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Thread: Collapsing Back Leg

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    Dan
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    Collapsing Back Leg

    I've heard a lot about a collapsing back leg being a major cause for back injuries in fast bowlers and, as a coach, I naturally want to prevent this from happening to any of the players I coach.

    Is it such a huge problem - many international players appear to have a bent back leg at delivery - and what are the warning signs that it is occurring? What does a collapsing back leg actually look like?
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    Request Your Custom Title Now! benchmark00's Avatar
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    If you're worried about ****s getting back injuries, a bigger problem you should be on the look out is the angle of the bowler's back foot when it lands, especially if you're coaching younger kids who are wanting to bowl fast (easier to get them early).

    Get the kid to bowl a few balls and watch his back foot closely each time. If the back foot lands and is parallel to the crease, he's a side on bowler. If his back foot naturally points down the pitch, he's front on. Back problems happen when the bowler is neither of those things and instead his foot is pointed 'diagonally' or sort've towards backward square leg to a right hander.

    If you have a kid like that, then you need to change his action or he'll get bulk back problems. If you're unsure which way he should go (front on or side on) get him to sit down on the ground with his legs together and out stretched, then get him to bowl a ball. If it's easier for him to bowl towards his legs, he's front on, if he finds it more natural to bowl at a 90 degree angle to his legs, he's side on.


    In terms of what a collapsed back leg looks like in a fast bowler, look at Shaun Tait.
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    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by benchmark00 View Post
    If you're worried about ****s getting back injuries, a bigger problem you should be on the look out is the angle of the bowler's back foot when it lands, especially if you're coaching younger kids who are wanting to bowl fast (easier to get them early).

    Get the kid to bowl a few balls and watch his back foot closely each time. If the back foot lands and is parallel to the crease, he's a side on bowler. If his back foot naturally points down the pitch, he's front on. Back problems happen when the bowler is neither of those things and instead his foot is pointed 'diagonally' or sort've towards backward square leg to a right hander.

    If you have a kid like that, then you need to change his action or he'll get bulk back problems. If you're unsure which way he should go (front on or side on) get him to sit down on the ground with his legs together and out stretched, then get him to bowl a ball. If it's easier for him to bowl towards his legs, he's front on, if he finds it more natural to bowl at a 90 degree angle to his legs, he's side on.


    In terms of what a collapsed back leg looks like in a fast bowler, look at Shaun Tait.
    Thanks for the help, the sitting down and bowling test sounds pretty good, can't say I've heard of it before. I'm coaching kids at U/12 level, and they all want to bowl fast, so I want to make sure none of them end up with back issues later on.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
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    New theories have said that collapsing a back leg is good for pace. One thing is for sure, keeping bowlers to force it straight will cause injuries. The natural reflex of the knee to get rid of stress is for it to bend and so by preventing this, you are putting the leg at risk.
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    You should be looking at developing and working on the following things with young 'fast' bowlers:

    1. What I've said above re: foot position
    2. Working on developing a big wrist cock and flick at point of delivery. It's easier to get kids to develop this flexibility and tendency when they're around the age group you're coaching. Get them to hold a ball and bend their wrist back and forward all the time to develop greater felxibility. It's basically the pace bowlers equivalent of a spin bowler twirling the ball in their hands in between deliveries. Get them to keep on doing it.
    3. Get them to work within the width of their body. When they run up make sure they don't have arms flapping around outside of shoulder width. Make sure their legs move in a straight line towards the target. Develop their run up technique like you would a normal runner. It's all about efficiency, anything outside of your body width is a loss of energy.
    4. At point of delivery get their elbow up as high as possible. It needs to extend up to at least forehead height. Doesn't really matter what the arm from the elbow to the hand does, at that point, just make sure their elbow gets high. Then get them to really bring it down fast.


    tbh, the above might be a little advanced for the age group you're coaching, but I'm sure you will one day want to coach more advanced junior sides and that stuff will be important to know.

    There's obv some other stuff you can be teaching but that's definitely for more advanced age/skill groups. I'd be trying to teach them those things first if you have capable enough kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by benchmark00 View Post
    You should be looking at developing and working on the following things with young 'fast' bowlers:

    1. What I've said above re: foot position
    2. Working on developing a big wrist cock and flick at point of delivery. It's easier to get kids to develop this flexibility and tendency when they're around the age group you're coaching. Get them to hold a ball and bend their wrist back and forward all the time to develop greater felxibility. It's basically the pace bowlers equivalent of a spin bowler twirling the ball in their hands in between deliveries. Get them to keep on doing it.
    3. Get them to work within the width of their body. When they run up make sure they don't have arms flapping around outside of shoulder width. Make sure their legs move in a straight line towards the target. Develop their run up technique like you would a normal runner. It's all about efficiency, anything outside of your body width is a loss of energy.
    4. At point of delivery get their elbow up as high as possible. It needs to extend up to at least forehead height. Doesn't really matter what the arm from the elbow to the hand does, at that point, just make sure their elbow gets high. Then get them to really bring it down fast.


    tbh, the above might be a little advanced for the age group you're coaching, but I'm sure you will one day want to coach more advanced junior sides and that stuff will be important to know.

    There's obv some other stuff you can be teaching but that's definitely for more advanced age/skill groups. I'd be trying to teach them those things first if you have capable enough kids.
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    Too much emphasis on injury prevention and repeatable, robotic actions here for my liking. Too many people these days hear Paul Allott and Nick Knight talk about Glenn McGrath's action and think it is the only way. Let them bowl naturally now and then tighten up techniques and possible problems now and again in the future.

