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Helping develop young cricketers

This is an excerpt from Coaching Youth Cricket by Ian Pont.

Throwing the Ball

Although many cricketers don't know how to properly throw a ball, the teaching of throwing is relatively simple.

The importance of a good throw cannot be overstated. Run outs at the junior level account for a higher percentage of dismissals than those at senior level. And this is because of a lack of understanding between batsmen when judging runs. Players throwing with accuracy is a joy for any coach to watch. Accurate throws make a team look disciplined and professional, and they really help out the wicket keeper, who, let's face it, has a thankless task at best.

If you have inexperienced players on your team, tell them this: The easiest way to get a round of applause from teammates and those watching is a good, accurate throw. They will then feel part of the game and instantly a part of the team. A pinpoint return from the outfield to the wicket keeper is worthy of acclaim at any level of the game. So let's look at the two types of throws used in cricket:

The infield throw:

The infield throw is designed to release the ball fast, and sometimes with little time to set the position correctly. But, in figure 7.8, we show the correct positioning. Note that the throwing arm comes up into an L shape to line up the throwing shoulder with the target. It's the throwing shoulder that dictates how accurate the throw is going to be, so we want to ensure the shoulder drives toward the target on the throw itself. The fielder's weight transfers from back leg to front leg, and the arm pulls through and extends to release the ball. The fielder's weight then steps forward to maintain balance.

The outfield throw:

The outfield throw differs from the infield throw in one main respect: The throwing arm is fully elongated before the throw is made, as shown in figure 7.9. This is to stretch the arm (like a bow and arrow) and create longer levers. Notice that the knuckles of the hand face upward; this helps keep the throwing elbow up in the throw rather than down below the throwing shoulder. When throwing for distance, good form is better than power because correct technique allows all your energy to flow through the ball. This is also why it's important to ensure weight transfer from back to front foot and to have a good step or drive out of the throwing action.

More Excerpts From Coaching Youth Cricket