A CASE STUDY I recently had a chat with one of our athletes who plays decent level cricket - he bowls pretty quick. He was telling me that his bowling coach (a high level coach) told him not to lift any weights for the upper body - only to do bowling itself & throwing exercises. I immediately felt my head shaking on the inside. Unfortunately, this attitude is all too common in sport specific coaches - lacking awareness around performance variables. I drew this up to reason with him as to why some upper body lifting would be beneficial for his cricket.
Our conversation went like this: Bowling is a powerful sporting action. If we want to increase our power, we look to the force / velocity curve. Power is the product of force x velocity. Meaning if we increase velocity, power increases. Likewise, if we can increase force, power increases. This is simple maths right? So if we do our best to increase BOTH force & velocity, it would make sense that our power would be maximised right? I told him that he spends enough time bowling at his own training sessions - the velocity end (far right) of the curve. And that when he was in the gym, we would be working more towards the force end (far left) of the curve. I used some example exercises to highlight my point. Not only did this athlete proceed to tell me that his bowling speed has increased since he’s been working with us but also that he feels physically better when performing. I told him to stop right there and realise that is a REAL WORLD RESULT! The work he’s doing in the gym is not only helping him from an objective standpoint (bowling speed) but also in a subjective manner (the way he feels). That’s performance. I didn’t even need to get into the discussion of how important strength training is in terms of developing resilience and structural integrity of the tissues. Throwing is the quickest action in all of sports. The stress your shoulder girdle experiences is phenomenal. Rather than do nothing but throw (more stress) as suggested by the bowling coach, it would make sense to do some upper body work to create some robustness through that area. #one22