We have not yet agreed any coaching dates for camps due to COVID-19. But we do hope to have some UPF camps arranged in the near future!
Please revert back regularly to check.
The very latest updates from Team UPF
We have not yet agreed any coaching dates for camps due to COVID-19. But we do hope to have some UPF camps arranged in the near future!
Please revert back regularly to check.
It’s been three years since we started UPF Cricket online coaching and we are massively proud of the achievement!
Many thousands of people have been helped by the coaching of Ian Pont & Catherine Dalton and the website is a key part of this. By helping coaches, teachers, fast bowlers and development programmes all over the world, UPFcricket.com remains the leading technical & tactical site for fast bowling.
There are now more than 190 videos online, which cover the physical and mental aspects too of being a fast bowler.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this site a wonderful place to be.
Grab your FREE PDF copy of the best-selling Ultimate Pace Secrets that goes deep into the bowling action using the results of high motion video analysis from the fastest men on the planet.
That information, based on exhaustive years of clinical study and biomechanics, is transformed into usable, workable and successful coaching methods that can help any bowler to bowl faster and more accurately. Ultimate Pace Secrets completely blows the lid off speed coaching once and for all.
It’s a ground-breaking publication that many other fast bowling coaches are using in their own coaching.
You will find a book revealing everything you need to know about how to complete the drills needed to increase speed and improve accuracy as a bowler. You will finally discover why coaches don’t (or cannot) coach speed into bowlers, yet are good at coaching speed out of them. And you will realise for yourself why actions go largely uncorrected, left alone or simply ignored.
Among the things you will find out are:
Plus much more….
Ian Pont puts down on paper many of the latest discoveries in speed coaching techniques. These are cutting edge skill drills and positional adjustments that any bowler can understand and start using right away. The drills will have you making the most of your assets. But the best part is, you’ll be able to work on your action and outcomes based on understanding simple processes.
GET YOUR FREE PDF COPY EMAIL NOW HERE: info@UPFcricket.com
BOOK YOUR SKYPE MENTORING CALL WITH IAN PONT.
If you’ve ever wanted personalised mentoring here’s your chance. You can now enjoy a 121 mentoring chat with a World-Class coach by booking time to discuss any fast bowling topic you wish.
Some people use it to have their videos assessed, others to find out what they ought to be doing to improve their cricket or simply to discuss any questions they have about fast bowling. So this is a great opportunity to have your very own coach onboard.
And the best part is, it’s really easy to organise.
Below, click on the link for your own 30 minute slot. You can add as many 30 minute slots as you want – and you can add them back to back. You can even bank them for the future. Once you have done this, we will be back in touch with you for a convenient date & time for the Skype mentoring discussion.
If you want to discuss any issues, doubts or just comment on fast bowling, here’s your chance!
We have recently launched a “UPF Swing, Seam & Pace Bowling” FaceBook Group, which is open to all. On this page you will find polls, articles, subjects, answers and interaction with our coaches Ian Pont & Catherine Dalton.
It’s completely free. All you need to do is go to the page and apply to join.
UPF Swing, Seam & Pace Bowling FaceBook Group here: UPF Swing, Seam & Pace Bowling Group – why not join us now?
It’s a great way to pick the brains of our coaches.
Be part of the world’s fastest growing online pace bowling community. See you over there! UPF Swing, Seam & Pace Bowling Group
An interesting fact about cricket coaches – some can and some cannot, coach. Yet, the thought is if you have played at the highest levels you are automatically a superb coach who can teach others the same skills you had.
It was some 30 years ago I had my first epiphany about fast bowling.
On my MLB pro tryout with Philadelphia Phillies, the pitching coach asked me why I had slowed down my speed when throwing. I answered something akin to “slowing down to bowl a line & length” in cricket terms, which he proceeded to destroy in biomechanics terms, as being completely incorrect. It seems in rotational, ballistic sports, you SPEED UP to become more accurate. My first lesson was taught, learned and the rest is, well… history.
