Cricket Australia Coaching

Training Session Ideas

Over the past year our understanding of how workload may contribute to bone stress injury in young fast bowlers has advanced significantly.

As a result the existing youth fast bowling guidelines have been refined. Consultation with State/Territory medical and fitness staff, as well as pace bowling coaches, has provided a clear Australian Cricket position. Below is a summary of the rationale to change and the changes themselves.



Rationale to change

  • Lumbar (low back) stress fracture is the most debilitating fast bowler injury and results in the most time missed due to any injury in young fast bowlers
  • Adolescence provides a “window of opportunity” to improve bone strength with consistent bowling through this period when bone is thought to be responsive to well-planned loading. This has potential to develop a stronger thicker lumbar vertebrae that are better capable of withstanding the loads of fast bowling
  • Cricket Australia research shows that the frequency of bowling sessions (more sessions per week and less time between sessions) increases the risk of developing a lumbar stress fracture. This appears to be a more prominent risk factor than the number of balls bowled
  • Sustained bowling over a prolonged period of time (e.g 3 months) without a rest period was is also a risk factor in the development of lumbar stress fracture
  • The existing guidelines are complex and can result in young bowlers not getting the consistent bowling through a week that they require for their physical and technical development


GUIDELINES
Avoid bowling more than 2 days in a row where possible
Avoid bowling more than 4 days in a week
Allow one easy week (eg: 50% of target load) every 4-5 weeks
Schedule a week off bowling after every 10-12 weeks of bowling to allow your body to recover


AGE BOWLING RECOMMENDATIONS
Under-11 Two overs maximum each spell* & Four overs maximum per match
Under 13 Four overs maximum each spell* & Eight overs maximum per match
Target 100-120 balls per week (match & training)
Under 15 Allow 4-6 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to the season
Five overs maximum each spell* & twelve overs maximum per match
Target 100-120 balls per week (match & training)
Under 17 Allow 6-8 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to the season
Six overs maximum each spell* & 16 overs maximum per match
Target 120-150 balls per week (match & training)
Under 19 Allow 8-10 weeks gradual bowling preparation prior to the season
Seven overs maximum each spell* & 20 overs maximum per match
Target 150-180 balls per week (match & training)

* rest between spells should be the same number of overs from the same end as the completed spell

Overview of changes

  1. We have combined some age groups to align with the junior pathway programs and national age group championships
  2. Match loads are largely unchanged with some modifications due to the combination of age groups
  3. We have removed the training volume recommendations in the existing guidelines and replaced it with a weekly target volume to emphasise the benefits of consistency of bowling. For example, if a player bowls a lot on a weekend then it would be recommended that training volumes would be less in the following week but conversely if match loads were lower, then training volume in the following week should be higher
  4. We have added a comment reflecting the importance of monitoring the frequency of bowling and the benefit of a longer rest period after a period of sustained loading (bowling) or very high bowling weeks. An example of this would be to have a week off bowling after a week of tournament play like carnivals, pathway competition or the national championships

Specific changes

  • Combined 5-8 years, and under 10 into an under 11 group which fits with the endorsed junior formats. This means all players could bowl 2 over spells and up to 4 in a match
  • Under 12&13 combined, (bowl 4 over spells and 8 overs max)
  • Under 15, unchanged and combined with U14 (means U14 can bowl can bowl 2 more overs in a match compared to the existing guidelines)
  • Under 16 combined with U17. This means the U16 bowlers can bowl 2 more overs in a match compared to the existing guidelines
  • Under 18 combined with U19. This means the U18 bowlers can bowl 2 more overall in a match compared to the existing guidelines. The max spell length for this group is 7 overs as opposed to 8 for the under 19 in the existing guidelines
  • Added some guidelines around frequency/rest periods and removed training volumes
  • Added bowling volume targets for the week
  • Added some guidelines around preparation for the start of the season