Fast bowlers: Importance of follow through in cricket

In cricket, the term ‘follow through’ indicates the manner in which bowlers finish their bowling action, after releasing the ball. But why is the follow through so important for fast bowlers?

On an average, in the run-up and while landing, a fast bowler places about 6-7 times the load on the back (spine) and legs to generate 125 clicks (125 Km/h). Such amount of load on the body should have a proper deceleration to avoid injuries. The deceleration is achieved through a proper follow through.

So, to brief it up, the importance of a proper follow through is to avoid potential injuries.

Having said that, the fitness of the bowler is also important to keep the bowler away from injuries. But, let’s stick with follow-through for this blog.

There are three criteria’s to consider in a follow through;

  1. Arm swing

  2. Direction of the follow through.

  3. Deceleration

Science behind Bowlers follow through:

Importance of deceleration in follow through:

First lets discuss the science behind steady deceleration.

Fast bowler requires lot of energy to run-in and bowl. Energy required for the body is supplied through blood, pumped by the heart.

Although a lot of muscles are involved while bowling, lets consider only our leg muscles for now.

When a bowler is running-in, blood pumped to the leg muscles provides energy for the bowler to sprint-in and bowl. While the bowler is sprinting-in, the rate at which the blood flows to the muscle increases.

The muscles absorbs the energy from the blood when the blood reaches the muscles. After the energy is absorbed, the blood is pumped it back to the heart at the same rate. This cycle repeats continuously as the bowler sprints-in to bowl.

Its quite clear up to here, what happens next is important.

If the bowler stops sprinting without slowing down, blood accumulates near the muscles. This is to say that, the blood which was pumped to the muscles cannot flow back up to the heart at the same rate.

This in-turn leads to lack of blood in the heart, which is required to pump energy to other muscles. So, consequently other muscles becomes weak due to lack of energy and might lead to injuries.

Thus a simple deceleration in the follow through becomes a mandatory for the bowler. This keep the blood circulating at a fairly constant rate and keep the bowler away from injuries.

In an ideal follow through a bowler gradually comes to a stop after taking 6 to 7 steps down the pitch.

Importance of Arm rotation and direction of follow through:

A fast bowler should use all the momentum gathered through run-up to generate speed, control and accuracy. This is where arm swing and the direction of the follow through comes into picture.

A complete arm swing over the opposite shoulder and straight follow through ensures maximum transfer of the energy (gained through the momentum) onto the ball. Thus ensuring speed.

A straighter arm swing and straighter follow through allows the bowler to gauge the line and lengths easily. Thus, the bowler finds accuracy and control while bowling.

Note: Arm Swing, direction and deceleration of the follow through should be done in one flow. That is to say, stopping it in the middle and then completing it just for the sake of completing is not going to help.

I hope by now you have got a brief idea as to why follow through of fast bowlers are so important in cricket.

Are there any more points to add on? Lets discuss…