The 2018 cricket season is not far away!
I’m guessing that if you’re like most cricketers around the country, you will be preparing the sofa, stocking the fridge or setting the alarm to watch England take on the Aussies down under. While you’re sat there, whether it’s when you see Joe Root caress a full ball straight down the ground for 4, or when James Anderson hoops the ball past the outside edge, you will get that feeling, wishing the cricket season to come around much quicker.
Well trust me….It’s not that far away!!
Given this fact, I thought I’d let you have a read of a post I wrote for All Out Cricket last year, addressing the age old question
”How do I prepare for the new season without picking up injuries?’‘
Now, I’m sure it didn’t feel like it at the time but as the season approached it’s end, in August and September, your body will have been at it’s best in terms of dealing with whatever the demands of your cricket could throw at it. This is because over the previous months of the season, you had built up your tolerance to what we call ‘load’. This obviously varies quite significantly between different people, but it is an important concept to understand when thinking about dodging those unwanted niggles when you return for pre-season nets.
A big name in the field of ‘load’, Tim Gabbutt, uses a very good analogy to help you get your head around this. He suggests that this concept of ‘load’ can be attributed to lots of different areas of our lives, he uses beer to explain it.
So (assuming you’re over 18 of course) if you’ve spent September until January without touching the amber nectar, firstly, you’ll feel great, but when you have your first pint it’s likely that it will affect you a bit more than when you last had a drop. So you celebrate your 3-4 months without a pint by going out and having a skinful, you will feel terrible the next day, your body just isn’t used to what you’re asking it to cope with. This is the equivalent of bowling for the whole session in your first run out at winter nets. The sensible approach is to gradually increase your intake, a pint here watching the footy, a pint there to make watching X-factor with the missus a bit more tolerable, this way your body GRADUALLY increases it’s ability to deal with what you are asking of it.
This applies to your approach to pre-season/winter nets, if you go in all guns blazing without building some element of ‘load’ in your body, you’re likely to do yourself a mischief.
Things to consider:
Time on your feet – How much running/physical activity have you been doing? If not much, get yourself out for a run/walk, get your body up and moving and wake it up from your winter hibernation. Generally winter nets are on much harder surfaces than what you are accustomed to, this has a drastic increase on the forces travelling through your body, further reinforcing the need for a gradual increase.
Strength – Again this depends on your activity levels through the winter, but if you have been relatively inactive it’s important to get some element of strength back into your system before cracking on with winter nets. This is a huge topic in itself, one with many opinions and approaches, but to highlight the need to address this issue, when you ask a muscle which doesn’t have the strength to achieve a given goal, then 1 of 3 things will happen:
1 – You don’t achieve your goal – the ball comes out at 65 rather than 95 mph
2 – The muscle will fail and you end up some damage to the muscle
3 – More load is absorbed by the surrounding joints and tendons, which may also result in injury down the line
Mobility/Flexibility – Cricket gets you into unique positions, without getting into these positions regularly, your joints and muscles will adapt and may well reduce the range of movement you can comfortably move through.
When you actually get into your winter nets, it is equally important to make sure you are ready to perform. Net sessions typically being an hour or so long, there’s a lot to fit into a short space of time, make sure you are prepared beforehand. Below is my suggested pre-activation/warm-up routine that addresses the mobility/flexibility elements, and strength to a lesser extent. To properly address what I’ve discussed in this article, get in touch with us. Everyone has different areas that will need more attention and a generic pre-activation routine may not be suitable for you. A more specific preparation plan will help you get more out of your winter nets from a cricket point of view, and not just getting through the early season aches and pains.
If you need help or guidance around any of these issues then please feel free to contact us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram – @Move4physio, via our website www.move4physio.com, or email us by clicking here
Get Moving – run a few lengths of the hall or get the football out (if you have room), get the blood pumping and the temperature up.
Lunge rotation – Lunge forward and rotate. 10 lunges each leg
Deep squat – wide stance, drop hips into deep squat and transfer weight from right to left. Hold for 20 secs each time, repeat 3 times
Side lunge – Lunge to the side with both feet pointing forwards, transfer weight other side, then rotate and lunge facing the opposite direction. 10 lunges each direction
Arabesque – Slightly bent knee, flex upper body forwards and non stance leg backwards. 5 each leg
Shoulder capsule stretch – lying on your back, hand under your lower back, ask partner to apply light pressure through front of your shoulder.
Sleeper stretch – Lying on side, shoulder out in front of you, use other hand to put pressure down on the wrist and stretch the back of shoulder
Single leg calf raises – Ideally on a step with heel off the edge, lift the heel up as far as possible, and then lower off edge of step. 20 raises each leg
Toe walking – Up onto tip toes, walk 10m. Repeat 3 times with offline and wide stance variations
Throwing is something you need to do regularly to avoid soreness and injury, pre-season nets are an ideal time to start getting your strength and volume up. Ideally buy yourself a band (we stock these so please get in touch if you would like to buy one), and work through some shoulder activation exercises (see online). Progress into some partnered throwing at progressive distances at increasingly higher velocity.
Bowlers need to ensure they have delivered half a dozen balls prior to bowling in the net at a batsman. Do this at your own speed but build the intensity as you go so you are ready to go from ball one.
Enjoy the Ashes, and hopefully next time I post, we’re 1-0 up!!
The Move4 Team