BRACED FRONT LEG

TRANSFER YOUR RUN-UP SPEED INTO THE BALL

A Braced Front Leg is when your leg acts as brake to help transfer your run up speed into your fast bowling action. This happens when your front foot hits the ground (called "Front Foot Contact"), and when done correctly can increase how fast you bowl.

James Anderson running in to bowl (original) - CC2.0 Photo by Nic Readhead

Billy Stanlake (AUS) braces his leg at Front Foot Contact (original) - CC2.0 Photo by David Molloy

WHY SHOULD THE FRONT LEG BRACE?

A Braced Front Leg transfers the momentum from your run up through your lower body, into your upper body,  and finally into the cricket ball. When your front leg creates this large braking force, your upper body is catapulted forwards and the ball is delivered at higher speed.  

Dirk Nannes (AUS) keeps his leg braced during his release (original) - CC2.0 Photo by Kevin McCormick

What happens when a car drives into a brick wall at 100mph and the crash-test dummy inside is not wearing a seatbelt? The car stops immediately but the dummy is catapulted forwards at great speed through the windshield! That is similar to the effect a Braced Front Leg has within the bowling action - the more effective the brake, the greater the catapult effect on the cricket ball and the faster you can bowl.

Many of cricket's fastest bowlers brace their front leg, which partly explains why they can bowl so fast. It is still possible to bowl fast if you cannot brace your front leg, however you will need to make sure you can achieve other key parts of an efficient fast bowling technique. 

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HOW DO YOU BRACE THE FRONT LEG?

To brace your front leg effectively:

  • Straighten your leg in the air before your front foot hits the ground

  • Land heel-first at Front Foot Contact with your front foot pointing straight down the wicket

  • Create an angle of roughly 45 degrees between your front leg and the ground

  • Keep the front leg as straight/still as possible from Front Foot Contact to when you release the ball

Fast Bowling Braced Front Leg

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There are different ways of bracing your front leg:

1.     Land with your front leg straight at Front Foot Contact, and keep it straight as you release the ball

2.     Land with your front leg slightly bent at Front Foot Contact, then straighten it before you release the ball

3.     Land with your front leg slightly bent at Front Foot Contact, but keep it still as you release the ball

At Front Foot Contact, you want both your feet to be in line with your hips, pointing forwards down the wicket. This helps your body to drive in a straight line towards the target, allowing you to bowl fast and straight. 

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