LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
OK here’s the deal. You can make 440 for two declared on any given KZN10 Super Saturday but that’s not much use if you can’t then get the 10 wickets needed to win the match.
(Sure there’s the limited-overs format followed out of necessity and coupled with logistical issues – transport of groups of teams on any given KZN10 Saturday – but what I am getting at it is that we are aiming to develop wicket-taking bowlers not containment safety-first cricketers).
As one climbs the cricket ladder of age-groups, with its better-quality cricket and stronger opposition, by and large it’s the bowlers who (should) win matches, especially when backed by outstanding catchers and fielders. And a reasonable total supplied by your batters of course.
Feature image caption: Glenwood 2019 grade 12 Lifa Ntanzi had a stellar December/January, making the 2018 SA Schools and SA U19 Feb/Mar 2019 tour teams. Athletic, aggressive, accurate, fast bowler Lifa’s got the goods. RenateMontyPhotos
* Please note: No inference should be drawn that any of the players mentioned below or in the images below, are in some sort of over-training, over-bowling situation. The group represents just a smattering of the hugely promising KZN10 bowling talent we have in our midst and the intention is to recognise them for that talent by including them in this feature.
So, injury free; that’s what we want. If not, dreams could be in tatters in the blink of an eye.
Therefore, KZN10 felt it wise to consult an expert, in PMB-based physiotherapist Neil van Biljon, who has extensive experience in treating KZN schoolboy sportsmen and cricketers, particularly promising fast bowlers.
Neil: “Thanks Jono. I have firm views on the subject, having experienced first-hand in my practice what damage can be done if the teen-age fast bowler is not properly managed. And I am not just talking about high school boys. And not just about fast bowling.
“And it is not only fast bowlers; medium-fast, seam and swing bowlers, the primary school bowler too; the strain exerted on the bowling shoulder of the young, the teenage leg-spinner, the off-spinner, the strain on the hips and knees and so on of every bowler.
“And what I am going to point out under the next five headings can in most instances also be adapted and applied to many sports codes at schoolboy level.”
WHY WE TRAIN
Says Neil: “To provide the body with adequate load to enforce positive physiological adaptations; that is, improved fitness, skill levels and mental endurance.”
TOO HIGH A WORKLOAD
Says Neil: “Results in negative adaptions from the body (counter-productive) thus forcing the fast bowler to need a longer recovery phase. Worst-case scenario it brings about damage to soft-tissue structures.
“Resuming training to quickly after a period of training overload can result in further negative adaptations and the serious risk of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS).”
Says Neil: “The onus is on the fast bowler, his coaches, trainers, physios and the school sports scientists to track the player’s loading and try fit them into what is called the loading ‘sweet spot’ where the young fast bowler’s body is positively adapting to the load (i.e. getting fitter) and at the same time protecting the body from damage and overuse injuries.”
ADOLESCENT PACE BOWLERS AT HIGH RISK
Says Neil: “There are multi-factorial risk factors in this specific group of athletes.
“Vertebral growth plates have been shown to close from age 18 to as late as age 23 in extreme cases. As a general yardstick, though, we can assume in most cases that at age 19 this physeal closing has taken place almost completely.
“This, coupled with maximum bone-mass volume only being reached at around age 18 it does leave the younger fast bowler at high risk of lower-back stress fractures – particularly when they are put through high volumes of bowling week in and week out.
“A typical bowling action can exert up to 30 times your body weight’s worth of pressure through your lumbar spine. In fact, this is increased with bowlers who have a ‘mixed-on’ bowling action.”
Says Neil: “It goes without saying that ‘core strengthening’ in the off-season is crucial. In my opinion, better communication between health professionals and coaches is key.
“There are numerous ways to manage the bowler’s workload via Apps, questionnaires, or simply counting their overs bowled in a week.
“All bowlers are different and need to be managed individually. Interestingly enough, ‘low workload’ can be just as detrimental to the bowler as too high a workload.
“The key times when injuries tend to be a problem can also be after a long, relatively inactive off-season or after a long injury layoff .
“Coming back to training at high volumes can be dangerous. The basic rule of thumb is low-intensity training that includes low volumes of overs bowled that is then supplemented with a 10% increase per week.”
BOTTOM LINE, says Neil
“Listen to your body. Consult a professional immediately if anything feels out of the ordinary. The body tends to give warning signs ahead of major injuries. These warning signs must be taken seriously by you.
“Prevention is always better than cure.”
Jono says: Brilliant advice, Neil. I suffered from a major back injury as a 13/14-year-old opening bowler and it put paid to any thoughts of bigger things.
There is so much promising talent out there on any given KZN10 Super Saturday and it would be a crime to see it denied due to inadequate knowledge.
This may indeed turn out to be the most intrinsically valuable KZN10 story yet.
In KZN10 terms, when one talks talent, one need look no further than the Hilton College bowling attack of what was a stellar 2018 first XI year.
Opening bowlers John Turner and Michael Booth, seam and swing bowler Tom Dixon, left-arm orthodox spinner Michael Frost, leg-spinners Colby Dyer and James Ritchie, off-spinner Michael Sclanders.
Such was the effectiveness of this remarkably varied bowling arsenal one wonders if it stands out among the best seen at schoolboy level in years.
That five of the seven are back in this 2019 year is a prospect to savour – and has already been experienced by yours truly in two matches to date.
But I digress. The punch line here is that in 2018, almost invariably, from match to match, John Turner and particularly Michael Booth knocked over two or three top-order wickets in the first 7 or 8 overs.
This regular match situation afforded Hilton captain James Ritchie the opportunity to maintain attacking fields – and the time and run-space for Dixon, Dyer, Frost, Sclanders and the skipper to weave their destructive webs.
The good news is that the Hilton bowlers aren’t the only leather flingers of note that we will – and are already seeing – on the green fields of the KZN10 at this early stage of the 2019 year.
I could do the rounds among the schools but for brevity’s sake – and to get back to the point of this story – here are just one or two more examples of what we can, and are already, witnessing in 2019.
St Charles College have promising talent in abundance in the form of Kian Channon, Cameron Spangenberg and Keegan Crawford, especially now that they each have a minimum of one year’s first XI experience in the memory bank.
Maritzburg College fast bowler Mondli Khumalo is another, as are Northwood’s 2019 captain Jeremy Martins, fellow Northwod Knight Andile Mokgakane the SA U19 all-rounder, and young all-rounder Cade Carmichael of Kearsney College.
And from 2018, Kearsney left-arm opening bowler Carl Heunis, and Westville captain & right-arm paceman Matthew Pollard.
And what more can one say of SA Schools 2018 and SA U19 Feb/March India tour selection, the then grade 11 and now grade 12 talent that is Lifa Ntanzi of Glenwood.
Extremely quick, a natural athlete if ever there was one, deadly accurate and a snorter of a bouncer, Lifa is definitely a shining star-in-the-making to watch.
Michaelhouse’s U19 Cricket World Cup paceman Fraser Jones, 2019 St Charles College captain and Zimbabwe U19 off-spinner Wessly Madhevere, joint Player of the 2018 Junior World Cup…
There are more.
We in KZN are fortunate to blessed with so much talent.
Roll on 2019 KZN10 cricket!