Health & Safety

BOLA Machines are superb coaching aids for cricket, hockey and baseball. They are also great fun to use and here we offer guidelines for their safe and enjoyable operation.

We highly recommend that all coaches, machine operators and players read these health and safety guidelines. We also highly recommend that all new customers read the instruction manual thoroughly before using their machine. A printed version is included in the machine’s flight case or an online version is available at

All Coaches and Machine Operators (who are not using a BOLA Stand) should wear helmets, face guards, leg and chest pads. The operator should constantly be aware of the possibility of the ball being hit straight back at him/her. Bowling Machines should only be used by qualified adults. No unsupervised use. THINK SAFETY AT ALL TIMES.

All batters should face the BOLA Machine protected in the same way as they would to participate in a competitive match. Therefore, they should be wearing a minimum of; batting gloves, pads and cricket box. If the intention is to practice short pitched deliveries batters should also protect themselves with forearm guards and body and thigh pads.

It is compulsory for all batters under the age of eighteen to wear a cricket helmet and face guard when practicing with the BOLA Machine. We highly recommend that all batters wear a helmet and face guard when practicing with the machine.

The BOLA Machine should be set up on short legs for all batters under the age of twelve years regardless of how tall they may be. This is because the bounce created by the machine on its full length legs will be unrealistic and unexpected by junior players. Also, remember that lengths will need to be shorter with the short legs to achieve the same bounce.

Coaches and machine operators should always familiarise themselves with the conditions before delivering any balls to a batter. In outdoor nets a grass surface will obviously change character from day to day but coaches should also be aware that artificial wickets can also change in different conditions (i.e. after a shower of rain or in very hot sun).

Visiting or traveling coaches should always arrive and set up the BOLA Machine half an hour before the start time of any session at an unfamiliar ground. This will allow time for them to assimilate the speed and bounce of the surface being used.

All adjustments to the speed and length of delivery should be made with the knowledge of the batter. There is a tendency for inexperienced machine operators to increase the speed of deliveries to ‘surprise’ or ‘test’ the batter. It should be remembered that five mph increase in speed could result in a two foot change in the length of the delivery.

We recommend that coaches keep a chart of each player’s capabilities. This will enable them to know the speed and length that each player can comfortably practice attacking and defensive shots off both the front and back foot.

There is a tendency for the machine to be set to one speed and used at that speed by all the batters taking part in the session. But a good coach has to find out each individual players capabilities and limitations and use the relevant, playable speeds.

Coaches should be aware that BOLA Bowling Machines attract attention. If you are using the machine in an open sports hall or public recreation ground please be aware that spectators will be drawn towards the machine. Ensure that all spectators are positioned in a safe area before feeding any balls into the machine.

In all drills that require two batters to be in the net during a session with the machine (usually fitness or match situation sessions) please ensure that the non-striker is alert to the ball and properly attired. Non-participants should not be allowed in the net.

Machine operators and coaches should be aware of the type and condition of balls that they are using. BOLA practice balls should be of similar age and in good condition (without the dimples worn away) to ensure an accurate repetition of each delivery. Please remember that cricket balls will leave the machine a little quicker than practice balls.

When coaching shot-making against short pitched deliveries always begin the session using BOLA HiViz balls. These are softer than standard balls and will bounce higher and leave the pitch slightly slower.

A BOLA Bowling Machine Stand provides the perfect platform for coaches and a Perspex screen to protect against the shot that is struck straight back at them. If a stand is not available use a stable platform of approximately 75cm in height. We recommend a sturdy, domestic kitchen step which will have a flat non-slip surface and allow the operator to dismount quickly if need be.