Fast Bowlers and their Backs

by | Nov 8, 2011 | Blog, Sporting Injuries

The primary aim of a fast bowler is to bowl the cricket ball FAST towards the batsman. The bowler uses their whole body to generate this speed (not just their shoulder and arm). They generally have quite a fast run up and then plant their lead foot with their knee as straight as possible. They then extend, side band and rotate their back whilst bringing their arm over their head to produce this speed. The force coming up through the body when the bowler plants his front foot is approx. 5 times their body weight vertically and twice their body weight horizontally.


The motion of bowling combined with these large forces predisposes many fast bowlers to lower back injuries, particularly adolescent cricketers. The main concern for young bowlers is that they develop stress fractures in their lower back. This can result in months on the sidelines. Some of the long-term implications can be an increased risk of disc problems, early degeneration and nerve root compression.


Making sure you limit the amount of balls bowled per session and per week reduces the risk of injury. Technique should be assessed to ensure unnecessary forces aren’t being transmitted through the back. Listen to your players. If a fast bowler begins to complain of lower back pain get them to a physio to be checked out.


Physios can identify any biomechanical issues that may be contributing to their pain, including stiff thoracic spine, tight hamstrings, and poor core muscles.


A niggling lower back, if left untreated for a fast bowler can be detrimental. Always, always, always get it checked out by a physio.


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