Well-Being & Performance

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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. 


  • What are your reasons for playing the game?
  • Has the game changed or has the ‘story’ about what it means changed?
  • Going back to how cricket felt when you were younger
  • Uncomfortable emotions: All feelings will come and go. You do not need to feel confident to play well. Nerves are natural, get into the game and they will fall away
  • Success is more than just results: Relationships to team, coaches, family; Connection to the game; Knowing where cricket fits in with the rest of your life; Improving on and off the field
  • Learning is a natural, innate capacity
  • Avoiding the Obstacles / what gets in the way of learning?
    - Ignoring our own experiences/instincts/intuition – e.g. if you get offered a piece of technical advice, put it to the test but you have to decide whether it’s best for you
    - Fear of failure and making mistakes
    - Over-emphasising the importance of short-term performance, outcomes and results
    - Mistaking knowledge for understanding – being able to do it consistently not just say it
  • Keep exposing yourself to new experiences/challenges
  • Focus on progress not perfection
  • An ongoing process of finding out how good you can be
  • When performance, enjoyment and learning are in equal balance, the game feels easy, effortless and fulfilling = the state of being ‘in the zone’
  • The game doesn’t change much, but our thinking about it does
  • Play like you train and train like you play
  • Is there still pressure when there is no ‘story’ about what the game means?
  • You lose focus when you become more interested in something (sometimes external, but often our own thoughts) than what is happening right here, right now in front of us
  • Trick is to notice when your thoughts have drifted to past or future and put your attention back into the now
  • Everyone has different reasons for playing, but most people are looking for a rich, fulfilled experience from playing the game
  • Focus on enjoying the whole game and not just the outcome
  • Respect for The Game
  • Respect for the individuals involved
  • The Silver Rule: do not do something to someone else if you wouldn’t like them to do it to you


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.


Strength & Conditioning Resources

Boys Home Workout Programme (Provided by Northants)

Girls Home Workout Programme (Provided by Southern Vipers Academy)