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    State Vice-Captain Meridio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benchmark00 View Post
    If you're worried about ****s getting back injuries, a bigger problem you should be on the look out is the angle of the bowler's back foot when it lands, especially if you're coaching younger kids who are wanting to bowl fast (easier to get them early).

    Get the kid to bowl a few balls and watch his back foot closely each time. If the back foot lands and is parallel to the crease, he's a side on bowler. If his back foot naturally points down the pitch, he's front on. Back problems happen when the bowler is neither of those things and instead his foot is pointed 'diagonally' or sort've towards backward square leg to a right hander.

    If you have a kid like that, then you need to change his action or he'll get bulk back problems. If you're unsure which way he should go (front on or side on) get him to sit down on the ground with his legs together and out stretched, then get him to bowl a ball. If it's easier for him to bowl towards his legs, he's front on, if he finds it more natural to bowl at a 90 degree angle to his legs, he's side on.


    In terms of what a collapsed back leg looks like in a fast bowler, look at Shaun Tait.
    Not true; it's perfectly possible to bowl with a '45 degree' action and not get back problems. The key is to make sure the top half of your body is in the same alignment as the bottom half. If you have a side-on action, with your back foot parallel to the crease, then you should be looking over your front arm in your action. If you have a front-on action, you should be looking past your front arm; while if your back foot lands at 45 degrees then you should be looking through your front arm, so to speak.

    Kyle Mills is one bowler I can think of with a 45 degree action; it's generally recognised as being a safe way to bowl now. The problems come when bowlers have their feet pointing one way and their torso the other; 45 degree actions are often mistakenly identified as side-on which can lead to the bowler being coached to bring their front arm across their body, causing back problems, which could be why they have been labelled as dangerous.

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    Nope, disagree strongly.

    do it for yourself, stand there with a 45 degree foot angle and attempt to bowl a ball with the bowling arm going towards the target. You immediately feel added stress to the lower back. That's not to say everyone who bowls like that will automatically get back problems, but it's absolutely not a safe way to bowl.

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    State Vice-Captain Meridio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhhhhMattyMatty View Post
    Too much emphasis on injury prevention and repeatable, robotic actions here for my liking. Too many people these days hear Paul Allott and Nick Knight talk about Glenn McGrath's action and think it is the only way. Let them bowl naturally now and then tighten up techniques and possible problems now and again in the future.
    It's a difficult issue and there's no one right way to do it. If you see a teenage bowler with an action that you think is going to lead to serious problems do you try and tinker with it to reduce that risk? Yes, you do end up with your Malingas who can succeed with 'unorthodox' actions, but you also end up with Hamish Bennetts who have actions that are all over the place and cause serious injury. Shane Bond had a mixed action growing up and as a result had (IIRC) three stress fractures in his back by the time he was 21.

    You can also go the other way and coach someone into doing something that doesn't feel right to them, and they'll do something else to try and compensate for it which can lead to just as many problems.

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    State Vice-Captain Meridio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benchmark00 View Post
    Nope, disagree strongly.

    do it for yourself, stand there with a 45 degree foot angle and attempt to bowl a ball with the bowling arm going towards the target. You immediately feel added stress to the lower back. That's not to say everyone who bowls like that will automatically get back problems, but it's absolutely not a safe way to bowl.
    Personally, bowling front-on feels absolutely horrendous for me, while bowling at 45 feels okay. Obviously, that doesn't mean that it's fine for everyone, and I'm medium pace at best anyway, but the word over here now is that a 45 action is fine, so long as your front arm is at 45 too (I can't think of a better way to describe it - your basically looking straight through your front arm).

    Think it's a recent development - have been working towards a coaching certificate, did a course before the season started and views on 45 degree actions was something they mentioned has changed recently.

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    It's certainly changed to the point where if a bowler can't get side on or front on it's not 100% taboo, however what it means is that the bowler has to open his chest more in his action. This is possible but not always repeatable and you get bowlers who close their chest more when they go for extra pace or their action breaks down and they get back problems due to the extra stress caused.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Woodster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meridio View Post
    Not true; it's perfectly possible to bowl with a '45 degree' action and not get back problems. The key is to make sure the top half of your body is in the same alignment as the bottom half. If you have a side-on action, with your back foot parallel to the crease, then you should be looking over your front arm in your action. If you have a front-on action, you should be looking past your front arm; while if your back foot lands at 45 degrees then you should be looking through your front arm, so to speak.

    Kyle Mills is one bowler I can think of with a 45 degree action; it's generally recognised as being a safe way to bowl now. The problems come when bowlers have their feet pointing one way and their torso the other; 45 degree actions are often mistakenly identified as side-on which can lead to the bowler being coached to bring their front arm across their body, causing back problems, which could be why they have been labelled as dangerous.
    Yes I agree, having these 'mixed' actions as far as I'm aware is the biggest threat to back injuries in young kids growing up. As a coach we are always told to look out for these cases and try and eliminate it before the young bowler suffers any serious back injuries.

    As you say, the hips and shoulders must be in sync in the back foot or else you have this 'mixed' action that puts real stress on the back.

    When I bowl my back leg collapses, not sure it's necessarily a huge burden to my back, but being 6'6" it doesn't help me make the best use of my height when delivering the ball.
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    I think the key is differentiating between "mixed" and "midway" actions... I've more to add but struggling to keep my eyes open at the moment so will do so tomorrow!
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    A collapsing back leg is normal. A collapsing front leg, on the other hand, is a major technique fault.
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