Fountain throws up new ideas

Cricketers around the country are throwing in their lot with a baseball coach in order to improve their fielding techniques. Throwing is something that cricketers have all been getting wrong from the stone age. Cricket squares around the shires will be the stage for moves which are more familiar around baseball's diamond.

Julien Fountain is the man charged with the task of holding remedial throwing lessons. Half a dozen counties have already obliged themselves of his services and he is currently the England Under-19 official fielding and throwing coach.

But how have so many got something so wrong for so long? Fountain, a long-time convert to baseball, explains: "Cricketers use their arms to throw, whereas baseball players use their bodies. That probably sounds silly, but there is a whole lot more power in one's entire body than there is in one's arm.

"At the moment, cricketers are throwing simply using the muscles in their arm, which accounts for the number of injuries among professional players. I have never seen so many shoulder and elbow injuries in my life."

Micky Stewart, the former England manager and now Director of Coaching and Excellence at the National Cricket Association, is certainly convinced that Fountain can offer a dimension at the grass-roots level that could be of long-term benefit. He wants Fountain, who plays for Enfield Spartans baseball team in north London, to be appointed as official fielding and throwing coach at every representative level from Under 13 to the Test squad.

Apart from avoiding injuries, the 25-year-old, who was on Somerset's books as a youngster, maintains there is an improvement in speed and accuracy when players follow the baseball precepts.

"When they are throwing, a lot of cricketers lift their back leg, which results in an immediate reduction in power," he says. "They promptly compensate for this loss of power by putting more stress on the throwing arm, and that is where all the problems start."

The throwing has to be taken in tandem with fielding and Fountain has a surprising statistic. "There is a general rule covering fielding in this country," he explains, "which is: 'Whatever happens, get the ball in the air.' This is ostensibly to prevent the batsmen taking a second or third run. The reality is that fielders are turning to throw and launching themselves into the movement, throwing themselves completely off-balance - often they have both feet off or partially off the ground. The result is that most batsmen will take that second or third run because they know there is nothing in the throw. It is not going to be accurate and there is no power in it.

"If players use baseball techniques they get to the ball quickly and then they slow down to pick it up and use their feet and body to throw. It may appear slower, but we have actually timed it in trials up at Lilleshall and the ball gets there a good second before it would have under the conventional method of throwing."

Fountain, who has attended baseball coaching courses in the United States and who was a member of Great Britain's Olympic baseball squad which just failed to qualify for the 1992 Games, insists that all that is needed in order to get English cricketers up to the standards of the South Africans and Australians is a little fine tuning.

Fountain said: "The Australians and South Africans grow up playing cricket and baseball side by side. So the skills they learn in baseball they take to cricket, and in baseball you are taught how to throw. It is such an important part of the game. You learn from the beginning where your feet should be, the position of your head, where you should be looking, what your arm and your body should be doing. Then they get the kids to throw and throw and throw.''

That much throwing can be hard on the hands, but Fountain says whenever he visits a county he encourages cricketers to add a baseball glove to their array of specialist equipment.

Fountain has paid Surrey a couple of visits. The Taunton-based coach said: "It took a few minor tweaks and they were away. But like any skill it needs to be worked on regularly. Nottinghamshire are talking of taking him on for the season, and he is also working on a coaching manual.

"Their manual on throwing and fielding needs to be ripped up and thrown away," he said. "It is the first thing kids see when they take up the game and the way I do things is far superior to the way the NCA manual tells things."

Confident he may be, but Fountain admits he is not cheap, not at the moment anyway while his clientele remains limited; but when he can promise: "I will get good throwers throwing amazingly, and poor throwers throwing well," he has to be listened to. English cricket could well have unearthed a coaching diamond.

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices