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The Ultimate Guide to Cricket Bowling Machines

Cricket isn’t the easiest game to practice. If you’re looking to hone your batting skills and become the best that you can be, practice is exactly what you’ll need. There’s no substitute for putting in the hours; the more regularly you bat and the more you push yourself, the better you’ll become.

Sometimes though, putting in the hours and pushing yourself can be easier said than done. Unless you happen to have an experienced bowler on hand to help, getting the batting practice you need to progress can be tough. 

That’s where cricket bowling machines come in. Designed specifically to solve this problem and help batters level up, these powerful pieces of equipment will transform the way you practise – and could help transform your batting capabilities too. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about cricket bowling machines. We’ll cover what they do and how they work, before explaining why they’re worth investing in and what to look for when buying. Then, we’ll tell you where you can buy a machine of your own. 

What do bowling machines do?

First off, let’s cover the basics. What exactly is a bowling machine, and how do they work? Often simply called cricket ball throwers or cricket ball machines, bowling machines are nothing new; they’ve been around for decades in various forms, each more advanced and more capable than the last.

They’re simple to use and are designed to do one job: feed cricket balls to you in a realistic way, simulating the action of a real bowler. Balls are fed into the machine and can be delivered to the batter in all manner of different ways, with a range of different settings available on the more expensive machines.

Why invest in a cricket bowling machine?

To say that bowling machines have revolutionised the way batters practice is an understatement. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • They allow you to practise on your own. Instead of having to rely on your friends or teammates, a bowling machine allows you to practise whenever you like. Simply set it up, feed balls into the machine and off you go.
  • They make it easy to practise anytime, anywhere. Used in conjunction with netting, a bowling machine can be set up in practically any location – even a back garden. Instead of having to go to your local club to practise, you’ll be able to do so from the comfort of your own home.
  • They help you change up your practice routine and try out different techniques. With a raft of different settings to adjust – including speed, bowling style and variation – a bowling machine can keep you on your toes. No matter which bowler you come face to face with, you’ll be prepared.
  • They’re ideal for drills. Whether you practise on your own or work with a coach, a bowling machine makes it easier to build muscle memory, enhance coordination and refine your technique. Time after time, the machine can deliver balls at the same speed and in the same manner, allowing you to work on your batting skills in a controlled environment.

Invest in the right bowling machine and you can elevate your batting technique to whole new heights. Whether you’re just starting out and want to progress quickly, address a specific weakness in your technique or work on improving your skills across the board, a bowling machine can help you achieve your goals.

Not only are they ideal for individuals, they’re popular with cricket clubs too. Portable and simple to use, they can be set up in different locations to train new players and help level up experienced ones. 

What to look for when buying

As bowling machines have become more capable and more technologically advanced, they’ve also become more popular. Over the years, as demand has increased, a whole host of different manufacturers have brought new products to the table: today, there are more options available than ever before.

So, how do you choose a machine that’s right for you? What should you look out for when buying, and which brands can you trust? Let’s find out. 


Every player is different, and a quality bowling machine should reflect this. Look out for one that has plenty of different options available, from speed and swing style to variability and session time. The more configurable the machine is, the more you’ll be able to tailor it to your specific needs – and the easier it will be to address specific weaknesses in your technique. 

Speed Capabilities

Entry-level machines may only have a few speed settings, and won’t be able to bowl at a particularly high speed. If you’re just starting out, that’s fine – but what about when you progress? An entry-level machine that can only bowl slowly will soon start to hold you back, whereas a more advanced model won’t. 

Ball Capacity and Compatibility

If you like to practise for extended periods of time and really get in the zone, look for a machine with a larger ball capacity. The larger its capacity, the longer you’ll be able to bat without having to refill it, helping you extract the absolute maximum from every session. Make sure you consider ball type, too; does your chosen machine only work with specific practice balls, or can it accept the ones you already have?


If you need your machine to be portable, mains power may prove inconvenient. On the flip side, if you intend to always practise in a specific location, battery power may be unnecessary – plugging the machine into the mains will be easier and eliminate the need for regular charging. Make sure you check how the machine is powered, as some will either be mains or battery-powered while others will give you the option of using both. 


Bowling machines aren’t cheap. If you’re investing in one, you want to make sure you’re getting something that’s been built to last, not something that’s going to fall apart within a year. Make sure you research different brands and choose a machine that has a solid reputation for durability.

Our recommendation

When it comes to bowling machines, one name consistently comes out on top: BOLA. Having consistently developed and refined its machines for more than three decades, BOLA now produces the most technologically advanced equipment on the market. It’s no wonder that their machines are used by some of the world’s top teams – including England’s national team.

At 3D Sports, we’re committed to supplying cricketers with the very best equipment available. That’s why we only stock BOLA machines – they’re well and truly top-notch.

Equipped with brushless motors, a high-resolution display and both battery and mains power options, the latest BOLA Professional Bowling Machine stands out from the competition. 

Simple to use and easy to transport from place to place, BOLA machines are packed with features. Not only can they deliver balls at any speed from 15 to 95 mph, they have 19 different spin and swing settings. No matter what you want to practise, from pace to swing and spin bowling, the BOLA machine has you covered.

An advanced microprocessor ensures that each and every ball is delivered in the same way as the last. Or, if you fancy changing things up, use the built-in randomisation features to keep your practice varied. 

To top it all off, if you buy a BOLA machine, you can be confident in its quality. Engineered to last for many years, BOLA’s UK-made equipment often remains in use for a decade or more

Get your bowling machine online today

Here at 3D Sports, you’ll find everything you need to get started. Not only do we stock BOLA bowling machines, we offer a range of accessories to help you get the most out of them. The BOLA automatic feeder makes solo practice even easier, feeding balls into the machine every 7 or 11 seconds (depending on your chosen setting). 

Speaking of balls, BOLA’s own practice balls have been designed specifically for use with their range of bowling machines. Three colours are available, each with their own unique characteristics – though every colour ball is dimpled for stability, just like a golf ball. 

Check out our complete range of bowling machines and ground equipment online and order yours today, or get in touch with our team to learn more. 

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