There is much more to hitting a cricket ball than just swinging the bat, in fact- far from it! Batting is a whole body activity- from moving to hit the ball using the legs to- swinging of the bat and arms.
As you lift the bat behind first to generate force and then bring it forward to hit the ball, a lot of muscles are at play. Posterior deltoids, pectorals, anterior deltoid, biceps and triceps are some of the muscles that work at optimum to provide a smooth forceful swing. Also to be noted is that different types of strokes recruit different muscles. The transfer of body weight to every shot is important. Transfer of body weight occurs either onto the forefoot or onto the back foot to allow rotation of the body for horizontal straight shots. The spine and core muscles have to be able to control this rotation to avoid knee, foot and shoulder injuries.
Some key pointers for batters to improve your game and reduce the number of injuries are as follows:
1) Use compound movements: Train your body with compound movements instead of single muscle isolated strength training. Training with compound movements will help you to maintain stability while you bat and yet give you the mobility that you need.
2) To progress with training or not: This is a dilemma that has no clear cut answer. Your body will give you the inputs but you will have to pay attention and heed. Gradual progression with enough recovery is ideal.
3) Frequency of training: This depends on the intensity of your training but ideally 3 days a week with enough recovery days built in are recommended.
4) Know your body: To know your strengths and weaknesses in terms of muscle strength, mobility and stability are essential to coach and train the right way.
Follow these guidelines to train well by understanding your body and bat away! Prevent injuries by paying attention to the muscles at play but if injured, don’t despair. See a sports physiotherapist who understands the biomechanics of cricket to get you back to playing as soon as possible.