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A cricketer has special requirements when it comes to flexibility. While both endurance and strength are important so is flexibility. In fact cricketer should give the greatest importance to improving his flexibility. Ask why? The answer is very simple: lesser the flexibility more the chances of injury. There are only two choices - face injury or improve flexibility.

Flexibility exercises must be done on a regular basis. It goes without saying that the muscle must be stretched only when warm. Hence for example if you plan to stretch the hamstrings it might be a good idea to do so after a 10 minute slow jog.

If you follow the advice given in our pages you can confidently jump with joy when your great moment arrives and continue expressing your joy as robustly for years on.

Warm-Up: Muscles resist injury and perform better when they are warm. Jogging, brisk walking, cycling, cross training, etc for a mere 15 mins do the trick. When these are done wearing warm heat retaining clothing the warm up happens faster and better. Start your sporting activity or exercise training in less than 5 mins of concluding the warm up.

Warm-down: A period of gentle exercise for about 10-15 mins at the end of the game/ training helps to remove the metabolites from the muscles and also carries excess fluid from the muscle thereby preventing muscle swelling. This prevents muscle stiffening and damage to the muscle tissues.

Injury: When injured never play or exercise. You have to get into a rehabilitation program till the exercises/sport is pain free.

FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES FOR THE CRICKETER [TAKEN FROM CLICKCRICKET.COM]

Dr.B.Rajesh Srinivas

It is important that the spine, hip, neck, shoulder and hamstrings of a cricketer be supple since most injuries are due to tightness in these areas. Described below are a few exercises that target these areas specifically. All of these must best be performed in a passive static manner (where you must relax the muscles consciously without another person's help thereby gently stretching it) initially. After 4 weeks of practise you may go on to the active stretching method wherein you will consciously stretch the muscle by relaxing them just like in passive static stretching and also take help from another person to increase the range of motion without applying undue pressure.

1. Neck stretch: Slowly bend the neck as much forward as possible. Once you have bent to the maximum limit of the range breathe in and out for a minute and relax the muscles of the neck so that you are able to bend forward a little more. Maintain the position till you count ten and then return to the starting position. Similarly bend back, to the right and left.

2. Shoulder stretch: Rotate the arms 5 times to mobilise the joint. Now interlock your fingers behind the body and slowly raise the hands as high as you can behind your back. Hold for a minute before returning to the starting position.

3. Back stretch - Flexion: Lie on the floor on your back. Bend the legs, hold them close to the body. Raise the head off the floor and touch the knees with your head whilst pulling up the legs even closer to the body. ]

4. Back stretch - extension: Lie on the tummy and relax the back while resting the hands on the floor ahead of the shoulders. Applying pressure with the heel of the hand raise the trunk as much as possible. Make sure that the pelvis is all the time in contact with the floor. On reaching the limit of the motion relax the back muscles and hold the position. Slowly return to the starting position.

5. Back Stretch - Rotation: Sit on the floor with both the legs stretched forward. Place one hand behind the back and place the bent knee across the body and then rotate shoulders. The stretch will be felt in the hip and the back. Maintain the position for a minute and then go on to practise the same from the other side.

6. Groin stretch: Bend forwards so that the palms are on the floor. Place the sole of either your right or left foot in between the palms so that the knee and the ankle are in a line. Stretch the other feet as much behind you as possible. Lean forward while pushing your hips downward. Maintain the position till you feel the stretch in the groin. Come back to the starting position and practise the same once again, only this time after exchanging the legs.

7. Lateral stretch: With the right foot firmly planted cross-over in front with the left (left knee slightly bent, keep left foot snug against right) and bend laterally to the left (while keeping shoulders and pelvis in the same plane). Practise the same from the other side.

8. Hip stretch: Lie on the floor on your back. Bend the right leg at the knee so as to cross the left thigh. Breathe out and bring the left leg as close to the body as possible. Maintain the stretch for as long as comfortable and then lower the leg to the starting position. Practise the same after exchanging the legs.

9. Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the floor with both the legs stretched in front of you. Bend the right leg so as to bring the heel as close to the body as possible. Now keeping the back straight breathe out and bend forwards from the hips so as to stretch the hamstrings. If the hamstrings are tight the stress would be on the low back instead of the hamstrings and this is not desirable. Hence this should be done with great caution. The same must be done on the other side.

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