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Simon Jones' column appears exclusively on the BBC Sport website
By Simon Jones
England fast bowler

My top tip for bowling fast? It's quite simple really - just go out there and do exactly that!

If you're a fast bowler and you've got pace, that is your best asset so make sure it doesn't go to waste.

Simon Jones
Born: 25 December 1978, Morriston, Swansea
Education: Simon studied PE and biology A levels at Millfield School
Bowling style: Right arm fast
Batting style: "Hit or miss," Simon admits!
County: Glamorgan
County debut: at Durham, 1997
Test debut: India at Lord's, July 2002

Never cut down on your pace. Run in and let the ball go as quickly as you can. Give it 100 per cent.

If you've got it - use it!

You'll often hear coaches talking about line and length but that will come the more you play and the older you get.

It's always come naturally to me. My dad was a pace bowler too so I reckon it's in my genes.

As such, I don't think pace is something you can coach any more than you can coach a sprinter to run 100m in 9.8 seconds.

Your genetic make-up has a big influence on your speed.

I can bowl more or less the same pace off five yards as I can off 20 yards - that's just the way I am.

Of course, action and technique is something your coach will be able to help you with.

Obviously you can't see yourself bowling, so it's useful to have somebody else take a look.

That way, they can tell you if you're going wrong and help you put things right if need be.

My run up was very short but it's lengthened now compared to what it used to be.

I find it puts less strain on my body.

Now there's more rhythm and timing involved rather than just brute force at the crease - and I find that's helped a lot.

When you're generating pace through your torso like a fast bowler does, it puts the abs and back under a lot of stress.

When I was eight years old I was bowling as quick as boys three or four years older than me.

I enjoyed showing that I could compete with them and I think I gained a lot of respect that way.

This is one of the key areas you should try and develop as you get older.

Remember the stronger you get, the heavier you become. And that puts more stress on your body again.

That's why it's so important to be at the peak of your game and at peak fitness.

The injury I suffered during the Ashes Test in 2002 is one of the worst you can get.

Cruciate ligament injuries are enough to end a lot of people's careers.

I was out of the game for 15 months, nine months of which I could have been playing.

It's a long time to be out of action, but I was determined to get back into it.

I was lucky enough to have a good surgeon who did a wonderful job on my knee.

Since then I've worked really hard on my fitness and, touch wood, I think it's going to work out fine.

Whatever sport you play, you'll have good days and bad days.

The secret is to take each in your stride.



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