Today, the world’s leading coaches strive to hugely simplify what they say. This includes the overlooked and widely misunderstood technical terminology of fast bowling, so it can be taught – and is the real way to educate a generation. I was never a person that would make this complex, complicated or ambiguous. I would never be a person to ‘stand corrected’ because I had rushed into something that wasn’t true or appropriate, only to tweak my view when challenged or blow with the wind because others have opposing views. After all, gravity is gravity whatever you choose to call it.
So my methodology had to stand the test of time. And more than that, it would have to take what IS a complex and inherently hard to understand series of movements and make them into a coherent coaching system for Fast Bowlers. I never bought in to ‘generalist’ view of coaching requiring knowledge of multi-layered subjects before you could be effective. In fact, much like medicine and GP’s vs Specialists, I learned very early on that you have to be specialised in what you do and make it exceptional. Coaching for far too long has been generic and not specific. (See article: What is a Qualified Coach? )
I am simple man. I have a simple brief: to improve the speed & control of everyone I work alongside and with – if that is what they want. Far too many coaches make things immensely challenging to understand. And this can only be because they are unsure how things really work – that or they are deliberately trying to appear ‘clever’ or ‘smart’. But no coach needs to do that. Instead, we need to be clear, concise and above all be communicating correctly with students, parents and other coaches. No coach needs to try and impress if they are already good enough. There’s no need to seek others’ approval to verify what you do, if the results you get are already superior and working. No coaching should be too hard to understand that it appears as if it’s written from a scientific paper. It should never be so overbearing & onerous that it cannot be written in just a few sentences.
If a 9 year-old doesn’t understand it, it’s probably too full of jargon and gobbledegook. If it can’t be worked out, it has little purpose other than to make people turn away confused. And that is the greatest mistake in coaching.
It’s why when I started, I advertised “Bowl faster or your money back” fast bowling courses. Armed with a speed gun to ‘prove’ the increases, and an orange target on off stump to ‘prove’ the accuracy, it became all about working hands on with bowling actions. School boy & club cricketers got it straight away. Improvements for all the bowlers were instantaneous. The seeds of UPF were born.
My introduction to biomechanics, kinetics and isometrics came from Dr Ken West, a professor of human movement working across 46 different sports (who as a leading optometrist in his own right, helped Anul Kumble disregard his glasses for specialised contact lenses). Ken questioned everything I did as a coach. He educated me in the hugely complicated & technical world of human movement as it applied to fast bowling with practical advice & support. But I followed Ken’s success methodology: Keep It Simple. This is why he worked in so many sports, across all the levels to World-Class standard. He UNDERSTOOD how to adapt & adopt different ideas so they became relevant to the sport he was working in at the time. There would be some human movement non-negotiable issues in that, too. For example, humans can only move in certain way and in that, we are ALL THE SAME. But the style we perform the movement in is individual. Hence, for me, the notion you can coach speed into everyone became obvious if you focus exclusively on structure, which is what we know as TECHNIQUE IN FAST BOWLING.
To create a success formula, you need a starting point. Understanding what constitutes a ‘perfect’ technique and what errors fast bowlers make, gives you the base for coaching speed. This is what has held back successive National Boards, coach educators and those wanting to, but not knowing how to work with speed. It has therefore been dismissed as “un-coachable” giving rise to to the “you are born with it” propaganda pumped out (often inadvertently) from ex-players who themselves had no help in this area. Instead of challenging things, there is safety in hordes of people agreeing with one another – even if what they say isn’t true. It has put fast bowling out on its own as the only sport remaining backwards in the knowledge that great technique takes us forwards.
In my journey then, I had influences from Dr West from sports such as tennis, swimming, martial arts, American football, basketball and even skiing, alongside my own interaction with baseball & javelin. It got me to look for common ground in sports as well as identify similar patterning for fast bowling. The “13 key indicator points” (common mistakes many of the bowlers made) forming the bedrock of The Fast Bowler’s Bible became refined to The 4 Tent Pegs and RSSSA (Range, Speed, Sequence, Speed & Alignment) now seen in Ultimate Pace Secrets. And all the skill drills that go with those positions – to maximise the speed of ANY bowler – were fully developed into what they are today. No jargon and few if any, external props required. Just the purist form of educating speed into bowlers regardless of their size, shape, build, genetics, background or environment. That education underpinned by exceptionally effective static, progression & isolation drills that alter muscle memory. Relevant, repetitive and ballistic rotational moves to replicate the bowling action by highjacking the bowler’s system.
Realising you cannot just shoehorn movements from other sports was a vital part of this – even on a very basic level of understanding. Baseball pitchers for example, do not have a run up. This means their base ‘pushes’ (dips & drives) in a completely different way to fast bowlers who ‘drop’ because they use a run up momentum, which alters the sequential muscle stretch & contraction. Every baseball pitcher starts sideways on the plate to throw. And to gain power, the pitcher has to generate a very large delivery stride so their top half can get up to speed. None of this is the same in fast bowling. Javelin throwers throw upwards meaning their arm mechanics differ to a fast bowler. Their release point is behind them, not in front of them as in fast bowling, so the trunk flexion creates an extension and not a contraction for a longer period of time. Foot patterning/planting is different, too. And of course both baseball & javelin use the extra hinge mechanics of a bend in the elbow. These are simple enough differences to realise that you cannot just copy across to fast bowling from other sports. You have to make a nod to those biomechanics and learn how they APPLY to a fast bowler through adaption, not mimicking. Even then, you need to understand whether they do actually apply in the first place.
I worked out 30 years ago, this journey wouldn’t be about how much I knew. It would be about how much I could get students to understand. The knowledge held by any coach isn’t relevant if those they work with have little idea how to replicate it. And the cardinal sin, according to the great, world-class tutors who mentored me right at the start of my coaching education, is to make coaching all about me instead of the fast bowler.
I would always want to coach others as I wish to be coached myself. For me, that is a simple, repeatable methodology, which isn’t shrouded in any words you need a dictionary to understand the message or a spellchecker.
It’s what sets UPF coaching apart from anything else currently being offered. It’s also why we are able to turn fast bowlers into the best version of themselves they can be. And it’s why we are making a difference in fast bowling coaching today.
Can anyone else see the point of the Level 1 coaching award?
Podcast 1: What’s the idea behind UPF Cricket? And why is it completely different to any other fast bowling website?
Podcast 2: What do UPF students say? How to avoid ‘chucking’ and what is it?
As the epidemic of fast bowlers getting stress fractures of the spine appears to surge, the solution it seems is just as far away as ever. Yet the answer has always been within the grasp of coaches. It’s simply that fast bowling has suffered from a backwards thinking when it comes to understanding how the action works correctly.
The latest casualty is one Kagiso Rabada, World Number One ranked Test Bowler, who at the ripe old age of 23 has suffered a back stress fracture. But it was always likely to happen given the WAY his bowls and the counter-rotation in his back before he bowls, a misalignment of his action throughout and a large lateral flexion (fall away) when he actually bowls the cricket ball. Great bowler. But also a great candidate for a stress fracture.
So why are cases like his and the tens of others we see befalling far lesser bowlers, happening with more regularity?
There’s a great saying “you reap what you sow”. And for more than a decade now the emphasis has been far less on technique and far more on ‘strength, fitness and conditioning’. On the surface of it, if a bowler suffered a stress fracture due to him being ‘fragile’ the theory would be he will be protected due to all that new found training right?
This is where we go wrong.
Fast bowling actions that are riddled with inefficiencies, are a recipe for creating stress pockets. The lower back (pars lumbar) is where the bowler has an issue (around L5) so it makes absolute sense to ensure the body is correctly aligned to avoid issues. No amount of extra training it going to correct the misalignments and no amount of lifting weights or gym work will alter a poor bowling action.
This is all about technique, or the body’s ability to deliver a skill repeatedly in the most efficient way possible. The upside of course for working on a bowler’s action is also one of improved outcomes. If you are consistent and effective at the bowling end, you are likely to be the same at the batsman’s end. The benefits of technical advances are obvious therefore for more wickets and less injuries.
