Thursday, 26 October 2017

The Googly/Wrong-Un

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         18/2/19 - 26 views

I'll get some "How to" content in here in time, but in the short term here's something I call the Googly Syndrome that you need to be aware of...

If you look at the February 2019 diary entries in my diary blog you'll see a couple of blogs that discuss the need for a variation or two. In the blog you'll see that over the summer of 2019 I intend to work on a Flipper and my top-spinner but there's no mention of a Wrong-Un (Googly/Bosie).

When I started bowling wrist-spin, like everyone, I watched all the Shane Warne videos and saw the variations including the Googly/Wrong-Un. Anyone who bowls leg-breaks will soon realise how much of an asset having a ball that turns the other way would be in a contest against any batsman, especially a good batsman.

So, back in 2008/2009 over one really warm and dry Easter holiday I spent the whole of the 2 weeks working on developing the Googly. My Leg-Break wasn't that big at the time so the need for a variation of some sort was quite pressing, so  I was enthused when working with getting my arm up higher to a vertical position I started to produce a top-spinner. It wasn't that long before I noticed a some of the balls were breaking slightly towards the off-side and watching more videos all it seemed I needed to do was drop the leading shoulder more and give the ball a big flick. Lo and behold within a few more sessions, the turn off the wicket was equivalent to my Leg-Break and furthermore seemingly far more accurate! I was putting in a lot of hours - 2 sessions a day using 24 balls bowling Googlies for 2 hours or more each session.

In the first few days I didn't bowl any Leg-breaks and around about day 4 I tried some leggies and they didn't work. I didn't give it much thought and went back to the Googlies. Over the next few days I developed the flick aspect and really got the ball spinning through the air and turning off the wicket massively. I was practicing in the evenings with a group of blokes who were all half decent bats, one of them allegedly when he was younger, back in Pakistan, was on the fringes of the national team. His feedback with regards how good my Googly was exceptionally positive and I'd bowl him bowling a combination of Flippers and Googlies. The leg-break weirdly still wasn't working - any attempt at the leg-break came out as a Googly, but I still wasn't fussed assuming this was some temporary anomaly that would come right at some point.

Towards the end of the 2 weeks I had to stop bowling because the bowling action for the Googly using the massive flick was really jarring my upper arm and shoulder and I found that when I woke up in the morning having rested all night, I wasn't able to lift my arm above my head. Looking it up and asking about it on forums I figured out I had Rotator Cuff syndrome and had to stop bowling for a few weeks to allow it to recover.

After the Rotator Cuff scare I came back to bowling with the intention of bowling far less Googlies and to now implement them alongside my Leg-Break. I assumed now that I'd go back to the Leg-break quite easily because I hadn't bowled a Googly for 3 or more weeks...

That wasn't the case. No matter what I did, every attempt at a Leg-Break came out as a Googly. With the season fast approaching I needed to be able to do something that would work and after putting in some time trying to bowl the Leg-Break I had to concede defeat in the short term and work on the Googly and Flipper to use in games. Over the following months I occasionally tried to bowl Leg-breaks to see if they'd returned and they hadn't they were lost. Then I noticed something Terry Jenner says at 6'.45" in this video here below about Wrong Uns and the fact that you'll lose your Leg-Break if you work on them too much (Double click image to open video).

It was too late I now had what I coined "Googly Syndrome" and suddenly seemed to be noticing others like Richie Benuad warning bowlers about it.

For the next few years I became a Googly bowler... a Wrist-Spinning 'Offie' rather than a 'Leggie', but to be honest it worked and all of my best bowling figures were accrued during this phase. I bowled Flippers and my efforts at bowling a big Leg-Break produced an over-spun Googly with hardly any turn - these deliveries along with the big turning Googly worked for me. On reflection what may have helped was the batsman saw a Wrist-Spinner standing at the crease flicking the ball like he's going to be bowling Leggies, he may have even watched the grip and the action and just assumed the ball was going to break towards the off. Instead the ball did the opposite combined with the use of the Flipper!

