Cricket training aids have become an important asset to training cricketers around the world. From youth groups, academies, personal training and more, cricket bowling machines have produced effective cricket skills, while saving bowlers from stress and injury. But not all training aids are created equally. Here's why:
Cricket Bowling Machines: Not All Training Aids Are Created Equally
With so many cricket training aids to choose from, it's important to weigh the pros and cons. If you were to put ball throwing aids on a spectrum, you'd have your bowler, a ball chucker on one end and the electric bowling machine on the other end.
The Electric Cricket Bowling Machine
An electric bowling machine might seem like a dream come true to some cricket players, but there are drawbacks. Electric bowling machines for the most part only throw plastic-coated dimpled synthetic balls and not real cricket balls. The electric bowling machine has rotating wheels which squeezes the ball before spitting it out of the hole. That’s why it cannot handle a sturdy cricket ball, lest it damages the threading of the ball. Because it's not an authentic ball, cricket coaches are veering away from this kind of cricket bowling machine. The higher-quality machines sports facilities and academies use are extremely expensive and bulky, and not for at-home or small group training purposes.
Between the manual ball chucker, the ineffective cheap electric machine, and the bulky, expensive electric thrower, there really wasn't a training device that would fulfill the needs of most cricketers. Recently, the freebowler Superthrower made it's debut on the market as the only cricket bowling machine that is non-electric, portable, uses real cricket balls, and mimics a realistic bowling action.
The Non-Electric, Portable Cricket Bowling Machine
The freebowler super thrower folds up to fit in the trunk of a car or in the back seat vertically. It’s got wheels for portability so that you can wheel it away easily and take it wherever you go. When it’s fully erected, it stands at 53", about 5 feet.
Portability doesn't sacrifice speed. The machine produces speeds up to 140kmph. It’s purely mechanical, so there’s no more hassle of electricity ports, long cords or heavy batteries. From a price point perspective, it’s available for around Rs. 29,000 in India or $415 USD which is almost 1/4–15th the price of the other bowling machines. Most importantly, it can throw any and all types of cricket balls, specifically real leather season cricket balls.
True Bowling Action
freebowler has a ball throwing arm simulating a bowler’s arm so batsmen can prepare, evaluate, and adjust. The end of the ball throwing arm has a ball holding cup which mimics the bowler’s wrist position. By changing the angle and orientation of the ball throwing cup you can vary the length of the ball just like a bowler uses his wrist position to vary the length. The ball throwing arm is connected to the foot pedal through the spring system which is the energy driver of the system. By changing the connection points between the arm and the foot pedal using the spring by changing the notches you can vary the speeds.
The machine can easily be maneuvered across the crease to generate various bowling angles. You can also change the line from on the stumps to outside leg-stick or off-stick by tapping the machine either left or right from the back to align to the batman’s requirements. Because the machine has wheels to maneuver, it can be placed shorter than the normal 22 yards distance from the batsman. This way it enables batsman to play different length and bounce at higher speeds.
The most important aspect and the value proposition in the machine is the use of real cricket balls. With this machine, you can simulate realistic match situations by placing the ball in the ball throwing cup and keeping it pointed towards 3rd man, fine-leg, across the seam, etc. You can use a setup of old and new balls to vary the lengths and get natural variations off the pitch to get as real as possible. The ball thrower does a good job of consistently changing the line, length, swing, and speed of the ball just like a bowler does it in a real game so that batsman is always on his toes, and always playing on the merit of the ball. He’s always working on his feet movement, hand, and eye coordination and playing with hard and soft hands. So, in every sense, the batsman gets a firsthand feel of what it is like to be in a real cricket field in the center facing real cricket bowler.
All of this better equips cricketers to perform in actual games. This is the closest simulation to a real cricket bowler and realistic match situation in every sense, so it helps batsman fine-tune their batting skills.
The freebowler superthrower has gained attention of the media and of pro-cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, who has become freebowler's brand ambassador. Ashwin says this about the machine:
"If we had access to such a machine when we were young, it would have gotten me to where I am much faster."
Watch the raw footage, freebowler superthrower in real-time action: https://youtu.be/Cc11loi7G1w