February 11, 2014

Modern injury-prevention techniques are not working

It might be time to go back to more traditional methods of preparation: long periods of batting and bowling in place of hours spent in the gym, in ice baths, and on the massage table
21

Surely someone in Cricket Australia must realise that whatever is being done to prevent Shane Watson from succumbing to soft-tissue injuries is not working?
Surely someone in Cricket Australia must realise that whatever is being done to prevent Shane Watson from succumbing to soft-tissue injuries is not working? © AFP

My two most recent pieces questioning the value of support staff within the professional cricket framework elicited much interest offline. One of the points made by an eloquent and informed sports-medicine professional was that forced rest periods could sometimes be counter-productive if the athlete in question had the sort of physical profile that benefited from constant motion. Glenn McGrath for example was a fast bowler who seemingly thrived on a steady workload that kept him chugging along, with occasional long breaks for an engine overhaul. He is the taxi where Shane Watson is the Formula 1 race car that looks good at high speed but costs a fortune in maintenance.

Watson's latest injury is indeed a mystery that must be equally frustrating to all involved: player, medical staff and management alike. After a none-too-rigorous Ashes campaign that saw England fold meekly on days three or four in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, Watson's workload was carefully managed to ensure his fragile body got enough rest to be firing on all cylinders to take on South Africa. Since January 5, when the Sydney Test resulted in an indecently hasty finish on day three, Watson has been virtually wrapped in bubble plastic, presumably as a precaution against soft-tissue injuries. His two ODI appearances were hardly taxing for a full-time professional athlete who has no other occupation except playing cricket (or getting fit enough to play). Two innings, six balls faced for 0 runs and a total of 11.4 overs with the ball, plus a bit of fielding for a maximum of seven hours. That was the sum total of his month's work at the office between January 5 and February 12.

It is hard to comprehend how an injury can flare up if he has been under such expert care in a supposedly scientifically proven medical environment. What more can the dedicated and hard-working staff do (that they are currently not doing) to keep players like Watson and Shaun Marsh from succumbing to soft-tissue injuries? I would like to be a fly on the wall when the latest injury is explained to senior management and selectors, given that the entire point of the enforced rest period was to prevent this very thing from happening. One can only presume that Watson's injury-prevention programme has been mapped out by highly qualified and intelligent people with the backing of all the latest sports-medicine data and yet he once again pulls up with an injury after almost five weeks of doing virtually nothing. It is inconceivable that this can keep happening without someone in Jolimont Street twigging that there must be a better way.

Perhaps it is just one of those inexplicable things that brook no rhyme or reason. Watson may just have one of those bodies that goes twang every time he reaches for the hairdryer. The success thus far in managing Ryan Harris' dodgy knees is proof that these people know what they are doing, although Marsh's injury record suggests that it may just be luck rather than science. It would be disingenuous to claim a victory for all the Harris-type stories and then blame it all on bad luck for the Watson/Marsh repeat episodes.

It's a global phenomenon. Abdur Razzak, a slow left-arm bowler, bowled a mere four overs on the first day of the Chittagong Test before succumbing to a hamstring strain. Unless the injury occurred as a result of impact or a desperate fielding effort gone wrong, it is extraordinary that his fitness, preparation or warm-up routine could have been so poor as to allow this to happen to a full-time professional sportsman. Sri Lanka too were missing two of their best bowlers in in Chittagong, presumably through workload-related injuries that arguably cost them another Test victory. No country is exempt from these mystery injuries, despite having in place systems and staff that are specifically charged with doing exactly the opposite.

Perhaps the answer lies in reverse logic or counter-science. If preventive injury management is not working satisfactorily, the answer may lie in going back to the McGrath model of just keeping the engine running for long periods without switching off and allowing the oil to cool and muscles to seize up. Rest and recuperation is no doubt the answer when there is a real injury but I am yet unconvinced in the worth of the current system of pre-emptive "cottonwoolling" of players when some statistical programme indicates the possibility of an injury. It clearly has not worked for Watson. He had five weeks of virtually no cricket and all the care in the world, and despite this, picked up an injury. Is it a training injury? Is it a travel injury, despite business-class travel? Or is it simply a lack of hard work doing actual "cricket stuff" like batting and bowling, as opposed to gym work, and receiving massages, treatment, ice baths and compression garments?

Managements may now be so far committed to a system that doesn't work where they refuse to concede that, despite the best intentions, the softly-softly approach is not producing results. Darren Lehmann was made to look slightly foolish (or disingenuous) when he flatly denied there was a problem with Watson only a few days ago, only to then have to concede that the injury rumours were indeed accurate. If the journalists on tour could sense that, why was it such a surprise to the staff who know each of Watson's muscles intimately?

