Tuesday 10 April 2007 

University Gives Cricket Stars A Fitness Test

Kent County Cricket Club's first team players were put to the test by University of Kent at Medway staff and students in a pre-season fitness session.

The county squad - which is gearing up for the first competitive match of the new season on 18 April - took part in a training day run by the University's Centre for Sports Studies at the St Lawrence Ground.

University staff ran fitness tests and collected data to measure the all-round fitness of players including Kent captain Rob Key, wicket keeper Geraint Jones, batsman Matt Walker and pace bowler Martin Saggers.

As well as undergoing assessments for endurance, sprint speeds, body fat ratios, flexibility and heart rates, players were able to use the University's specialised training equipment, which forms a vital part of the various sports and fitness degree programmes run at the Medway campus.

Staff from the University's Centre for Sports Studies also compiled a statistical report on each cricketer's fitness levels, which can be used to draw up a tailor-made training programme for each individual.

Final-year students on the Sports Therapy, Health and Fitness course at Medway, plus two students studying for their Master's qualifications in Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, worked alongside lecturers in running the tests.

Deputy Director for the University's Centre for Sports Studies Jane Glew and lecturer James Hopker teamed up with Kent's First Team Coach Simon Willis to organise the session. 'It's the first time we have run an event like this for Kent's players and there was very positive feedback from many of the squad,' Ms Glew said. 'Some were interested in the methods we were using - for instance, in heart rate monitoring - and wanted to know all about it.

'Such initiatives can only enhance the reputation of the University of Kent at Medway, both from an academic and research perspective, and also in terms of the student experience. The students who took part would have benefited hugely from working with elite athletes in a professional sporting environment.'

Ms Glew added that the Kent players rose to the challenges set for them. 'It is clear there is a great team spirit. The players supported one another through the tests but also displayed a highly competitive edge, which must be good for the club,' she said.

Director of Kent Cricket Academy Paul Farbrace said he looked forward to continuing the partnership. 'We are lucky to have worked with the University team. Their help and support has been tremendous and we've learned from their cutting-edge fitness testing,' he said.

'It has given the players a good idea of the areas they need to work on, and I'm sure this will prove an asset once the season gets under way.'

Last month the University of Kent and Kent County Cricket Club signed an agreement to work together to provide programmes of both sporting and academic study for up-and-coming cricketers.

Kent's fast bowler Robert Joseph already has a foot in both camps. The 25-year-old is working towards his Master's degree in Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation and will resume his studies at the University of Kent at Medway at the end of the season.