The Run Up helps you gain momentum and direction ahead of your fast bowling action. It is the first part of your bowling technique that can impact how fast and straight you can bowl in practice and cricket matches. 

 

Glenn McGrath during his run up (original) - CC2.0 Photo by Rae Allen

WHY IS A GOOD RUN UP IMPORTANT?

 

The Run Up sets the tone for how you want to bowl. To help you bowl faster and straighter, you will need a fast run up that is directed towards your target. Research has shown that faster run ups are linked to faster bowling speeds, so it is worth spending time to get yours right. 

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

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The length and speed of a Run Up will vary from person to person, but if you look at how fast Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee used to run up, it is not surprising that they were two of cricket's fastest bowlers of all time.

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HOW DO YOU RUN UP PROPERLY?

 

​A good Run Up:

  • Drives in a straight line towards your target using good running technique

  • Helps you gain momentum and rhythm by accelerating towards the crease

  • Hits your optimum running speed a few strides before your Jump and Gather

  • Is the same length and speed every time

  • Allows you to land with your front foot splitting or just behind the crease-line

England fast bowler, Stuart Broad, in the middle of his run up (original) - CC2.0 Photo by Rayand

Your Run Up angle will normally change when bowling at right or left-handed batsmen. You should aim to run in a straight line from the top of your run up towards the batsman's off-stump. Practise bowling at right and left handed batsmen from over and around the wicket to see what run up angle works best for you. 

RUN UP PRACTICE DRILL

 

RUN UP MEASURING DRILL

Run Up Measuring Drill

1.     Start at the front crease and run away from the stumps until you feel ready to bowl the cricket ball

2.     Mark where your front foot lands (you may need to video it or get someone to watch)

3.     From your mark, run towards the stumps and bowl - you want your front foot to land on/behind the crease 

4.     If your front foot lands beyond the crease it is a no-ball, so repeat steps 1, 2 and 3

5.     Use a tape measure, or count the steps from the crease to your mark so that it's the same every time

COMMON ISSUES WITH THE RUN UP

 

You may experience some of the following issues when practising your Run Up which could prevent you from bowling fast or put you at risk of an injury during practice or cricket matches:

Run Up Not Straight

RUN UP IS NOT STRAIGHT

If your Run Up zig-zags from side to side, it becomes harder for you to bowl the ball fast and straight as your body is not directed towards your target in a straight line.  This will make it more difficult to align your body correctly later on in your action which increases your injury risk.

Run Up Slows Down

RUN UP SLOWS DOWN

Slowing down in your Run Up will likely mean that you end up bowling slowly, and batsmen will find it easier to score runs against you. You may also end up trying to bowl fast by forcing the cricket ball down the other end with a bad bowling action, putting yourself at a greater risk of injury.

SUMMARY - RUN UP

 
  • The purpose of the Run Up is to gain momentum and direction

  • Explore a Run Up speed and length that suits you - if you want to bowl faster, try running up faster

  • Run Up in a straight line towards your target using good running technique

  • You should be accelerating from start to finish - do not slow down!

  • Remember to change your angle when bowling to a left or right-handed batsman

FAST BOWLERS TO WATCH

Brett Lee (AUS, 161.1 km/h)

Shoaib Akhtar (PAK, 161.3 km/h)

Stuart Broad (ENG, 144.0 km/h)

Mitchell Starc (AUS, 160.4 km/h)

Shabnim Ismail (SA-W, 128.2 km/h)

Johnson & Starc (AUS) Run Up @ 03s

Shoaib Akhtar (PAK) Run Up @ 02s

Stuart Broad (ENG) Run Up @ 01s

Johnson & Starc (AUS) Run Up @ 03s

Shoaib Akhtar (PAK) Run Up @ 02s

Stuart Broad (ENG) Run Up @ 01s

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