They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They may not mean to, but they do
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you
So goes Philip Larkin’s famous lines from This be the Verse
Although cricket can claim some very famous literary fans (Pinter, Beckett et al) I’m not entirely sure Larkin was a devotee of the sport. However this Christmas I discovered a new meaning Philip’s famous lines! In lieu of christmas presents younger brother Tim took the Linley (or the 4 of us in the UK) boys for a coaching session. There is a light hearted record of the event right here.
During the session Tim asked me why I don’t bowl more I replied that since 300BC my cricket captains have all bemoaned my ability to bowl 4 bad balls for every 2 good balls. Now admittedly in my student days playing for Totnes I was more 50/50, but now in my 35th year I’m lucky if one ball an over is there or there abouts. Tim was determined to find out why….within minutes of watching he’d found the problem.’You’ve got dancing feet’. Rather humiliatingly he then grabbed my camera, filmed my feet whilst bowling and pointed out how in my delivery stride my right foot ‘danced’ out to the left thus sending me chest on and contorting my body all over the place, making a ‘repeatable’ action impossible. ‘You’ve copied dad’s bowling action its no wonder you spray it about!!!’ In Larkins words ‘dad fucked me up’…
The video he took is below – And if you watch it you’ll see how I'm now reduced to bowling off a 3 pace run counting one, two, three – in an attempt to get my feet in the right place. Should cause suitable amusement for the Brightlingsea lads at winter nets when they begin. There is a serious point here though. Whilst my attempts at correcting my bowling feet are really only for personal pride, and its not really going to make a great difference all in all, you can imagine the impact this sort of advice would have had if I was a younger player. Two things have helped me here one a qualified coach, and two video evidence to help me understand (and importantly see – my faults). At international level the back room staff are much bemoaned but how many of our enthusiastic and (increasingly) trained junior coaches have a simple Flip camera or equivalent – (at circa £80)? Compared to the price of a bowling machine its a snip!