Friday, 27 August 2010

In from the cold

It's been a long time since I posted on here. The reason being that at about the time when I started writing this particular blog Joe stopped bowling Wrist Spin and drifted into the dark art of pace bowling. But today there's been a glimmer of the old Joe. Today, for the first time in probably 2 years Joe bowled beautifully turning Leg Breaks and Wrong Uns out of nowhere and loved every minute of it....................

My younger son Joe did that thing when he was younger where he just somehow naturally bowled Leg Breaks. That combined with the fact that he bowled accurately, loopy and with varying pace and flight he was very successful against kids of his age that could play a bit of cricket and anyone else (including adults and me) that chose to pick up a bat and face him.

There's the time in 2008 when we were on holiday on a campsite with a group of kids that included U11 and U13 club players he took 9 wickets for less than 30 runs. But not long after that he joined his club and was exposed to fast bowling and suffered being batted out of the park by kids that were good with the bat. I think this undermined his belief in slow bowling and he bought into the idea having seen Lasith Malingas 4 wickets in a row in the 2007 world cup, that fast was best and that if you want wickets you're best off bowling fast.His Richie Benaud vertcial bowling action disappeared as he bowled more and more trying to copy Malinga and bowling faster. In the end I had to stop trying to get him to revert back to bowling wrist spin and let him find his own way and perhaps end up going over to the Darkside with aspirations of being a pace bowler when he's older and bigger.Fortunately, I think like a lot of brothers he has a sibling rivalry thing going on and his older brother Ben who is primarily a pace bowler doesn't serve the purpose of being someone to aspire to. The net effect is that Joe, no matter how fast he tries to bowl, he can't ever get anywhere near the same speed as Ben because there's a big physical difference across the 2.5 year age gap. But rather than own up to this and recognise the fact that Ben is a better pace bowler, I think Joe has kept trying to bowl straight maybe waiting for it to come right with the speed and has kind of ended up being a slow bowler that doesn't intentionally turn the ball.

In the last two seasons his wickets have come through primarily bowling straight, flighting the ball and varying the speed from loopy and very slow, through slow and quite a bit faster.This has served him well and he's okay with how it's going. I've had to keep a very low profile, hands off and don't say anything approach unless of course it's by way of encouragement. But then over the last couple of months he's drifted into bowling Wrong Uns that turn out of the back of the hand in conjunction with his slightly faster balls. Whether this delivery is used in games or not I don't know - but in practice he uses it to good effect tonight playing in the square where I've devised a game to get their batting techniques better he started to bowl ripping Leg Breaks that had me bowled 6 times for 6 runs off of 36 balls! (Yeah I am crap). But the first ball which I just thought had just come out of his hand wrong to produce the Leggie turned perfectly from outside of Leg right across me almost clipping my hands as it passed the off-stump!"Whoa Joe! That was a Leg Break there"! I said in surprise and he smiled, but then the next ball bowled on a middle stump line I played a straight drive to and it turned away from the edge of the bat just missing it!"Joe your bowling Leg Breaks"!"Yeah I know". He answered nonchalently. I asked him what he was doing different and he showed me his grip (2 up 2 down) and how he was flicking his wrist as he bowled. Sure enough the next 36 balls I watched and the majority of them had the seam which is clearly visible rotating perfectly to get the leg-break! But then he started mixing it up bowling top-Spinners and Wrong Uns and down went my wicket again and again.I was well chuffed and so was he and we played for over an hour and half whereas I'd usually expect a game outside the house to last for 20 - 30 minutes before his enthusiasm waned. Could this mean that Joe after a couple of years in the bowling wilderness has returned to the fold and is once again a Wrist Spinner? Let's hope so eh?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Round arm

Joe's gone round arm for some reason and I can't convince him to change it. I have to be careful with what I say to him and prefer that his coaches pick him up on things like this.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Ben and Joe had their training session today and came away saying that they weren't that excited about the whole affair because they're going over the same thing again and again. I think Ben is beginning to suffer from teenager - itis, where he doesn't like to be told that he's doing it wrong despite the fact that the coach was explaining that if he continued to field as he was he'd end up with broken fingers. Neither of them seem to grasp that the amount of practice required in order that they attain a decent level of proficiency. I think all the coaches today worked well with them - Neil, Dave and Graham and kept them busy. They even had a bit of a game in the middle and I'm wondering whether they too sensed an overall feeling of despondency amongst the kids? This is where no doubt the wheat will be sorted from the Chaff and I'm hoping that my lads are 'The Wheat'.In the game both of them bowled 2 overs of 3 so the equivalent of an over. Joe bowled a maiden across the six balls and every ball was met with a 'Ohhh'! From all and sundry and Neil was encouraging him from the umpires position - from what I could tell from Neils reactions and Joe's indifferent report after was that 6 of his balls were right on the stumps 2 went over the stumps and the other 4 were Leg Breaks that all spun away from their original trajectory of hitting the stumps.

