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Andrew White NCU Cricket Academy Class of 2016-2017 Fitness Screening
The Andrew White NCU Cricket Academy commenced their 2016-17 programme at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown Campus, under the tutelage of Performance Services Co-ordinator William Moore. The players undertook a fitness screening session to provide base line data that will be used to assess physical improvement throughout the coming months.
The results across the Academy group were mixed with each player having their individual strengths and weaknesses. Andrew White states that there has to be concerns across many of the young cricketers.
'The fitness testing definitely highlighted that all of the Academy players (and young cricketers in general) need to have a greater dedication towards improving their various components of fitness. Bowlers in particular put their bodies through great stress and without the required strength and flexibility leave themselves open to injuries. Whilst many of our young people are involved in winter sports, it does not account for cricket specific fitness. The Academy is grateful to the expertise and commitment of the Ulster University for their role in this process.'
Some examples of the testing undertaken included:
Cricket by its nature causes physical stress on the body that can lead to strength imbalances. The players upper body strength was tested through a seated chest pull, and leg strength by a single leg press.
Urine samples were taken to assess the players dehydration levels. Scientists at the University of Stirling have discovered that, 'dehydrated cricketers suffer from impaired motor skills that significantly reduce their performance on the field.' For example, 'fielders suffered a significant reduction in throwing speed and accuracy, and batsmen took slightly longer to complete three runs'. It is recommended that two to three litres of water are consumed daily.
Countermovement Jump Test
This test was taken to determine the power in the lower body by determining the amount of explosive power the legs can deliver. Cricket relies on explosive movements often from a standing start such as running quick singles, chasing balls hit into the outfield or catching in the fielding circle. The spectacular advances in the fielding standards in world cricket have been aided by players developing the explosive power of their lower body.
Sprint tests over twenty metres with the use of laser speed gates measured the players straight line speed. Video clips were also taken to examine running styles, which varied greatly across the group. Slight modifications in the biomechanics of running can make a difference to speed and in reducing needless energy loss.
Yo-Yo Test (Intermittent Recovery Test)
Instead of running continuously back and forward over the allotted distance (Bleep Test), you get a brief pause between each set of 20 metre shuttles: giving it the name 'Yo-Yo test'. It is a way to measure your ability to perform repeated interval runs over a prolonged period of time, giving it a good level of realism to the fitness requirements of intermittent sports like cricket.
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