Coaching spin bowling is not as daunting as it seems.
I do a lot of spin bowling coaching. In fact, I know very few, even in cricket-drenched Victoria, who specialise in this skill; I guess it's because there are very few going around, normally restricted to 1 or maybe 2, at a pinch, in most teams in Australia, anyway.
I hear many refer to it as an art, I used to be one of them. I have come to realise calling it "art" pigeon holes it into a very small... Well, hole, which might create the impression that it's something only very few understand.
Whilst at the top end this may be the case, the fundamentals of bowling still flow into spin, just with a few tweaks.
Here's some of the key considerations around spin bowling that I feel are important to nail at each individuals level. I will refrain from going into detail on each of them in this post, but will complete some follow up posts in the near future on each specifically.
#1 - Spin
Seems so obvious, right? Well, it is, but if your spinner spins it, big, then they are obviously doing something right.
If they aren't, then the first thing to check is the grip. So, so many times do I see young spinners with a grip that inhibits spin. Sort this out, and you are well on the way to success with your spinners.
#2 - The Approach
Balanced, moving forward towards the desired target.
Even the spinners who have big arks in their approaches still have their last 3-4 strides in a straight line.
#3 - Alignment
Traditional coaching tells you a spinner must be side on. Well, to an extent, absolutely... In some situations.
If you see many Asian spinners, they will be chest forward to allow their wrist to snap over and deliver balls such as the doosra and karrom ball.
#4 - Delivery Stride/At the Crease
A common issue I see is bowlers jumping straight up at the crease, meaning their lower body is deemed pretty much useless and puts too much strain on the shoulder and upper body. So, jump, or move, forward.
Also, I see a lot of young spinners either under or over stride. This again changes the amount of time you have on the ball to give it a massive rip!
#5 - Variations
Don't bother until you can nail your stock ball. Once you do that, experiment the world away!
Why nail your stock ball? Because the higher levels you play, even though your variations will most likely be the ones which look flashy, you will still bowl your stock ball 98% of the time... Many different ways!
#6 - Tactical Know-How
You need to bowl to a plan, and you need to work out a batter quick smart. Captaincy of spin bowling, generally, flat out sucks, so you need to be, or your spinner needs to be, a really positive, tactical thinker, to survive.
There's some of the key things that I feel make the biggest differences between average spinners and great ones. I'll spend some more time on each of these, and more, in the coming weeks.