This time last year I'd ended the season with pretty severe Plantar Fasciitis and didn't rest it that well. From the end of Sept the bowling tailed off and we moved into the tennis courts and practiced there once a week batting a couple of overs each and bowling four overs each just mucking about, but at the same time Joe and Ben were learning in that slow drip, drip technique through the mistakes and it worked for us. I didn't do any warm ups and the main issue for me was the Plantar Fasciitis (PF). Over the winter it didn't seem to diminish or get worse particularly and by the time the season started there was no difference and I entered the season suffering with PF. Fortunately by the end of the season looking at different approaches to treating it I eventually stumbled across Aussie bloke on youtube or Bigcricket.com who made some suggestions with regards to massage.
Up till this point the main approach I was taking was stretching before and after any activity, but looking back now it may be that I was over-doing the stretching. The break through came with the suggestion that I massage the feet around the areas where the tearing occurs and the actual muscles that stretch and create the tears. So I started a process of massaging these areas and the muscle. The sensation that I seemed to get from it was that it loosened up the muscle and prepared it for that first stretch when you put the foot on the ground for the 1st time in the morning and it worked. The muscle seemingly having been manipulated and pre-prepared suffered no-where near as much pain and over a period of only a few days, I went from the basic massage to very gentle stretching in both directions forward and backward using the toes and the ball of the foot causing very slight resistance to the plantar. Within 5 days the improvement was 95% and I was getting out of bed and able to walk around immediately with minimal pain.
In addition if I know I'm going to be more active I now do very gentle stretches in comparison to what I was doing previously and if there is any pain due to activity as there was in the first 5 days of the new regime I put the foot in ice water for 15 - 20 minutes which in itself is pretty painful, but the outcome is in comparison to the situation in July 95% better and wholly manageable.
I'm hoping that the new bowling technique without the 'Tich Freeman skip' will mean that I'm using my leg muscles in a different way and this on it's own will alleviate the problem to some extent. I wont really know till nets in the new year.
There's been some discussion on the Bigcricket forum with regards to whether you should practice over the winter, with some people saying most definitely you shouldn't and that in my case I run the risk of putting Ben and Joe off of cricket by carrying on through the winter. We did have a break of a month or so when we didn't do anything as far as I recall and the practice that we do take part in is more about general exercise than being heavily cricket specific and attempting to teach new skills or outwardly looking to improve on something.
What we do is spend about an hour in a disused double tennis court, so the space is fenced off and the ball never goes any further than the fence. The three of us face 4 overs each of batting, which means we bowl 8 overs each. We use windballs and Kwik cricket bats and a 20 yard wicket. We place cones in positions - Mid off and on and have a rule whereby if you drive the ball back past the bowler inside the cones you get 2 runs, if the ball hits the fence in the air through the same zone you get 4 runs and over the fence 6 runs. Anywhere else over the fence and you're out. We have running between the stumps and backing up is important as there's only 2 fielders. All in all the skills that have to be used are very cricket specific and the objective is to make as many runs off your 2 overs. Minus 3 runs if you're out. It works for us and I don't moan at them for any bad practice, any bad practice simply equates to loss of your wicket or being spanked all over the court if your bowling is ropey and it seems to me that they benefit from it quite a bit. It keeps their bowling ticking over and they look to try different things independently without my input. The amount of time that is involved sees that they don't get bored or knackered and it works out just right.
The weekend just gone we all faced 5 overs each and that didn't work out so well as we'd decided that we'd bat the five overs consecutively and boredom had started to creep in after they'd both batted and Ben had more or less set an unasailable total with his five overs. Normally we'd do 2 overs and rotate and that seems to work better so we'll go back to that next week.