Tuesday 4 February 2014 

How Much Should Fast Bowlers Hit The Nets?

Mitchell Johnson bowls
742 is the magic number as far as fast bowling is concerned
© REUTERS / Action Images

We all know that the more you bowl, the better you get. But it's also true that the more you bowl, the more likely you are to get an injury that stops you altogether.

So where is the balance between injury prevention and skill development?

There has been a huge amount of research on the subject (because keeping bowlers on the park is a key aim of top international sides) and as a result, we know pretty accurately how much is enough and how much is too much bowling.

This boils down to a simple method that's easy to remember: 742

In any 7 days a fast bowler should bowl no more than 4 times and never more than 2 days in a row.

It's a formula that factors in suitable rest from the rigours of bowling. That's going to allow you to practice pretty hard but still keep the risk of injury down.

This is especially important for bowlers under 25, who are more likely to try and bust a gut in an effort to become a star player, but are also physiologically more likely to get injured because their bodies are not as hardened to fast bowling as older guys.

So if you are under 25 and bowling every day, the solution is simple, back it off a bit. You can always work on your batting, fielding or technical drills while you are resting.

Manage workload: track workload

All this points to a simple fact: Bowlers should track their workload.

You might do something as simple as noting down how much you bowl every week to stay within the 742 method. You can even get more clever by using PitchVision to track how many balls you bowl (alongside tracking how your fatigue levels influence your pace, line and length). The point is that if you want to stay fit to bowl, you have to track it.

Critics might say that in the good old days nothing was tracked. Old Joe used to bowl 60 overs a week up the hill into the wind and never so much as got a cold. This might even be true. But Old Joe also doesn't make for a good sample of bowlers, especially those with very different physiques and training histories.

Instead, look at the science, track as much as you need and get back to the nets. You'll improve while staying fit.

© 2013 miSport Ltd

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