Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Injury Updates

Joe first

Joe's doing well. As yet we've still not had any NHS exercise physio sessions, where he's supposed to be doing specific exercises aimed at strengthening his leg. We go along to the usual physio visits where the girl/bloke has a look at his progress, asks loads of questions about how he's getting on and what have you and then sets him a new series of slightly more challenging drills to do.

With regards the inuries and how they look here's an update

This is the whole area with the exit wound at the top and 'The hole' at the bottom (Right). It looks different in different light, in this image with the light coming in from the side you can see that it's not all filled in as yet, but it's getting there.
 In these images I've used a penny to give some sense of perspective and possibly over time show how the wound either does or doesn't shrink. The image here above is the Exit wound, which is coming along quite nicely. Joe does the massage of the scars himself, I offer to do it but he says that I massage it too hard and it's sore. Over the months watching him do it, it has been obvious that he has gradually increased the pressure he puts into the massaging, so hopefully what he is doing is beneficial. The issue with this scar is that it's directly over the area that was snapped, so it is still healing and it is tender and there's very little skin over the top of the bone in this region.
 This is the what was 'The hole' have a look at the May entries in the blog if you want to see why it was called 'The hole'. Again this was very tender and sore when Joe started with the massage, but bit by bit he's been working at it from around the edges working into the middle. I helped a couple of days ago and noticed that the scar tissue either side of the hole where the Reebok stitches were was quite lumpy beneath the skin and Joe allowed me to do the massage and within a matter of seconds it went from being a hard lump to almost not noticeable. Joe noticed the difference and he's started on this area as well. It would be nice if in the longer term the tissue did grow back and this hole was able to fill in properly or at least with level with the surrounding skin. At the minute he's not fussed about the scars, so we have to keep him working on them because I think in the longer term he'll probably prefer it if they were minimised as much as they could be.


The physio that he's doing at the moment is primarily about getting his thigh muscles working and getting strength in his ankle so that he can walk properly and we can see that he is getting there bit by bit. One of the drills we've been doing is to simply balance on the bad leg. Initially he couldn't do it at all in August some time, but he's been able to do it now for 174 seconds in one go. With that record being set I've adapted the exercise and introduced a bit of a cricket element to it. What we do now is that, I face him as he stands on the bad leg and I throw a ball to him and he has to catch it and throw it back whilst balancing on the bad leg. The idea is to do this as many times as possible without setting the good leg down and the record after 2 days of this is 15 throws and catches. This new version seems to be getting him to use the inside of his foot more as at the moment he primarily balances using the outside of his foot.

The paddock

Unfortunately there seems to be a couple of people that use the paddock to exercise their poxy dogs and it always seems to be Staffordhsire Bull Terrier owners. Despite the fact that I've pointed out to them that I try and maintain a wicket in there and that it's quite important to us that it's not torn up by dogs. One Woman even acknowledged that she should not have her dog in there anyway as it was a sport/play area and not designated for dogs to crap in and ruin. But despite this - she still goes in there and stands on the wicket area and throws sticks along the length of the wicket (Nowhere else) so that dog runs up and down it tearing the grass up! Despite this and probably helped by the fact that we've not been in there a lot this summer it's recovered a bit despite very little intervention on my part.

The two images above were taken a couple of weeks ago.

The images here were taken at the weekend just gone.
At the batting end I've put down some organic matter and hopefully this'll help to level it up a bit and promote some growth of the grass. In these images above you can see that on the right hand side where the fence posts are there's some brambles and trees growing on what's left of the fence and it casts a shadow across the grass where we bowl. Again with the light being limited there because of the bush growth the grass doesn't grow so well, so I've had to trim back the brambles and I'll probably cut back the bushes to get some light in there.

The pictures below are more recent and we've suffered a set back. A large group of youths all about 16-18 years old turned up in the paddock at the weekend and spent a couple of hours playing football in there. They know we have a wicket there in the summer and it does feel like they're being vindictive because like the dog owners they seem to focus on stomping all over the wicket area and in this incidence it's all over the area where I'd put seed down and its on Ben's bowling length. I suspect that by the time May comes I may be able to get it back into shape, but if they are to return again over the coming 6 months it may end up being too much?

This is how it should look if it wasn't for the dogs and the football. I've thought about setting up somewhere else, just outside the paddock on the road verge there's a decent bit of flat grass which is ideal for dogs and I could mow and maintain a wicket there, but it would be so much harder to put then nets up there. Or I could contact the council and ask if I can set a wicket up over at the Rec across the way from the cricket pitch, I'm sure based on what they said before and the help that they've offered me before they probably would say okay, but again it's the nets situation that is the problem.

