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Thread: bowling shoulder

  1. #1
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    bowling shoulder

    Hi watching cricket only since few months i wondered if the bowling movement (in particular for fast bowlers) can damage your shoulder. I searched the web and i found out some article stating that it can bring injuries. What do you think about it. may be someone of you have played cricket at good levels and can provide valid opinion. I tried to imitate that movement in my backyard and i nearly got my shoulder off......

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    International Captain Hoggy31's Avatar
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    Yes, most fast bowlers such as myself tend to have sore shoulders at the end of a day of fast bowling.
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    International Captain Deja moo's Avatar
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    The trick to avoiding shoulder injuries due to bowling is to use your elbow too to lessen the impact on the shoulder ...............okay, I was just kidding.
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    State Vice-Captain membersstand's Avatar
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    When you haven't bowled in a while (let alone ever) a short spell can leave your shoulder feeling dead for a few days

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    State Vice-Captain BlackCap_Fan's Avatar
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    Always stretch before bowling, especially so for a pacer.

    Still, my shoulder feels like shit after a day's net practice.
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    International Regular Josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by membersstand
    When you haven't bowled in a while (let alone ever) a short spell can leave your shoulder feeling dead for a few days
    That's why it's important to keep using that movement during the off-season, even if it means just rolling the arm over in the backyard once or twice a week, but because it's such a unusual and "shocking" movement of the body, when you rest it and start it up again after a while, it really is a shock to the body because of that reason.

    Shoulder is one of the MANY injuries that can occur to a fast bowler. At the end of many pacemen's careers, they also have bung knees and backs.

  7. #7
    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Time for another excerpt from the soon-to-be-launched CW coaching section:

    The basic biomechanics (a term used to signify the study of body movements in the name of optimising the use made from them, and minimise injury) of bowling, and indeed the basic biomechanics of propelling any object, tell us that in order to get the highest speed possible, we need to make sure that all parts of our body are working in the same direction.

    If, for example, I attached two lengths of string to a tennis ball and then pulled one length in one direction whilst a friend pulled the other length in another, then the ball wouldn't move (provided we both pulled with the same force, google “Newton's Laws” for more detail!) If, however, we both pulled in the same direction, the ball would would accelerate at the maximum possible rate (given the forces that we exerted upon it). Should we then take two steps apart, and create an angle of around 15 degrees between ourselves and the ball, the ball would still accelerate when pulled – but not to the same extent as it had before. Are you following? If not, bookmark this page, grab a tennis ball, some string, sellotape and a mate, and come back in ten minutes.

    Okay? Good. Now, how to we translate our experiments with the tennis ball into getting the most speed out of our bowling actions? Well, because of the large number of moving parts in a fast bowler charging to the crease, it's difficult to line everything up into that same direction to propel the ball at its maximum speed. The two most important parts of the body to guide us in this lining-up exercise are the hips and shoulders – if you imagine two lines running through your body, one through the hips and one through the shoulders, when these are parallel with one another, then everything's pointing in just about the same direction.

    There are many different angles where you can align yourself with the crease with equal validity – England's Andy Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard exemplify two extremes, Flintoff lining himself up in a very front-on manner, with both imaginary lines running between mid-off and mid-on, at right angles to the wicket. Hoggard, on the other hand, has a side-on action, and the imaginary lines in his body point roughly in line between the umpire at the bowler's end and the wicket-keeper. Between each end of the scale, there are myriad possible positions – called “midway” actions in current coaching speak – Glenn McGrath is one of the many Internationals who bowl in this manner, his imaginary lines will tend to point towards the slip cordon. Next time you're watching a video or DVD of highlights, try to pause the recording at the moment where different bowlers release the ball and ask yourself where the two lines lie.

    Problems start to occur when the two lines are not parallel – not only does this mean that there isn't as much speed being generated as there could be, but more seriously greatly increases the risk of injury, especially to teenage bowlers. Think about it, if the line through your hips is pointing between mid-on and mid-off, and the line through your shoulders is pointing between umpire and 'keeper, how does your upper body move to allow this? The answer – not one for the faint of heart – is simply that the back and spine have to twist. Doing this every ball in match and practice for weeks and months on end can have a huge effect on a bowler's back; the number of bowlers with these flawed “mixed” action is the direct reason behind the ECB's restrictions on the number of overs that under 19s may bowl.

    So, why do these mixed actions occur, and what can you do to smooth them out if you realise that you or a friend have an action like this? To get back to our imaginary lines, we need to move either the hips or shoulders so that they're in line with the other. It doesn't matter which is moved, but it's generally a lot harder to adjust your run up and the way that you plant your feet (in order to change your hip position) than it is to rotate your upper body and bring your shoulders into line.

    The easiest way to rotate your shoulders and upper body is to change the position that you look with respect to your front arm (your left arm if you're a right-handed bowler, and vice versa). Whilst a side-on bowler ought to look, as is traditionally emphasised, behind it (to the left of it for the right hander), a front-on bowler should look in front of the front arm (i.e. between his two arms). This will then bring the shoulders around and drastically reduce the twist in the back. In a large number of cases where a mixed action occurs, it's because a young player has been drilled to look behind the front arm no matter what alignment his hips take. As the explanation above hopefully conveys, this isn't always the case. Taking this to its conclusion for midway actions, the bowler should be looking approximately through his front arm (obviously, this will vary depending on the nature of the action and the degree to which it is removed from either of the two extremes).
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  8. #8
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Pickup
    Time for another excerpt from the soon-to-be-launched CW coaching section:

    The basic biomechanics (a term used to signify the study of body movements in the name of optimising the use made from them, and minimise injury) of bowling, and indeed the basic biomechanics of propelling any object, tell us that in order to get the highest speed possible, we need to make sure that all parts of our body are working in the same direction.

