Fast bowling like throwing a javelin, but 100 times a day

BY Ben Langley, Physiotherapist

Fast bowling brings the highest risk of injury in cricket and helping a bowler to be physically and mentally capable of repeatedly delivering pace, skill and precision requires a balance of coaching, conditioning and medical expertise.

Over the past decade the act of bowling fast has been a factor in at least 50 per cent of “time-loss” injuries (where matches or training are missed) in the domestic game. While cricket does not suffer from the wider injury toll of contact sports, fast bowling owns a set of common and unique injuries that make it the focus of science and medical teams around the world.

Stress fractures of the lumbar spine, side strains and posterior ankle injuries are issues that often can sideline a player for months and there is no quick way to come back from them. You cannot cheat time when allowing stress fractures to heal and harden before resuming one of the most brutal movements in sport.

Searching for extreme pace puts huge levels of stress through the body. Forces of up to nine times a player’s bodyweight are observed when the front foot hits the crease and sends an impact back through the body. As well as the impact, bowling is an unnatural movement, especially with the overlay of high force. That is why lumbar stress fractures and side strains are relatively common.

Javelin throwers use the same catapult-style action, putting similar strains on the body, but they do not have to produce more than a hundred competitive throws in a day. Serving in tennis is a similar action but is performed from a stable base, without the 12mph run-up and with far lower levels of impact going through the body as the server lands.

In the domestic game bowlers can be involved in matches on about 100 days of the six-month season. That’s several hundred overs and thousands of repetitions in which the body is exposed to immense stress — and that’s without considering the preparation, training and bowling in nets.

Regular practice is important for bowlers to hone their skill and rhythm but it can mean more injuries if not monitored and managed well. So science and medicine not only face the challenge of keeping fast bowlers “on the park” but managing the inevitable injuries that will come when a player bowls often and at great pace.

• Ben Langley is the men’s medical services lead at the ECB

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JenJavelin Festival Coaching Special 2018!

Set your javelin throw meet calendar ready for 2018! The LC Jena Javelin Camp & Competition is open for all levels and age groups starting from 14 to seniors!! A great week of learning, watching and exchange!  An experience you’ll never forget!

JenJavelin Festival Coaching Special 2018
In 2018 we do have a special international training week from June 25th to July 1st in Jena (GER) with an included entry at the Jena Javelin Festival on June 30th for all athletes attending the camp. At that time we will have many international top athletes, coaches and aspiring athletes and teams in Jena to enjoy a week of javelin expertise coaching, learning and talking. For sure our coaches around Petra Felke, Harro Schwuchow and Thomas Röhler take care of all athletes from around the world.
The whole package including accommodation for 6 nights (incl. breakfast) in one of our partner hotels in single or double room, coaching and lunch option at our sports centre and facility/club.  Accompanying persons and coaches just pay their separate accommodation, so no additional costs.


Contact E-mail address: 

All Info on soon


Shorter or longer stays (for example arriving at 24th already like some do) before the Jena Javelin Festival can be reserved up on request.

Concerning the kids we’ll have a mixed session competition or separate – need to see the number of registrations but from now it looks good!! JenJavelin will also launch their official website, so updates coming in soon and steady (Official website launch is on Jan 20-21 weekend).


Petra Felke

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Today we kick off another 2018 series, ‘Story behind the picture’, in which athletes and others in the sport share the story behind an iconic photograph.

We begin with this image of Johannes Vetter as he celebrates his success moments after winning men’s javelin gold at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

“Of course, I was happy to celebrate my first world title but this outpouring of emotion in this image was a mixture of relief and satisfaction due to several factors.

“In the countdown to the event I was in the best form of my life. I am very fortunate to be coached by Boris Obergföll, who has guided me so well for the past three years, and In the middle of the season I made an adjustment to my javelin footwear, which I felt contributed to big improvements in my technique. In Lucerne, I hurled the javelin out to a massive new personal best of 94.44m (to climb to number two on the all-time lists) and this gave me real confidence and belief. I felt technically I was in rock solid shape going into London.

“Another side to my improved form was a heightened sense of expectations. Germany went into the men’s javelin final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships sitting 1-2-3 in the world lists (along with Thomas Rohler and Andreas Hofmann). We faced a lot of media pressure plus a lot of expectation from our national federation.

