Back foot contact explained
In the sport of cricket, back foot contact is position of the bowler at the instant when the back foot lands on the ground just prior to delivering the ball. For a right-handed bowler, the back foot is normally the right foot.
An alternative name for back foot contact is coil.
To avoid back injury it is important that the hips and shoulders are aligned at back foot contact. This can be done in any of the following positions:
- Side on: the back foot is parallel to the bowling crease causing the hips to be side on. The non bowling arm is positioned in front of head so causing the shoulders to align with the hips. A classic example of a side on bowler is Dennis Lillee.
- Chest on: the back foot points straight down the track towards the target, aligning the hips parallel to the bowling crease. The non bowling arm is positioned to the side of the head. This aligns the shoulders and chest parallel with the bowling crease and hips. Malcolm Marshall is an example of a chest on bowler.
- Mid-way: the back foot is in between the side on and chest on position. A fine example of a mid-way bowler is Allan Donald.
- If the bowler's back foot is behind parallel to the bowling crease, the bowler loses momentum and speed when delivering the ball. This is because the bowler's back foot bends at the knee and causes momentum to be lost and the bowler then has to go back and lift their whole body back upright.
An action that fails to align hips and shoulders at back foot contact is termed a mixed action.
Other coaching points
- The body should be upright or just slightly leaning back. Leaning back too far causes momentum to be lost as it takes too long to transfer from back foot contact to front foot contact.
- Head still and looking at the target.
- Ball held close to the chin. This tucked in position allows the ball to be brought through in an arc that is aligned with the target. This is obviously important for accuracy, but is also important for power.
- The non bowling arm should also be inside or close to the line of the trunk. Traditionally the non bowling arm is held vertically. More recent bio-mechanical theories have suggested that the non bowling hand touching the bowling shoulder provides a shorter lever, permitting greater pace for quick bowlers. Shoaib Akhtar uses this technique.