One of my training clients is having a little trouble with occasional knee pain. It’s nothing more than a niggle, but we have to take care it doesn’t become an actual injury.
It got me thinking; this is good practice for all players; your first aim should always be to get on the park, and that means staying injury free. However, you are not a physiotherapist (neither am I) and so diagnosing and solving injury issues is impossible.
What do you do?
You do what I did with my client and take a more general approach. I won’t go into complete detail here (it’s pretty geeky) but one no-brainer was to up the amount of ankle mobility work he was doing.
It takes 5 minutes a day, requires just a tennis ball and the benefits massively outweigh the time taken.
What’s so important about the ankle?
Everything you do on the cricket pitch needs the ankle to move: running, front foot batting, bowling and wicketkeeping are classic examples. If your ankle can’t do the work then your body tries to compensate. The result is increased pressure on the knees and lumbar spine.
For fast bowlers there is also the chance it is slowing you down. If your ankle is locked up from years of wearing bowling boots, you tend to “drop step” (back foot land and take off) with your weight on your toe. This cuts out the glute and hamstring muscles from your hip drive; slowing you down.
Yet the problem is so simple to resolve.
5 minutes to ankle heaven
All you need to do is spend 5 minutes a day trying to increase the mobility of your ankles. So find a moment in your schedule (maybe it’s during game warm ups, maybe it’s just in your bedroom when you wake up), make sure you are out of your shoes.
I’ll let Bill Hartman take over:
If you are not feeling a difference in a couple of weeks you need to push things further with more time, a band and a friend, but give your ankles some love first to nip those knee and back issues in the bud.
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