This is a guest article from Andy Perkins, Strength and Conditioning Coach for Guernsey Cricket
One of the big plus points in the last season with Guernsey was that no injuries were sustained in competitions.
This was in no small part to a concerted effort to protect the shoulder. Today I want to share the causes of shoulder injuries to help you avoid similar niggles. There will be no scientific jargon just straight forward English with practical suggestions you can take and use straight away.
So, what happens when you get a shoulder injury?
Injuries are caused by minor alterations in movement caused by micro trauma (niggles) that if ignored and allowed to continue cause macro trauma (injury).
Here is the first lesson with regards shoulder pain: If something doesn’t feel right get it seen to. Don’t ignore it!
Reducing the risk of shoulder injury
To reduce your risk of shoulder injuries the goal when training your shoulders for cricket is two fold.
- Prevent forward glide of your humerus (the bone from your shoulder to your elbow) from gliding too far forward.
This image shows forward glide of the humerus. Your shoulder should sit directly under your ear. It should not sit forward of the ear as you can see in this image.
This image shows how the shoulder should sit, directly under the ear. You should be able to draw a straight line from the bottom of your ear straight through the middle of your shoulder.
- Ensure a good relationship between the humerus and scapula (shoulder blade).
Hold your hand out in front of you so the palm faces away from you. Now twist your hand so that your fingers point in towards the mid line of your body and your wrist points out away from the mid line of your body.
This represents what should happen to your shoulder as you lift your arm up. When the shoulder blades moves in this way through a healthy relationship between the rotator cuff muscles and lower trapezius, the shoulder joint moves with the humerus to allow a good range of motion.
When the muscles don’t work optimally your shoulder joint won’t open up as much as it should resulting in the humeral head jamming up against the shoulder joint and causing pain and inflammation.
You may have pain right now, in which case you should get checked oout by a medical professional. If you don’t have pain I can’t recommend strongly enough that you implement the exercises below in to your warm up. It will save you a lot of time on the injury table.
Exercises to prevent shoulder injuries in cricket
- Ensure sufficient posterior range of motion in the shoulder joint
Have your arm at 90 degrees, with the elbow in line with the shoulder. The opposite arm comes across so the hand rests on the shoulder so you can feel any forward movement in the shoulder.
The goal is to posteriorly rotate the arm to get the hand flat on the floor. However, should you feel the humerus ride up in to the shoulder stop. Return to the start position and try to increase the range of motion through 10 reps of this exercise. Do not force movement with this exercise.
- Release excessive tightness in the chest muscles (pecs)
Stand against a wall with a tennis ball, golf ball or hockey ball pressed against your chest. Slowly roll the ball around your chest focusing on tight areas to release the excessive tightness.
Imagine you are rolling out a ball of dough that you want flat. That’s what we want to do to your muscle, release bunched up tight muscle fibres to relieve tension in your shoulders.
- Ensure good strength and co ordination between the rotator cuff, lower trapezius and shoulder blade
Lie on your tummy on a bench arms directly underneath your shoulders.
The goal is to raise your arms up to make a Y shape with your arms and body. However, the movement is initiated by squeezing the shoulder blades together to raise your arms not by lifting your arms.
An important note is that if you are currently experiencing a shoulder injurydo not self diagnose get it seen to first by a medical professional before implementing these techniques.
You can find out more about Andy Perkins at cricketfitnesscoach.com