Fast Bowlers! We’ve got your Back!

by Jess Stoll Physiotherapist, Level 2 Cricket Coach

It’s that time of year again (and the best time in my opinion). Cricket season is here which means kids with plastic bats and your weekend warrior veterans are dusting off the pads and taking over local ovals everywhere.

For those of you who are taking to the nets for a bit of training this season, Cricket Australia have released new guidelines for bowling loads. As a “pace” bowler myself, I know all too well the stress that bowling places on the body. The lumbar spine takes a solid hit when it comes to having a trundle, therefore it’s only fair that we monitor the load. Stress fractures are a bowler’s worst nightmare. They are the most frustrating and debilitating injury for a player and result in a considerable rest and recovery period.

Like with most injuries, prevention is the best cure. Not only do we have to ensure our core is strong and our technique is correct, we have to allow adequate time in between sessions to perform at our best.

According to Cricket Australia it is recommended that athletes:

  • Avoid bowling more than 2 days in a row where possible
  • Avoid bowling more than 4 days in a week
  • Allow one easy week (e.g 50% of target load) every 4-5 weeks
  • Schedule a week off bowling after every 10-12 weeks of bowling to allow your body to recover

Cricket Australia have also broken these guidelines into age related recommendations. This eases the burden on coaches and parents when managing players in the underage divisions. With representative pathways opportunities increasing for young athletes, coaches need to be aware of bowling volume across all levels of cricket and scheduling training sessions accordingly.

Adolescents are the most at risk of developing stress fractures therefore following these guidelines is the best way to reduce this risk.

AGE

BOWLING RECOMMENDATIONS

Under-11Two overs maximum each spell* & Four overs maximum per match day
Under 13Four overs maximum each spell* & Eight overs maximum per match day
Target 100-120 balls per week (match & training)
Under 15Allow 4-6 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to the season
Five overs maximum each spell* & twelve overs maximum per match day
Target 100-120 balls per week (match & training)
Under 17Allow 6-8 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to the season
Six overs maximum each spell* & 16 overs maximum per match day
Target 120-150 balls per week (match & training)
Under 19Allow 8-10 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to the season
Seven overs maximum each spell* & 20 overs maximum per match day
Target 150-180 balls per week (match & training)

* rest between spells should be the same number of overs from the same end as the completed spell