Linking Well-Being and Performance, along with the Spirit of Cricket, is fundamental to our values. We believe that recognising these key principles we are more likely to help players reach their potential, will keep more playing the game for longer and create an enjoyable environment for everyone to play cricket in.
Enjoyment, learning and realising potential should be kept in equal proportion at all stages of a player's journey. If one element gets too much focus then the others will suffer.
ECB Fast Bowling Directives are designed to raise awareness of the need to nurture and protect our young fast bowlers through their formative years. You only have to look at the injury problems in the Men’s Professional game currently to see the importance of this.
We understand clubs/schools will want to pick strong players in older age groups/multiple teams, but please be selective in the amount of games being played - doing too much risks serious injury.
This is an important consideration especially for young bowlers whose bodies are not fully developed. Recent studies have revealed that overbowling is a common cause of back injuries. Evidence suggests that much of the damage occurs early in the playing career, especially during growth spurts, though the effects do not often show themselves until the late teens. The more talented and more physically mature youngsters are generally most at risk, as they tend to play at more than one age group level.
To ensure that young fast bowlers do not place undue stress on their bodies, every attempt must be made to keep the amount of bowling within reasonable limits. Although these guidelines are for fast bowlers, we suggest a similar workload is followed for spin bowlers as well because overbowling can also cause injury for slower bowlers as well. The following Directives provide sensible playing and training levels.
|Age||Max Overs Per Session||Max Overs Per Day (bear in mind this is usually limited by the game format anyway)|
|Up to 13||5 overs per spell||10 overs per day|
|U14-U15||6 overs per spell||12 overs per day|
|U16-U17||7 overs per spell||18 overs per day|
|U18-U19||7 overs per spell||18 overs per day|
|Age||Max Balls Per Session||Max Sessions Per Week|
|Up to 13||30 balls per session||2 sessions per week|
|U14-U15||36 balls per session||2 sessions per week|
|U16-U17||36 balls per session||3 sessions per week|
|U18-U19||42 balls per session||3 sessions per week|
For guidance it is recommended that in any seven day period a fast bowler should not bowl more than four days in a week and for a maximum of two days in a row.
We would recommend making a diary of total balls bowled per week and if you feel the workload is too much please inform your coach.
The number of diagnosed lumbar stress fractures in the ECB Cricket squads has been in the news. But what is a lumbar stress fracture and how do we reduce the number in youth athletes? Early diagnosis is key to minimise the injury and time out of sport
Stress fractures start as bone bruises that occur after an increase in activity that exceeds the body’s ability to repair and adapt. If the activity is modified at the 1st sign of pain, the bone can adapt to cope with the new load and the athlete can return to sport within weeks
If the athlete continues to play sport with back pain, and the bone is not given time to adapt and become stronger, the bone bruising can progress to a small hairline fracture in the bone often requiring months out of sport.
Injuries because of: 1. Misalignment in bowling action (e.g. non-bowling arm not going towards the target) 2. Not being fit enough or strong enough for that volume or intensity 3. Too much too soon - spikes 4. Too little recovery 5. Too little fuel intake and low Vitamin D 6. Growth spurts
• Low back pain - on the opposite side to the throwing arm
• Starts as mild pain - worsens with bowling, kicking
• Improves with rest and gradually gets more severe and frequent.
• May spread to the other side or to hamstrings and buttock
If a bone stress injury is caught early most athletes can return to sport in 6-12 weeks. Failure to modify the activity at the 1st sign of back pain can result in a fracture and 4-6 months out of sport. Educate the athlete and parents that back pain should not be ignored in kids.