    If, for example, I attached two lengths of string to a tennis ball and then pulled one length in one direction whilst a friend pulled the other length in another, then the ball wouldn't move (provided we both pulled with the same force, google “Newton's Laws” for more detail!) If, however, we both pulled in the same direction, the ball would would accelerate at the maximum possible rate (given the forces that we exerted upon it). Should we then take two steps apart, and create an angle of around 15 degrees between ourselves and the ball, the ball would still accelerate when pulled – but not to the same extent as it had before. Are you following? If not, bookmark this page, grab a tennis ball, some string, sellotape and a mate, and come back in ten minutes.

    Okay? Good. Now, how to we translate our experiments with the tennis ball into getting the most speed out of our bowling actions? Well, because of the large number of moving parts in a fast bowler charging to the crease, it's difficult to line everything up into that same direction to propel the ball at its maximum speed. The two most important parts of the body to guide us in this lining-up exercise are the hips and shoulders – if you imagine two lines running through your body, one through the hips and one through the shoulders, when these are parallel with one another, then everything's pointing in just about the same direction.

    There are many different angles where you can align yourself with the crease with equal validity – England's Andy Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard exemplify two extremes, Flintoff lining himself up in a very front-on manner, with both imaginary lines running between mid-off and mid-on, at right angles to the wicket. Hoggard, on the other hand, has a side-on action, and the imaginary lines in his body point roughly in line between the umpire at the bowler's end and the wicket-keeper. Between each end of the scale, there are myriad possible positions – called “midway” actions in current coaching speak – Glenn McGrath is one of the many Internationals who bowl in this manner, his imaginary lines will tend to point towards the slip cordon. Next time you're watching a video or DVD of highlights, try to pause the recording at the moment where different bowlers release the ball and ask yourself where the two lines lie.

    Problems start to occur when the two lines are not parallel – not only does this mean that there isn't as much speed being generated as there could be, but more seriously greatly increases the risk of injury, especially to teenage bowlers. Think about it, if the line through your hips is pointing between mid-on and mid-off, and the line through your shoulders is pointing between umpire and 'keeper, how does your upper body move to allow this? The answer – not one for the faint of heart – is simply that the back and spine have to twist. Doing this every ball in match and practice for weeks and months on end can have a huge effect on a bowler's back; the number of bowlers with these flawed “mixed” action is the direct reason behind the ECB's restrictions on the number of overs that under 19s may bowl.

    So, why do these mixed actions occur, and what can you do to smooth them out if you realise that you or a friend have an action like this? To get back to our imaginary lines, we need to move either the hips or shoulders so that they're in line with the other. It doesn't matter which is moved, but it's generally a lot harder to adjust your run up and the way that you plant your feet (in order to change your hip position) than it is to rotate your upper body and bring your shoulders into line.

    The easiest way to rotate your shoulders and upper body is to change the position that you look with respect to your front arm (your left arm if you're a right-handed bowler, and vice versa). Whilst a side-on bowler ought to look, as is traditionally emphasised, behind it (to the left of it for the right hander), a front-on bowler should look in front of the front arm (i.e. between his two arms). This will then bring the shoulders around and drastically reduce the twist in the back. In a large number of cases where a mixed action occurs, it's because a young player has been drilled to look behind the front arm no matter what alignment his hips take. As the explanation above hopefully conveys, this isn't always the case. Taking this to its conclusion for midway actions, the bowler should be looking approximately through his front arm (obviously, this will vary depending on the nature of the action and the degree to which it is removed from either of the two extremes).
    Superb.

  9. #9
    Cricketer Of The Year Robertinho's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to start practicing my motion.. 2 months without a single bowl. Im going to ACHE when i get back to training..

  10. #10
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    Really great stuff, Neil.

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    apparently, Garry Sobers' chinamen caused him a shoulder problem

  12. #12
    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    I find it very ironic that this post was made. Kind of creepy.

    Anyway, if you'd have seen my post in the OT forum, I recently tore a ligament in my shoulder by bowling an 'Akhtar' practice bowl in my house. It'll take 6-12 months to heal, and its possible that I may need surgery. Because of a bloody practice bowl.

    So in conclusion, yes fast bowling can hurt the shoulder, even if you're not bowling the ball.
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  13. #13
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    causes leggies problems, I can tell you. One thing I find helpful is the Gyrociser to help strengthen the muscles there and therefore cope better, but it still hurts.
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  14. #14
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    excellent stuff neil.

    i think for a fast bowler, the three areas most at risk for injuries are the bowling shoulder, knee and lower back.

    Some bowlers ( Bruice Reid, Nehra, Akram, Zaheer Khan, Patterson, etc.) have had numerous groin injuries too but those are avoidable....groin injury occurs when your feet are pointing opposite to each other during the time of delivery....where your lead toe is pointing towards the slip cordon/wicketkeeper and your other toe is pointing towards mid on...
    But shoulder injuries have been numerous in fast bowlers and its mostly from overuse rather than bad form...McGrath suffered this in the late 90s/early 2000s when he was routinely bowling 50+ overs a match and Srinath's career pretty much took a nosedive after his shoulder injury in late 90s.

    I think the muscle thats at most risk is the rotor cuff, ie, the muscle that plays the pivotal part when you are turning your arms.

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    International Regular Josh's Avatar
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    would you classify side strains as a more common injury in faster bowlers aswell??



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