As cricketers are well aware, the game is deceiving. The intermittent, unpredictable nature of the sport, presents the greatest challenge to the cricketer in staying injury-free. From doing very little activity to having to explode quickly, the physical demands of the sport present great stresses to a player. The body is better suited to constant, predictable movements and activities. Sudden bursts of speed, changes in direction and outstretched positions place unusual demands on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Cricket challenges many aspects of fitness and, as such, every cricketer must focus on the various forms of fitness in order to maximize performance and minimize injuries.
Depending on the position and the manner in which one has trained for the sport, the injuries that a player's body is predisposed to will vary. Fast bowlers need to focus on explosiveness, flexibility, balance and mobility. The very nature of fast bowling predisposes bowlers to low back and lower body injuries. Batsmen must focus more on hand-eye coordination, reaction time and balance. They are more susceptible to contusions, fractures, as well as repetitive strain injuries of the low back, elbow and wrist. Fielding requires agility, hand-eye coordination, flexibility and explosiveness. Fielders are susceptible to contact injuries to hands, hamstring and low back strains, as well as ankle and knee injuries. Regardless of the position, every player should focus on endurance as this is particularly important for the longer formats of the game.
Other factors that cricketers have to consider include weather conditions, nutrition status, choice of clothing, shoes and, if necessary, braces to support movement. Proper warm-up and cool down protocols are also essential to injury prevention.
As with any sport, players should be in proper physical condition prior to participating in the game. Athletes should get fit to play as opposed to playing their sport to get fit. In other words, the body should have a stable foundation upon which the sport-specific skills can be built. In order to achieve this, cricketers should be assessed for weaknesses that may predispose them to injury.
A comprehensive examination of the player must include an assessment of all of the major joints of the body. It must also include tests for strength and length of a variety of muscles, proprioception, balance, and muscular endurance. Other factors that need to be addressed include the individual's health history and previous injuries.
Regardless of the preparation, injuries are an inevitable part of sports due to the unpredictable nature of the game. Due to the weather conditions that Canadian cricketers face, coupled with the inability to adequately prepare during winter months, Canadian cricketers are more susceptible to injuries. As the season is quite short, the quick return to the playing field is always desirable. The more promptly an injury is addressed, the sooner the player can return to the field and the lower the likelihood of a chronic condition developing.
Though cricketers are susceptible to similar types of injuries, the way in which each individual's body responds to a treatment can differ quite vastly. Therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, microcurrent, fascial stretch therapy, registered massage therapy, osteopathy, spinal decompression can work in synergy or individually to expedite the return to the pitch.
Cricketers who have mastered their craft and have long careers are superb at preparing their bodies for the demands of the game.
Now, let's get on the field and play your best season yet! Howzat?
Did you know? In the 137 years of test cricket, Chris Gayle is the only batsman to hit a six off the first ball of a test match.
Did you know? Shahid Afridi used Sachin Tendulkar's bat to hit the fastest ever ODI century.
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