Eventually someone said that if I was bowling off-spin I should learn to bowl orthodox off-spin or address the issue and re-learn how to bowl Leggies. So after 3 seasons of bowling Googlies I committed to getting my Leg-Break back. Over those three years I'd tried all the Flipper variations including the wrong wrong-un to find a ball that broke towards the off, so one of the first decisions I made was to stop all of the variation experiments and bowl nothing but Leg-Breaks.

Initially it was a disaster, every attempt at a Leg Break came out as a Googly and so many times I was tempted to give up and go back to the being a Googly bowler. I reduced my practice regime and committed to only practice in short bursts and if after 24 balls I was still bowling Googlies I'd stop and go back indoors. Having done this a few times I went back to Peter Philpotts Round the loop theory Double click the image below to see the video

 Having read over the theory again, I realised the total opposite of the googly was the Orthodox back-spinner, which was something I'd never bowled and never got anywhere near being able to bowl when I was bowling leg-breaks. I figured if I really tried with this I may start to unravel what was going wrong. Reading the same chapter I realised it was probably going to beneficial to start with this over a much shorter distance and so I committed to around half the length of a wicket 11 yards.
Click the video below for further explanations of the approach.

So I set out to twist the arm so far round that I was attempting to spin the ball backwards as with the Orthodox back-spinner. Note* This next bit is important. You have to have the sensation that you're bringing your arm over with your wrist twisted as in the image above in what should be a Karate chop position. It may well be that if you were to video it, you're nowhere near being able to do this, but the important thing is you have to try and do this with every essence of your being, utterly focused on getting that hand and wrist all the way round. When you're not bowling - visualise it in your mind, use your shoulder, arm, wrist and fingers so that arm comes over for the karate chop.

Over the short distance in short 24 ball bursts, I quickly noticed in each session that some of the balls had a tiny leg-break among the top-spinners and googlies that were still happening, but with each practice the leg-breaks were increasingly frequent. Sometimes it was demoralising because I went backwards a few steps, but I realised I had to keep at it - nothing but attempting to bowl leg-breaks was allowed despite the temptation to try Flippers or just have a few Googlies. I was so committed I knew that I might never see the Googly again, but I was determined to be Leggie again.

Within a few weeks in Sept and October that year over what was now 15 -18 yards I could see the ball leaving my hand with leg-spin and by the end of October I had a side-spinning 90 degree leg-break over 15-18 yards and no sign of a Googly and didn't dare try it for fear of it coming straight back and messing all the hard work up.

Over the winter I did a lot of reading and read a chapter where someone from the past - possibly Tiger O'Reily suggests that the Leg-Break is a ridiculously hard method of imparting spin on the ball and is akin to driving car in its complexity. He argues that the Googly in fact is far more intuitive and if 2 groups of bowlers were introduced to both methods, the Googly bowlers would pick it up far more readily than the Leg-Break bowlers. The Googly bowlers if then instructed to have the Leg-Break as a variation would find it far more difficult than the other way round. The Googly he argues when bowled in isolation is far more natural and doesn't require the same levels of repetition and practice to master in the same way as the leg-break does. So the journey to un-learn it and develop the leg-break or to bowl the leg-break as a variation whilst maintaining your Googly would be a vastly difficult task. *Note if you know where I can find this again, let me know, as I'd like to be able to quote it word for word.

Over that winter I got the length up to 22 yards and in the following summer I worked out how to release the ball with the regulation 45 degree angle, but still able to then deploy the square spun 90 degree ball using the karate chop variation and I still use this today as one of my sub-variations.

My Googly? Gone - committed to an abyss somewhere probably never to return again. Anyone who watches Adil Rashid or Rashid Khan would covet the Googly including me and every now and then I try it for a couple of balls and nothing happens, doesn't even go straight. I smile to myself and think of it as returning to the dark-side... I never want to go there again and I go back to my Leg-Breaks, Flippers and Top-Spinners. To be honest the last couple of years I've toyed with finger-spin, but it's come to nothing as yet. The other thing I work with is the off-spinning flipper and that shows some promise. The variation I reckon all Wrist Spinners should have is the Top-Spinner. If you're bowling decent turning leggies the difference between those leg-breaks and well executed Toppie that doesn't turn is so significant that many batsmen will perceive it as being a Googly anyway.


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