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Why physiotherapy has become an integral aspect of cricket ?

Different aspects need to come together for a cricketer, or any sportsperson, to be successful in any specific field. First and foremost, they need to have passion and determination within themselves followed by other different factors, such as the right guidance, sporting facilities, proper coaching and platforms.

Nepal cricket is taking long stride in the last few years, in terms of both international triumphs, and the inflation of cricketers’ pool inside the country, with many academies and clubs taking charge.

However, the importance of physiotherapy has always gone unnoticed or been an under-rated aspect of the game. Hardly, players or the game’s stake holder realise that not having a proper guidance from a physiotherapist can take toll on cricketers from grassroots level.

And when its understood, it could be too late.

The physiotherapist role is to prevent and recover cricketers from all kinds of injuries that they might carry while batting, bowling, or fielding. Coaches help cricketers to enhance their skills while physiotherapists play an important role to bring the best out of players by keeping their body in the right shape and condition.

The small pains and problems that usually get ignored at the grassroots level tend to invite long-term injuries in future, which will affect the cricketer’s career, no matter how talented and skilful he/she is. Hence, the role of the physiotherapist is as equally important as the coach at any level of cricket.

Proper stretching and cooling-down

Correctly performed stretching will help to increase blood flow and promote oxygen supplies and prepare the body for any physical activities that we perform during the match or training sessions. All of these activities are aimed at preventing injuries and help players to carry on their game for a long run.

Similarly, cooling down is just as important to help the muscles and tendons to relax and loosen, to prevent them from becoming stiff and tight. All internal injuries are related to improper stretching or cool down at some point in their career.

Stretching and cooling down especially play a vital role in winter when body parts tend to stay in robotic mode and a prolonged stretching should prevent injuries.

Grassroots players lack proper guidance regarding stretching and cool down, as they are specifically focused on enhancing their cricketing skills, this will affect them to purchase a long career as many injuries might act as obstacles during different point.

There is no substitute for proper guidance and specific knowledge regarding stretching and cool down to minimize this issue. Many players try to learn through YouTube or other platforms. It helps but that might come up with misunderstanding and errors so it’s never going to be 100%.

There’s no point in having extra half an hour of training by missing the proper stretching which eventually cut out the days from your career. The most common injuries due to improper stretching and cool down are shoulder pain, shin pain, problem in the hamstring and many more.

Body Posture

Some players develop the habit of wrong body posture at the grassroots level and go unnoticed for a long time. The wrong posture while taking a batting stance, performing bowling action or sometimes during fielding tends to invite long-run problem to the specific part of their body.

Vikram Nyaupane, physiotherapist of Nepal national cricket team, shares an incident. “One newly introduced fast bowler in our camp tend to observe back-pain in every two or three days, later we find out that, it was because of his wrong body posture while performing bowling action, which went unnoticed for a long time”, he says.

Junior players are very curious about everything so they try to copy many things from YouTube, and while doing this, they usually happen to introduce the wrong body posture habit.

“I used to receive a message from many players from different districts complaining about frequent pain in the lower back or other parts, I reckon this is all happening due to wrong posture or improper stretching”, Nyaupane concludes.

Following the wrong posture for a long time can lead them to life-long injuries that appear now and then.

Diet Awareness

Only few players get the privilege to represent their country, state among a bunch of young aspiring cricketers, although most of them are hard-working and talented enough. There’s where small things make a huge difference, while working hard, we must be aware of all the aspects to be successful.

You have to be aware of every necessary factor to reach the top of your goal. Most of ours common foods are very nutritious and can fulfil the demands of the body, we just need to have them in the right way. Players just need to figure out what foods items to avoid and have others wisely.

Players need to avoid junk foods and too much fat contained foods and keep having all the remaining locally available food to meet the needs of your body. It’s not possible to follow a professional diet plan at the grassroots level so, players just need to develop some awareness.

If you cannot add something extra to your diet, make sure you won’t consume any harmful foods. Players need to have extra lentils (Daal) post-meal and focus on foods and fruits available at home, like milk, eggs etc.

Players should avoid protein-rich food before or during the match which will observe more water from the body and there will be a high chance of dehydration. Players should focus on a protein-rich diet during an off-season or training sessions. After the match or training, cricketers should focus on drinking an excessive amount of water to recover their body.

Proper sleep also plays an important role for cricketers to concentrate for a longer time, increase their reaction time, and also help in movement coordination. As per scientific research, a minimum of eight hours of sleep is recommended for adult and ten hours for teenagers.

But sometimes it differs from person to person on what amount of sleep is required for individuals to recover well. Cricketers at the grassroots level must try.

Physiotherapist Work Shop is a must

It takes years of hard work and investment to become a professional physiotherapist. And to be realistic, it’s not possible to hire professional physiotherapist for every districts team, currently looks tough for provinces as well.

Cricket Association of Nepal can conduct 10-12 days of physiotherapist work-shop in all the provinces of Nepal with representatives from majors clubs, academies and district. Professional physiotherapists can provide basic knowledge to be implemented at grassroots levels.

In case, if they cannot train the players, they can make sure that the players aren’t performing anything wrong.

BY ROSHAN DHITAL

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