But the coaching of fast bowling technique is extraordinarily limited. Much of it is reduced to ‘pulling down a toilet chain” with the front arm or bowlers hopping over a succession of yellow hurdles. trying to avoid ski poles and getting pulled in different directions by bungee ropes. The understanding of what parts of the body need to move in which direction – and in what sequence, are a complete mystery in fast bowling. In virtually all other rotational, ballistic sports, technique is the most important aspect of the athlete’s work.
If you know what to look for you can almost predict with unerring accuracy, which actions are likely to cause problems. And sure enough, given enough overs, the bowler ends up having to rehab, often multiple times, and each time having a negative impact of both mental state and the body’s ecosystem.
The bottom line is simply this: unless and until technical fast bowling coaches are employed to work on the structure of the action and the linking of the movements between the key positions, we will miss out on two things; the ability to help avoid back injuries and the maximising of speed of our fast bowlers.
Fast bowling is an injurious pursuit but not one beyond the wit of man. Neglecting technique is the most retrograde step for fast bowling in this generation of information at our fingertips and data driven sport. If we do not understand the technical aspect of our sport how is it possible for coach educators to pass on knowledge to coaches? Instead we will produce a generation of coaches afraid to ‘tinker’ with a bowling action but will be at home finding distracting things to do in fast bowling sessions that have nothing to do with improving the technical delivery. The bottom line is, if no one teaches technique then no one is culpable. This leaves other ‘manageable’ areas of cricket training such as outcomes, fitness, scenarios and nets as the only tools available to a fast bowling coach.
The answer, as the Chinese like to say, is always in front of you. I am just unsure that cricket is really looking.
With the retirement of Shoaib Akthar, Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee, the world has far less to be excited about in pace terms. Steyn remained out on front, almost in a league of his own, able to uproot the batsman, but he is now coming to his own end of career. Rabada has recently burst through but here we are not talking about a 150 kph bowler. And the pacers going around do not have the blistering speed of the recent retirees.Ultimately, a lack of pace doesn’t make you a bad man, but the point is you don’t have to sacrifice speed for anything. Not even for your outcomes. So next time you watch the current crop of bowlers, just add 8 kph to their TV speeds and imagine how much more effective they would be.
It’s always a curious thing when coaches, players and commentators talk about “natural talent”.
When someone does well they appear to have natural talent, according to experts and when they break records, do something exceptional or remain highly consistent, it is revered as natural ability.
But the truth is, if we do things over and over again this is what becomes natural. And that means you can change it.
Coaching (or teaching) can help you alter how you do things. If you are a batsman and continually get LBW for example, the way you bat can be improved. In some cases, a trigger, pre-delivery movement, would dramatically help. But this wouldn’t be natural for you to attempt without grooving it over and over – until it felt natural. At this point, we would say that you had a natural style of batting, even though you had learned it. Because even if you ‘worked out’ the best way for you to bat – you have learned it. It might be self-taught, but that is learning, too.
Brett Lee suffered a stress fracture due to his ‘natural’ bowling action when aged 18. So he changed it into what we saw . To us this looks natural and most commentators said this is a gift for him and ‘how he bowls’ even though he learned it.
There is a confusion over what is natural and the aptitude as humans we have to do something easily. Humans are pre-disposed with different assets that make running, throwing, jumping or hitting a ball, more likely. However, something is only natural if it has been nurtured, developed and learned.
This is the most important thing to remember – apart from instinct we are all born with, all things in our life are learned experiences. It doesn’t mean that all humans can do the same things equally well. It simply means that we are a product of what we have been taught, shared and absorbed.
Those who do exceptionally well as a cricketer clearly perform the most important tasks better than others. Whether this is physical, mental or tactical, those world class performers all share a similar group of ‘assets’. There is a capacity to perform that others may not be able to show.
Whether this is natural talent, for me, is highly unlikely.
All tall people cannot be fast bowlers. All people with great reflexes and concentration cannot be great batsmen. So what is the ‘gift’ that people have that makes them exceptional?
Whatever you do more often than not, becomes natural, feels natural and looks natural. Being taught the right things is the main part of what appears to be natural, gifted talent.
So is there a difference between what is natural and what is natural talent? It is just predisposition that differs, but the common denominator is always what has been learned.
And that comes down to coaching in the end, appropriate to the person receiving it.