“Fortunately, I managed to handle this pressure. I did very well in qualification to be ranked number one with 91.20m and then to edge a close final (only 1.63m separated the first four) with a best of 89.89m from round one was part of the relief I felt in the picture.

“Another element to my story is I picked up an injury about a week or so before the London World Championships. It was a spinal disc injury, which was causing pain and stiffness in my right shoulder. I was very concerned but I have a very good medical team around me. My osteopath treated me for three full days and on the Monday morning – three days before qualification – I knew I’d be fit to compete and go for gold.

“I also had another serious personal matter in the background as my mother, Kerstin, underwent an operation on a brain tumour about a week before the World Championships. She was really ill and this was a really difficult situation for me personally, however, I used this as additional motivation to perform well in London.

“After the competition, I phoned my mum who said she was so happy and also feeling well. This was a huge moment for me and was part of the reason I was so elated to win the gold medal in London.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF

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Does Javelin Throw history ever repats? The DL Calendar is out and many throwers may have a ‘Deja Vu’ about the first two events.  2017 could be the best season for throwers (in the 21st century) when it comes to battles and results.  Who can forget Thomas Röhler almost nailing down the camera man at 95m!

The world best men throwers will return to Doha for the 2018 DL season opening on 4th of May, while the ladies start in Shanghai on 12th of May.

Official Diamond League 2018 Calendar site

Diamond League viewing figures soar

More people than ever before tuned in last summer to watch the world’s top athletes compete for the Diamond Trophy, as 2017 saw increased viewing figures across the world for the IAAF Diamond League.

In the inaugural year of its new championship format, the IAAF Diamond League saw hundreds of thousands more fans tune in to watch live coverage and highlights of the Road To The Final.

With the addition of Venezuela and South Korea in 2017, the series is now broadcast in 162 countries across the globe, spanning all six continents.

Global increase
2017 saw a total of 282 million viewers across the 14 meetings, an increase of around 60 million on the previous year.

Many of those were watching in China, where 23 million more viewers tune in compared to 2016. In Europe and the USA there was an also an increase, with nine million more Americans watching Diamond League coverage, and higher viewing figures in Finland, Germany and Spain.

Morocco, which became the first African country to host a Diamond League meeting when Rabat was added to the series in 2016, also enjoyed boosted viewing figures, with 41 million Moroccans tuning in across the series.

The highest viewing figures for a single meeting was around 27 million, while several other meetings reached 15 to 20 million viewers. Some meetings doubled or even tripled their viewership in comparison to 2016.

As well as live broadcasts and highlights packages, many fans were able to catch the Diamond League in news coverage from the likes of Reuters and SNTV, not to mention the array of clips on the IAAF Diamond League Youtube channel.

More about DL review ….

There is a good javelin throw analyses about Röhler’s throw.  A learning experience for all throwers and coaches.

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Javelin Throw UK Training camp with Thomas Röhler and coach Harro Schwuchow

Loughborough, UK / December 1-2, 2017.

The first Master Class weekend in Loughborough was held on 2nd and 3rd December 2017 . The Star guest for the very first event was the 2016 RIO Olympic Champion Thomas Röhler and his coach Harro Schwuchow.

Message from Thomas Röhler: “be an individual, have your own philosophy, learn from everyone, don’t be afraid to loose as every opportunity is a learning opportunity, take risks. Be respectful to everyone.”

Over the last 3 winters the organisers worked hard to establish a culture for the event in the UK which provides a platform from which they can grow. Loughborough University committed to providing the best information for young athletes and their coaches and also want to inspire a generation of young throwers by giving them access to their idols.It was a great weekend for youth throwers in Loughborough, learn from Thomas and Harro and be inspired to go on and be the best that they can be in the same way that many who have attended these weekends in the last 3 years have done.

Elliot Odunaiya receiving guidance from Thomas Röhler Olympic and World Champion

The group. Awesome weekend thanks to @thomasroehler — with Emma Hamplett, Joe Harris, Daniel Bainbridge, Hannah Johnson, Thomas rohler, Niamh Bailey, Annabel Peach and Tom Norton at Loughborough University.

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