The sports scientist in me always look at things from anatomical and movement perspective and it is always very interesting to see the results especially with fast bowlers. Here is another example and I will presenting one more in few days time. Work is on…..
Firstly, how do you think a pace bowler earns pace?
Perhaps via strong glutes and thighs as it is shown in cricket specific training.
But maybe we require more than this.
A bowler gains pace when he:
- can withdraw max force from the ground – this is determined by his foot angle
- can push the ground force up with calves – this is determined by calves position vis-a-vis foot
- can collude the force coming from the ground with force generated by the upper extremity – spine, back, and arm
- can bring his neck in line with spine which further aligns with his front leg
Ques: How do you train the above elements?
Lot of people hate me for this but I can’t be dishonest with my profession. NO…you can’t make a fast bowler faster with resistance training. Yes, it can break him which is the case with many injuries these days.
Lets see what happens when we correct the above:
a) Front foot position
b) Spine & neck – brings side arm automatically to its place
Result – entire body wanting to propel forward straight in one direction.
Learning: Sometimes we are stressing the wrong elements in lieu of getting momentum and rhythm in fast bowlers. Understanding why you do what you do in an action, identifying the anatomical nuances in those, and then prepare a training to rectify the issues is how I have been training my fast bowlers or athletes in general. It seems to work nicely.
Ques: Who is a better candidate for a bowling coach to hone his bowling skills further?
Second of course. Because he is in the best postural disposition to follow a coaches advise on bowling skills.
Ques: Does he need to continue training to ensure this stays?
YES. Bringing body back in order is 1st step. 2nd step is to mobilise the movement further, develop speed, power etc.
Here is another example:
Look out for arm rotation – in the first, he is only using his arm. In the second, he is using his back together with the arm:
Sir, totally agreed with you on this that none of the aspects like u mentioned like : With big glutes?, Huge thighs?, 150 kilo plus deadlifts? and Shoulder press? will make you a fast bowler. You can only bowl faster by practicing “bowling faster” [as per SAID(Specific Adaptation of Imposed Demand) principle] with proper technique and body positioning as you described very well.
But many of the researches say that a fast bowler need to absorb about 4-5 times body weight during BFC. How can we disregard resistance training and attain the baseline strength to absorb that eccentric force during landing.
Many of the study papers advocate that without a baseline strengthening you should avoid High intensity Plyometric exercises like Depth Jumps. And I believe as per the principle of Plyometric, Fast bowling involves SSC and during BFC (single leg landing) after a sprint and jump should be considered as a High Intense Plyometric movement.
Being a novice in the field of S&C, I look forward for your insight on this to have more clarity about it.
Actually the impact could be 10 times or even more depending on individuals foot movement/biomechanics.
I will try to make you understand science how it factually goes with fast bowlers or players in general while they are practicing and training on the field.
Now because you are an S&C, I would like you evaluate the load on a cricketers – ankle, plantar flexors, anterior leg muscles responsible for dorsiflexion – visualise front foot heel hitting the ground with that kind of force. And then visualise eccentric work on posterior chain, isometric work of knee muscles to sustain that upcoming force because of heel strike. All this while playing or practicing.
Do not stop here. Lets climb up to lower back and upper extremity. Their lower back stay flexed, shoulders internally rotated, and we do not need to emphasise what fast bowling does to bowling arm or upper back to bowlers.
Question 1: Do you think all this work that muscles are doing during their regular training (running, agility, etc) and practice is not stressing/loading the muscles? If you run biomechanically correct then there is a reason why running would rank number one exercise, even today with all gadgets, to keep us fittest. And we in cricket think of running as strength expenditure 🙂
Ques 2: What makes you believe that our muscles bearing all this load while running, training, bowling, fielding, etc. are NOT getting trained but only fatigued? It is a stupid argument if you think about it.
Ques3: This would further mean – as is the belief among cricketers from top to bottom – that a cricketer lose strength while playing and this is why he must gain strength. How?
BUT anatomically and physiologically speaking, if a batsman scores 100 in a game then technically, he is more trained than anybody in the gym for his legs, lower back, shoulder, biceps, triceps, forearm, and wrist. You can do this testing anytime you like.
However, cricket world tends to think differently. They think that because they are playing, they are losing strength. Therefore, they have to gain strength. Just like how you would need petrol in a car. NOOOOOOOOOOOO
Also, its a myth that fast bowlers need more strength. Ok. And when do you think they should gain it? Can you gain strength in fatigued musculature?
They have enough strength. It is a matter of squeezing the max – optimise the strength they possess and not about adding more. They are training (musculaturaly) more than anybody training in the gym when they are training on the field, practicing their skill, fielding, and doing different things to relax.
If I take my squat from 60 kilos to 150 kilos then neither am adding distance to my sixes, and nor I am adding pace to my bowling. Look at Virat and see if he hits longer distance sixes or is it same as what he used to when he was a 16 year old cricketer. Its same.
Analogy – Suppose we have ’10’ strength in our shoulder or glutes. In any movement, we would be using say ‘2’ of that. Then why would we like to take my ’10’ strength to ’15’? What is the logic? I would rather training to squeeze that ‘2’ out as flawlessly as possible. Right?
Btw, I use plyos in my warm ups. Plyos are good to strength the legs, for eccentric work, to sync the entire body, training the ankle, and training the foot to withdraw force. I would keep light plyos in warm up and slightly more stressing during training camps twice a week. But it not to add strength. Instead, it is more for syncing the entire movement into one – whole body and teaching toes/medial arc their role in take off. This is why light squat jumps or single leg hops are good warm exercises.
Hope this makes some sense to you.
Thanks Coach for taking out your precious time and sharing your thoughts & experience, Highly appreciate it. And yes it makes sense!