Its that time again when the whites come out of the cupboard and the dust gets blown off the kit ready for the start of the season. Cricket is here!! Personally, this is my favourite time of year. As a Representative level Cricket Australia coach and a Physio, I’m a little pedantic about cricket injuries and unfortunately we see way too many in the early stages of the cricket season.
Jess Stoll outlines 3 common mistakes cricketers make and how to avoid them.
1. Hitting the nets at Pace
Diving straight into the nets and bowling or throwing for hours without any gradual increase in load is a massive risk factor for injuries. The body needs time to adapt to the loads placed on it. This means easing into it and limiting the number of balls bowled or thrown for a few weeks with rest in between. The beauty of cricket is that it combines a variety of skills that you can train in the one session to avoid overloading the body as it adjusts.
Cricket Australia have developed some safe bowling guidelines to reduce the risk of injury and promote skill and body development. Studies have shown that increasing the number of balls week to week too quickly impact the risk of injury.
The Workload Guidelines for training from Cricket Australia:
It is also recommended for training following matches played:
- 11-20 overs bowled in a match = a bowler SHOULD NOT bowl more than twice a week at training.
- 21-30 overs bowled in a match = a bowler SHOULD NOT bowl more than once a week at training.
- If over 30 overs bowled in a match = a bowler SHOULD NOT bowl at training that week.
These training restrictions are placed on first class and international bowlers. No pace bowler at a first class level has a total workload higher than 170 balls per week to prevent injury and optimise performance.
If it’s good enough for Australian players, it should be good enough for you.
For spin bowlers, these rules don’t apply as the force produced through the body compared to pace bowlers is much less.
For young athletes that experience a growth spurt, training loads should be lowered further to allow the body to adjust to the change.
2. Poor Technique
Its normal to be a little rusty after the off season but important that your technique stays safe and efficient. One of the big risk factors with pace bowlers is the amount of counter rotation they have in their lower back during delivery. Anything greater than 35 degrees is considered dangerous. One of the most common injuries associated with high degrees of counter-rotation is stress fractures in the lower back. It doesn’t matter what your training load is, if your technique is unsafe, your risk of injury is always going to be more.
3. Having No Cricket Specific Fitness
Just like any sport, there is an optimal amount of flexibility, strength and endurance that athletes need to have to successful performance without injury. There are a lot of skills within cricket that require more than your basic strength and flexibility.
Take throwing for instance. If there are weaknesses in your rotator cuff, when combined with poor technique, the risk of injury when trying to throw a ball from the boundary goes through the roof. We see this regularly during the season and one of the key factors before allowing return to sport is adequate rotator cuff strength.
Don’t be one of those players that spends half the season running drinks. Prepare your body and you may even end up with a bag of wickets at the end of the season!
* Jess Stoll is a rep Cricket coach and Physio and this combination allows her to provide comprehensive physical and technical rehabilitation programs to throwing and bowling athletes.