My own fitness

I had a bowl yesterdy and today, over at the Rec in the old tennis courts and the issues that I've highlighted previously with regards to bowling with my arm and wrist twisted emerged again. It's obvious that will need to address this and do something different, so the plan to bowl Top-Spinners and Flippers looks like the way to go, because these cause no problems at all. Other things that are causing niggles are... The pads of my feet - the soft tissue area to left of the ball of my foot on the right foot seems to bruise easily at the minute. That might just need a change of footwear, but I'll have to keep an eye on that. My hip also still twinges - sciatica piriformis, so again as I ease back into training hopefully some of these things will be okay? But, I am aware that maybe this is the beginning of the end, I'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shane Warne set to bowl again and talks spin

Shane Warne had a bowl in the MCG nets on Tuesday. At 43, he is slim and fit, but he has plenty of rust to shed over the next couple of months, before his first match as captain of the Melbourne Stars. Even the greatest legspinner the game has seen was unable to land his first ball, a full toss. As Warne has been saying ever since his retirement, spin bowling is damn hard. Spinners need to be treated with patience.

Read the full article via the link above.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

That's another season gone...

Well, that wasn't that good. The season on April 5th looked pretty good all round, on April 5th I was feeling pretty fit and doing all the exercises and training to be ready for the start of the season. Ben, Joe, Kieran and Oliver Bybuke were all up for training sessions pre-season and we were all doing really well and then April 6th came along and Joe was run down by that car.

Straight away that threw a spanner in the works and all the normal things that we'd have done were scuppered. Joe obviously needed a lot of care and our lives this year changed. I tried to train a little and do as much as I could to keep fit, but there just wasn't any time. Ben carried on playing and had a really good season with his bowling and moved his way up the batting order and founding himself batting as high as number 6 on odd occasions.

I missed Joe massively, Joe would have generally been up for having a knock around and in those instances where Joe would have been with us, Ben would have joined in too, but without Joe there, Ben was never that inclined to join in and he only ever joined me over at the paddock on the odd occasion. The same applied with practicing over at the Rec, once the accident had happened that all stopped and prior to the accident that was going well, with Frank Farrington and Oliver Bybuke joining in with us.

All these things meant that in comparison to previous years I was physically not that well prepared which was gutting because I'd got to a point where my run-up was coming together. Despite that, I still played in a handful of games and bowled okay in a couple of them, but for the most part it was pretty poor verging on disasterous. The other factor was the weather, with many people saying that it was the worst start to a cricket season/summer ever with many pitches saturated with water or under water for most weekends right through till July. It seemed that throughout the earlier part of the summer 3 days didn't go by with out it raining and those three days tended to be cool and cloudy. That then compounded the fitness situation and lack of activity meant that by mid June I was bowling and by the end of the first over I was stressing my upper arm muscles. Despite this situation I kept at it for the rest of the season and by the end of the season it was obviously an issue.

Once the season finished I eased up a bit and tried to figure out whether it was my rotator cuff or my Deltoid as it did seem to be isolated to the Deltoid. But, there were symptoms that suggested that it was the Rotator Cuff as I was suffering from the same kind of symptoms as I'd done 3 or 4 years earlier when I was learning the Wrong Un. Having a good look at what was going on,I deduced that the stress was being caused by bowling the Leg Break and having to bowl with the arm twisted in order to get the ball spinning. I then eased up on bowling Leg Breaks which hadn't gone at all well this season and focused on getting the Top-Spinner working,as I'd tried it in one or two of the last games I'd played in and took wickets with it. The other observation was that I could still bowl the bog-standard back-spinning Flipper and do so with some speed without causing the Deltoid issues. So, at the moment it looks like I'm going to go into nets this Winter focusing on bowling Top-Spinners and Flippers and see how that pans out. The other interesting aspect to going back to bowling the Top-Spinner is that the method by which I impart the spin is slightly different to that of my leg break. My Leg Break is bowled using the 2 up 2 down finger configuration as desrcibed by Warne and Jenner with a loose grip. Whereas, my Top-Spinner is bowled with a far more 'Fingery' technique where the ball sits in the hand a lot more higher and less in the palm, meaning the spin is put on the ball using a more finger tip approach rather than the callous inducing 3rd finger approach. But, what I have found is that I can get far more accuracy using this method and by just twisting my wrist a little either way, I can produce a decent Leg Break or Wrong Un with ease and not suffer the Deltoid issue. But, what I need to do is over the winter develop a nice flick with this technique using both the fingers and the wrist to get the revs on the ball and see how it pans out.

