) or line (75% on and outside off). That means that 56% of the balls (ish) were of a good line and a good length.

    It also felt quicker... but that needs a batsman facing it to judge whether it's of any quality to pose problems of negotiation. Roll on the summer...


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    Fast Bowling

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Pickup View Post
    Had a good half-hour bowling at stumps in the gym last night - admittedly the sports hall is barely big enough for anything beyond a four-pace run-up, but I've never managed such a consistently good length (75% in the right place) or line (75% on and outside off). That means that 56% of the balls (ish) were of a good line and a good length.

    It also felt quicker... but that needs a batsman facing it to judge whether it's of any quality to pose problems of negotiation. Roll on the summer...
    Neil, how's the season gone so far?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Hi Ian,

    As is typically the way in my life, myriad other things have come up which are preventing me from having much of a season at present, and my outings to date with the ball have been limited to two overs at second change for the Staff XI against Abingdon Prep.

    For the first time in my life, the wicketkeeper stood back, and I bowled two perfectly serviceable overs. The figures, however, were a train wreck as we had nine players at that time and (a) I slipped onto leg stump twice, and as I was somehow bowling inswing, they clipped away fours, and there were also two false shots for four through where at least one slip/gully would usually be to chase it. Planning on having some extended net bowls over half term to further groove the action, but it's definitely feeling better; and it is beyond doubt so much faster.

    I've had a hundred times more success when it comes to coaching fast bowlers, however. In the space of half an hour of clear, distilled input one-to-one in the nets it's possible to see massive improvements in pace and in accuracy: several times I swear there's been a 10mph difference (30 --> 40) in the children's bowling (age 10/11), and of course with this comes accuracy. There are times when I've stood at the end of the net thinking that I'm a hell of a lot better at this than I am at teaching what the school actually pay me to do... now I just have the small problem that the buggers keep cleaning me out.

    I am, however, struggling a little to convert the ABSAT principles across to working with leg spinners. There's one lad in particular I have in mind: he has a quite incredibly unorthodox action that's a cross between Danish Kaneria (vis the crossed arms in approach) and Anil Kumble (in wrist position, arm speed and trajectory), and he bowls some super stuff, mixed in with half-trackers and head balls. I cannot for the life of me figure out where the cause is and I'm petrified of fiddling too much in case I break it. Any ideas?

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    Coaching

    Pleased you can remember much of what we taught on the ABSAT course - and passing it on to others (rather than yourself) if often easier because you can SEE in others the changes... with yourself, you just FEEL the changes.

    You mentioned leg spin. The most important thing is that the lad spins the ball. And the release is NOT above the shoulder (12 o'clock). Leg spin should be bowled a little round arm if possible if bowlers don't have amazingly flexible wrists. You'll know that leg spin is bowled out of the front of the hand and the googly out the back. With Kumble's release being so high (12 0'clock) he doesn't/cannot really turn the leg spinner a huge amount and in effect, becomes an inswing bowler who straightens it, as it drifts from such a high release.

    Don't be afraid to apply ABSAT methods to spinners (shoulder rotation - think Monty Panesar, hip drive - especially leg spinners but including off spin - Ashley Giles was always trying to get his hips working, straight lines - ensuring everything goes to target to help increase revs on the ball, etc, etc).

    You will never permanently alter someone unless they want to, so experiment & exaggerate in practice and have some fun with front foot position changes on the crease, load up changes, arm positions, grips..... make practice interesting for the spinners and they may discover the answer themselves. maybe get them to judge themselves out of 10 for each change they make and how they think it works. Plus of course use targets to show the outcome if you're in the season.

    Having worked with Essex spinners Grant Flower, Tim Phillips, James Middlebrook and Danesh Kaneria, I can say that sometimes the smallest keys open the biggest locks.
    Last edited by Ponty; 19-05-2008 at 01:39 AM.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Kweek's Avatar
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    Cheers Ian,

    As you've worked with Grant Flower, who isn't a bad left arm spinner, what is something a left arm orthodox bowler should focus on? I tend to see a lot of Left arm spin bowlers do not spin the ball, while our right handed counterparts(off spinners) are. (Giles nor Panesar nor Vettori are big turners of the ball)
    Being one myself I tend to see this aswell, 9/10 of my balls tend to go straight on or have a small small turn but my guess that has more to do with the pitch(unfortunately)
    so basically is there a reason why left hand orthodox bowlers don't get that much spin ?
    Or are the examples ive mentioned just cases of bad hip rotation or something else?

    on another note; What would you advise to left arm spinners? going around (walking in a straight line) or going around and go past the umpire, or go over the wicket ? and what sort of action would meet the diffrent sides.
    I'm at the moment a bit stuck on this point.

