Low back pain is one of the most common injuries associated with cricket. Fortunately, managing workload throughout training and games has been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of developing low back pain.
Despite the weather, cricket season is underway for another year. Unfortunately, if you’re a bowler, there is a higher risk of injury.
Recent studies indicate that up to 60% of bowlers at a state or national level are injured every season. The most common sites of injury being low back and shoulder.
How to prevent low back pain
The three main factors that can contribute to bowling injuries are technique, physical preparation and bowling workload.
Monitoring the amount of deliveries bowled per week and the number of rest days is critical to preventing injury. Gradually loading allows the soft tissue including ligaments, tendons and muscles to strengthen and adapt over time.
Current evidence has identified that under bowling (underload) and over bowling (overload) both increase the likelihood of injury. Interestingly, bowlers who under bowl are more likely to injure themselves compared to those that over bowl.
How much should I bowl?
Current guidelines suggest that at least two to three rest days should be implemented into any training schedule. Senior cricket recommendations are for 120 – 160 deliveries per week. Interestingly, guidelines suggest that injury is also significantly increased with more than five rest days between bowling.
For an immature skeleton, research recommends U13s bowl up to 30 deliveries a session (3 sessions per week). This progressively increases to 42 deliveries a session (3 – 4 sessions per week) for U19s.
Assessing general strength and flexibility can assist to find the level to minimise the likelihood of injury.