Local development officer for cricket Chris Highton gives his tips on how to play the game better

A COUPLE of weeks ago we started to talk about the elements of seam bowling and how the run up and approach are the starting point to being a successful bowler.

This week we are aiming to cover some of the other things that are going to enable you to get the ball where you want it on a regular basis.

The biggest weapon a bowler has is his or her consistency; the ability to land the ball in the same spot on a regular basis is a massively underrated strength in a seam bowler.

Yes, we would all love to be able to bowl the ball at 90-plus miles per hour and swing the ball around corners but bowlers with these traits are few and far between.

Obviously these traits (pace and swing) can be coached, but to some extent they are attributes that come naturally and coaches need to work with them to produce the goods regularly. One thing any bowler can work on, though, is landing the ball in the same spot, the spot – where they want the ball to land, six times an over.

This will only come from practice and having a repeatable action that allows them to do so.

Coaches are often heard to say “bowl at top of off stump” and this is generally a good rule for bowlers to adopt.

If a bowler can consistently bowl that line then this prevents batsmen from using width to drive or hit anything to the leg side.

If a bowler can frustrate a batsman by being consistent then they are likely to force a mistake.

It is, however, important that the correct length is bowled as too short will allow players to force off the back foot and too full will enable the batsman to drive.

The diagram shows an easy template for bowling line and length. This can be easily marked using cones to mark different lengths and a channel of cones to denote line. It is important that bowlers experiment with bowling different lengths as they do not want to become predictable.