Ben was slightly less successful but then he bowls straight and had better calibre bats to bowl against, I think he went for one. Similarly he either went over the top or just missed the edge down the off-side. One was hit and a run taken and one got an inside edge that then bounced off the leg and ricocheted passed the off-stump. But despite this they were indifferent to the session. Neither of them batted particularly well either. The rest of the session was made up of catching drills, long barrier practice and throwing accuracy. I thought it was a good session.

Watching Ben it looks as though because he doesn't get to bowl much his run up and follow through needs some work. The follow through looked very weak, so once we are out on the field again we'll have a look at that?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Practice session game

Joe's over was first and he was up against a much bigger boy (Older) who's also the son of one of the coaches and similarly plays alongside of his brother. I don't know whether this was the older or younger boy, but they're established players who've been there at least a season and are definitely the nicer kids on the team and can bat quite proficiently.

Joe bowled his first ball loopy and slow trying to turn it, the kid played it coming down the wicket and missed it and the ball just went over the stumps but the keeper was miles back because all the bowlers up till Joe had been trying to bowl like Flintoff, the bat grounded his bat before the wicket keeper was anywhere near retrieving the ball to stump him.Joe then went for a shorter ball but straight this time and the kid went for a defensive block - dot ball. Joe's next ball was longer this time and straight and again the defensive block and the ball edged out to point but there was no-one there - gutted. His last ball was faster with more of a run up - again the defensive shot, this time the ball pinged up and came back down the wicket just short of Joe who'd reacted far too late to get him bowled and caught! A Maiden over for Joe.

All through the 4 ball over from the first ball all the kids were giving 'OOohh and Aahhh' Ben said that one of the kids turned to him and said - 'His bowling is dangerous because it's slow'.

When we got home Joe disappointed with his performance spent another 20 minutes or so practicing with me behind the stumps outside the house, he was turning the ball (leg breaks) and increasing his speed and was hitting the stumps 25% of the time and only bowled 2 wides in 30 or so balls.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Joe Dec 2008 slow motion

Here's a video clip of Joe as he stands at the minute. I've had a look and I reckon the thing he needs to work on is his follow through. There's a brilliant video on the internet featuring a coach - David Freedman and Aussie Beau Casson who bowls left arm Leg spin and they demonstrate some drills.

It's the follow through drill where Freedman advocates stepping over an obstacle that Joe needs to do so that this step-over aspect becomes a part of his bowling and it's something I've only realised as being crucial myself in the last 6 months. So it'll be something we can work on. In the meantime here's a short clip of Joe as he bowls now.

I don't reckon there's a lot wrong with Joe's bowling all the time he concentrates and tries hard and looking at the clip it looks as though everything is going in the right direction and and I love the way he springs into his stride and gets airbourne!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

15th November

Here's Joe this week at the practice session with Basildon and Pitsea cricket club. After last weeks refusal to go - probably in part due to the fact that he may have been ill it was good to see him there and willing to be there. He did look a bit bemused with some of the proceedings and it was obvious that by not turning up last week he was behind with some of skills his brother Ben (In Red) and the other boys had been taught - particularly the chase, pick- up and throw skills. But the good news was by the end of the session he'd picked it up and when we got home he went through it with me (He instiagted it) asking me if he was getting it right and he was.

Joe didn't take any wickets, he got an edge that a normal wicket keeper would have had - but his wicket keeper wasn't standing up to the stumps and the ball went almost vertically up and would have landed in the keepers gloves had he been in the right place. He bowled a couple of wides as well, but earlier in the session the trainers had been telling him to bowl seam up and I think this unsettled him a bit?

But earlier in a practice session he'd been bowling very straight and a decent length. Ben took one wicket bowled a ball and the bat hit it at face height to short mid wicket and it was easily caught. So I think that works out at - Ben 3 Joe 0.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Week 2 training

Unfortunately Joe didn't want to go to the training session yesterday with Basildon & Pitsea cc under 11 colts. So me and Ben went on our own. Joe chose to stay at home and do his homework instead of playing cricket! Why this is I don't know - if I believed in start signs it put it down to the fact that he's the same star sign as me and the same as me he's incredibly easy come easy go. I find it very difficult to get motivated even to do things that I like - so maybe he's a bit like that? He's also very contrary to the point where he'll deny himself the chance to do something he likes just to be awkward. But Ben came back from the session having really enjoyed it again and I think Joe got the sense that he'd missed out so hopefully he'll go next week. The things is if I push him too much he's likely to react against me.

But I reckon if he'd have gone he'd have done well again as the team doesn't appear to have a spin bowler and I made this point to Joe. We'll have to see what happens next week?

Another thing I want to do is score Joe's overs and record his performance in these situations, to see how affective he is. I might also do it using a proper score sheet just to get practice for next season.