Cricket Movement Training Drills with Chinmoy Roy

Mobility in cricket plays a key role. In common man’s term the maximum range a joint moves is mobility. For example to what extent your hip can be flexed. During warm-up in cricket mobility exercises are a must with a capital M. To move better mobility has as much importance as knocking in net finds in a Virat Kohli or Joe Root’s pre-match ritual. 

A typical warm-up kicks off with some dynamic movements like A-skip, B Skip, high knee, carioca drills that trigger escalation of heart rate. There is enhanced blood circulation in muscle. The core temperature rises. Now is the time to expose the body to mobility exercises.

The question that begs answering is: Why cricketers need mobility?

As said before, mobility enhances joint range of movement. Once a joint moves freely the quality of skill definitely enhances. The release of a fast bowler or spinner would be that much nice and smooth once both the hip and thorasic spine find its full range. There would be a discernible fluidity of movement in the park. Injury is surely on the card if a joint has limited range as in order to compensate that joint’s shortcoming the other joint is put under stress.

 Mobility exercises target both upper and lower limb. Cricketers usually go through a common mobility workout forming a circle. In most situations the lower extremity mobility is prioritized, but there’s no rigid rule. Starting with hip joint can be effective. Renowned physical therapist Gray Cook’s half pigeon with rotation stretches gluteal muscles and opens up the hip complex. SLR and leg lowering devised by the same person lengthens the hamstrings, adds hip mobility. For the upper extremity lying rotation of t-spine alleviates scapula mobility. Side bend in lunge position stretches the quadrates lumborum muscle and helps in lateral flexion.  The sequential cobra-cat and dog integrates upper and lower segment mobility.

However, different cricketers have different range of motion at a particular joint. To put it simply a Jimmy Anderson may be stiff while Stuart Broad may be flexible. Therefore, once the group mobility is done, shift focus on individual aspect. I had a case study in former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. His hamstring was tight as a result of lack of range at the lumber spine. Forward flexion of the spine was limited with him. Gray cook’s squat to stand with overhead reach worked well with him. While dealing with individual aspect the physiotherapist’s feedback on the ROM beforehand during the musculoskeletal assessment makes things easier. The trainer then can chart a mobility routine for a particular individual based on the report of the assessment.

India’s fast bowling spearhead Md. Shami suffered a side strain in 2012. He was training under me with the Bengal first class team. The team physio and I found that he lacked back stability and scapular mobility. This was a case study of Gray Cook’s joint by joint approach. Cook says if one joint has an issue, one must look at the joint above and below to fix the issue. 

The monster bands (durable stretchable band) can be of immense help in enhancing mobility. Kelly Starrett, one of world’s leading physiotherapists has devised many mobility stuff with this band. Band resisted half pigeon and half kneeling is great for hip mobility. Lying overhead band pull alleviates scapula and t-spine mobility.

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