Positives from the season include marginally more confidence with my batting and possibly a slight improvement? The other things is that my fielding is still okay with the ability to still dive around and stop the ball with full on committment - sometimes maybe a little over the top and therefore earning the nickname "Superman" given to me by Liam Rouse who captained me a few times this year.


This winter and summer have seen the least amount of bowling ever and whereas at this time of the year I would normally still be bowling, I've done virtually nothing. I'm going to continue with this approach over November and just work on core strength and upper body strength, with some attention given to my legs as well as weak thighs cause knee issues and lower limb issues too. For the upper body stuff I'm competing with my older son Ben to do the most pull ups on a door bar and we're both at 11, but increasingly it looks as though he is going to go ahead of me at some point. He's now 14 and taller than me and triumphs that he's had so far have been...

1. He bowls better than me (Winner of the Under 15's bowler of the year).
2. He runs faster than me.
3. His batting high score is better than mine.

He's still not beat my best performance in a game though 4-27 off of 7 overs

I'm sure it wont be that long before he beats my records that were set back in 2009. I'm beginning to feel that I'll never get to bowl in the same way again, but then again, these bowling figures were set using Flippers, Top-Spinners and Wrong Uns (No Leg Breaks).

The other part of the winter plan to ensure I'm fitter will be loads of stretching and Yoga style routines for flexibility and core strength. Hopefully Joe will be ready for cricket come April when the season starts and maybe we'll all have a decent year where we produce some PB's?

Joe scars and update

This is how Joe's scars are coming along. It's a slow process, like the bones themselves, but he's slowly getting there. He's using Bio Oil and rubbing in and around the scar areas, but because the skin in this area is relatively thin over the bone it's really quite sensitive and to be honest Joe's a bit of a wuss, when it comes to these things. But all things considered I think he's doing okay. There's a marked difference in the areas where he feels he can massage the scar tissue hard and the areas where it's still tender. But as the soreness/tenderness fades he moves in and rubs/massages with more vigour. Fingers crossed with the massage he'll be able to improve the look of the scars and help to fill them in because they are still big dents in his flesh as such.

More thoughts on Drift

Here's some thoughts on Drift over at a forum I started

I don't know what it is Gundalf: perhaps something to do with the 2-piece balls Sean uses for practice. The seam is quite prominant. Maybe the ball surface has other characteristics that make it behave that way.

Dave, you'll probably get your head around it more if you consider that the Magnus effect is at its maximum when the ball is moving through the air perpendicularly to the axis of rotation.
I've recently been writing about drift and it'll be here with images and diagrams hopefully illustrating what's going on with

30th Dec 2015

Taken at one extreme (top spin) the axis of rotation is horizontal and across the pitch, so the ball is being forced down throughout its flight.

At the other extreme of pure side spin, the axis of rotation is along the pitch and the Magnus effect is not active while the ball is moving essentially parallel to that axis of rotation (ie the first "flat" portion of flight). It is only when the downward component of the flight starts to increase that the magnus effect comes into play in this case. As the vertical speed of the ball increases in the later part of the flight, the ball will start to move towards the leg side (for a RH leggie) because the ball is now moving perpendicularly to the axis of rotation more quickly.

For a 45 degree angle on the seam, there is a component of the Magnus effect working throughout the flight of the ball, but it's higher on the downward path of the delivery than the initial upward and flat path.

Because the downward path of the flight is so vital for drift on a side spinning and 45 degree spinning ball, it's imperitive that a good loopy flight is offered. Without that initial upward and subsequent flatter component to the delivery, there will be no late drift in the flight (there may be constant drift, but it won't be significant nor particularly tricky to handle).

It all comes down to the flow of air ACROSS the axis of rotation.

To get drift from a ball that will also turn off the pitch, there must be a loopy flight so that downward speed has a chance to increase during the delivery. It's the change in vertical speed that alters the drift in the air for a side-spinning delivery.


Read more:

I'm still struggling to get my head round drift, but this explanation is quite interesting. The interesting thing I picked up on was the dynamics of the drop from the trajectory and the fact that the 'Drop' aspect adds a different dimention. I've not got time at the minute to try and digest the info and make sense of it, but I may come back to it at some point later.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.