TARGET 100MPH

Pace bowlers put through their paces by former Somerset ace...

A GROUP of the most exciting young fast bowlers from around the world are currently attending the first PaceLab UK two-week residential course in Wellington.

PaceLab is a new venture set up by Steffan Jones, director of sport at Wellington School, which involves the former Somerset favourite travelling around the world coaching fast bowlers, based on sports science.

Jones, who was part of the Somerset side that won the C&G Trophy at Lord’s in 2001 and gained promotion back to the top flight of the championship in 2007, explained: “What I do is data driven and based on facts. When I have data and facts based on biomechanics and applied physics, then I can present my case as to how bowlers should be coached.

“No bowler is the same, everyone is different so there is no one size fits all.

“With the hard data we collect on the equipment we have here it shows that we are built differently and need to train differently.”

The bowlers who are working with Jones are between the ages of 13 and 24 and seven of them are from India, while some have travelled from New Zealand along with others from around the United Kingdom.

The two-week course started with Jones assessing each of the young pacemen using the specialist equipment he has developed.

Certainly Jones’ methods of coaching are attracting the attention of the cricketing world.

“It’s all very exciting and everyone is buying into my concept of how fast bowlers should be coached,” he said. “I am just about to agree with Rahul Dravid to run Pacelab India at his academy in Bangalore which we discussed when he was here with India A last week.

“On the way to setting up PaceLab, I was with Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash two years ago, with Stuart Broad, Shaun Tait and Dan Christian. They all said that I was the best coach they had ever worked with and that increased my profile and credibility.

“Since then things have just gone from strength to strength and I am currently coaching someone I think is probably the fastest bowler in the world currently – Aaron Summers who was with the Hobart  Hurricanes.

“He is a baseball pitcher and they spotted him in the nets and he was bowling at 94 mph so my aim is to make him 100mph.

“The PaceLab is all about fast bowling and I’m going all round the world with it. I am off to Australia later in the year and when I am there I will provide details of how their fast bowlers move and how they should train.”

What happens to the young tyros after their time on the PaceLab course?

“Each bowler will have a programme to go away with and will keep in contact through Skype, so it’s a remote programme,” said Jones. “I give each of the bowlers a detailed programme and they just have to follow it.

“This is just the starting point for something which I believe will really take off and grow big.

“During term time I work full time as director of sport at Wellington School, but in the holidays I am involved with PaceLab, which is my passion.”

Jones added: “I am coaching fast bowlers and want to create pacemen who can genuinely bowl at 100
mph.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.