    I missed your last session in Holland unfortunately(not a member of VCC anymore, changed clubs due to university) just wanted to say, even for a spinner your sessions where very good and interesting(you might remember me; that is the fastest armball ive ever seen ) haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kweek View Post
    Cheers Ian,

    As you've worked with Grant Flower, who isn't a bad left arm spinner, what is something a left arm orthodox bowler should focus on? I tend to see a lot of Left arm spin bowlers do not spin the ball, while our right handed counterparts(off spinners) are. (Giles nor Panesar nor Vettori are big turners of the ball)
    Being one myself I tend to see this aswell, 9/10 of my balls tend to go straight on or have a small small turn but my guess that has more to do with the pitch(unfortunately)
    so basically is there a reason why left hand orthodox bowlers don't get that much spin ?
    Or are the examples ive mentioned just cases of bad hip rotation or something else?

    on another note; What would you advise to left arm spinners? going around (walking in a straight line) or going around and go past the umpire, or go over the wicket ? and what sort of action would meet the diffrent sides.
    I'm at the moment a bit stuck on this point.

    I missed your last session in Holland unfortunately(not a member of VCC anymore, changed clubs due to university) just wanted to say, even for a spinner your sessions where very good and interesting(you might remember me; that is the fastest armball ive ever seen ) haha
    Hi..how are you? Hopefully still bowling that quick arm ball?

    Left arm off spinners have an issue because my experience is they slide their hand under the ball rather than rotate it over the top of the ball. This may be because they bowl a lot to right hand batters and go wider on the crease round the wicket. The hand angle naturally then slides under the ball and means it doesn't spin so much but skids a little bit.

    There is no reason why a left arm spinner doesn't spin it as much as a right hand off spinner. But ALL off spin bowlers tend to spin far less than wrist spin anyway, as you know.

    If you go round the wicket, it has to turn for you to create problems for a right hand batter. This also means getting 'revs' on the ball and also not being afraid to get the ball in the air rather than bowling flat.

    If you bowl over the wicket it's too easy to bowl down the legside to right hand batters, but it can make a great angle change if you bowl it at off stump because your arm ball (inswinger to RH) can be extremely effective.

    The problem with playing on artificial tracks in Holland is the ball doesn't grip very well. That's why it's easy to run up and bowl seamers. But I still believe you can be very effective by using flight, guile, variations, bounce, angles and drift, as well as spin.

    The key is to experiment with different release positions of the ball, and bowling by rolling your hand over the ball, round it and under it - to see how it behaves.

    Ultimately whatever you decide to do, you have to land the ball on a length or close to it!

    Good luck...
    Last edited by Ponty; 19-05-2008 at 03:08 PM.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Kweek's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot Ian!

    haha that quick ball isn't being bowled at the moment...in fact i'm not bowling much at all at the moment, my knee lignments have been streched (no idea what the precise english term is, but it hurts)... just had a doctors appointment and he told me I have to rest for at least two weeks, no fun

    Thanks a lot again! very helpful and will look into it once i'm back to bowling full time.

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    Hi Ian,
    I'm an U13 fast bowler and i've read your book a million times over! It's the most in depth bowling book I've ever read, which is helpful because I can never seem to find enough in depth information.
    I went to a bowling course at Dummer Cricket Centre on Friday and I was told not to dip my head while I was bowling however in your book, one of your points was to "bury" your shoulder into the pitch, these points seem to contradict each other. After this I could not seem to any balls on the top of off stump, my coach told me that the angles had changed and that my arms would naturally, however I have not seen any changes. I was also told that I had a chest on action, while I thought that I had a side on action. Should I change back to my original action or should I persivere?
    Also I am interested at the prospect of some one to one coaching, how much do you think it would cost?
    I appreciate your opinion a lot.
    Thanks
    Blake
    Last edited by -ShakeyBlakey-; 03-08-2008 at 11:59 AM.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    Check this out if you are interested in the one to one. I'm trying to get a job, myself, to pay for a two hour session.

    PS: Regarding the shoulder. It is possible to keep your head reasonably high whilst having a good shoulder rotation. Waqar is an example of keeping the head in a good position with a very good shoulder rotation whereas James Anderson is one of dragging the head down due to shoulder rotation. I'm obviously not sure if you could change it, but whatever you do, don't lock your neck in a position and force it to stay up because that is what injuries are made of.
    Last edited by Manee; 04-08-2008 at 06:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    Check [url=http://www.maverickscricket.com/coaching.htm]this[/out] if you are interested in the one to one. I'm trying to get a job, myself, to pay for a two hour session.
    Yeah, I've seen that link, but it doesn't have any examples, so I just needed a general idea.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    I asked him and he said it was 75 an hour but best contact Mavericks for more info. If you want to see an example of the video analysis, then just add me to msn at man_bahra[at]hotmail.com

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    That would set me back a bit! I have no doubt it would pay for itself in the long term, if you know what I'm saying!

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