Lehmann is the sort of chap prone to throwing away the rule book and governing by instinct, so don't be surprised if he eventually starts to disregard the boffins and returns to the old-fashioned way of preparing for Test matches: lots of miles under the belt, get your body loose by batting and bowling for long periods of time, do whatever you need to do to get fit and we'll judge you on runs and wickets, not body/fat ratios, beep tests or heart-rate monitors. It might go back to being that simple. You can almost hear him say, "Elementary, my dear Watson".

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and is a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on February 14, 2014, 1:07 GMT

    Beep tests, ice baths, heart rate monitors etc etc. Total crap. All "methods" invented by the parasites who hang off sporting teams to justify their existence. Players of the 70's & 80's would laugh at all this nonsense, and the statistics clearly show the modern players are injured more often and probably over-diagnosed too.

  • Joll on February 13, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    This is an issue I have thought about for a couple of decades. My conclusion is modern injury prevention techniques used, or modern fitness training regimes implemented, by so-called experts don't work. Batting and bowling does not require players to develop pronounced muscles. Bowlers require flexibility and suppleness. They also need to bowl. Nothing prepares a bowler better for bowling than bowling. So, let the bowler bowl and stop this nonsense about "loading" factors. Trueman or Bedser bowled thousands of overs without breaking down or going to the gym. Boyd Rankin, surrounded by experts for weeks, broke down twice within 8 overs. Enough said?

  • steve48 on February 13, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    @insult2injury, sorry, was not specifically your point I was questioning, which by the way I thought was an excellent one. Was merely pointing out how injury prone cricket is by its very nature. Actually makes your point about specific programs even more urgent, overcoming specific weaknesses rather than overdoing strength and ' conditioning '. Actually playing, supported by the remedial care the individual needs, would be my ideal!

  • on February 13, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    is it really them getting injured more often. I mean these days a small niggle is picked up and the player is rested for a game. Earlier they would continue playing until they broke a bone. Is it a case of injuries being more realised with a presence of a modern medical staff.

  • Insult_2_Injury on February 13, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    steve48, just clarifying that my comments weren't comparing tennis players to cricketers as far as on field intensity. My point is that as professional sportsmen tennis players are responsible for their own fitness regimes and therefore employ trainers to specifically address the fitness required for their sport and then the way the individual's physiology copes. In cricket terms, you would get your trainer to focus on muscles that drive your wicket keeping squats and then any personal limitations. I get mine to focus on muscles that absorb the impact on delivery, while also focusing on my lower back problems. All of us liaising with Alex Kontouris. Today's cricketers are well paid full time professionals who certainly need a centrally provided physio for game days, but their specific fitness should not be on the CA dime. We're a long way from group calisthenics on the tour ship voyage. Similarly we're past blanket quotas and rotations which don't benefit every player.

  • litchfield on February 12, 2014, 23:15 GMT

    Maybe the newer methods actually do work and keep injury-prone players in the game, wheras in the past they would have given up/been weeded out far earlier in their careers. Higher wages and contracts have also seen injury prone players more motivated to stay in the game. If a Shane Watson had emerged in the 1970s he would probably quit a age 21 due to financial pressures.

  • steve48 on February 12, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Interesting comments comparing tennis players to cricketers. However, I think that once a tennis player has warmed up he becomes involved in a far more intense sport than cricket, resulting in body heat and therefore greater elasticity in the muscles and joints than a cricketer can ever achieve on the pitch other than in T/20 to some extent. Would be interested to see actually how many soft tissue injuries occur during T/20 as an aside! My real point is that cricket training needs to be carefully tailored to the real needs of the sport, not the least of which is the reality of 3 two hour sessions per day on your feet often not doing much, then suddenly sprinting and diving, back to not very much, then try to bowl at a good pace. Surely gym training needs to supplement playing, because it can't really replicate it!

  • njr1330 on February 12, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    I was amazed to read recently, that Mark Cavendish, the cycling sprinter (25 stage wins in the Tour de France) simply gets on his bike every day, and rides as far and as fast as he can! Cavendish is hardly ever injured.

  • on February 12, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    I guess the issue is more with flexibility that we develop as children. I guess he must do more Yoga and body-weight exercises instead of trying to build those big biceps.

  • CricFan24 on February 12, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    Contd... So as with the squat eg. you have stronger muscles ( often unevenly developed compared to their opposing muscle set- hamstrings in this case) pulling on relatively weaker ligaments/tendons. Its a miracle they don't get injured more often actually.

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on February 14, 2014, 1:07 GMT

    Beep tests, ice baths, heart rate monitors etc etc. Total crap. All "methods" invented by the parasites who hang off sporting teams to justify their existence. Players of the 70's & 80's would laugh at all this nonsense, and the statistics clearly show the modern players are injured more often and probably over-diagnosed too.

  • Joll on February 13, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    This is an issue I have thought about for a couple of decades. My conclusion is modern injury prevention techniques used, or modern fitness training regimes implemented, by so-called experts don't work. Batting and bowling does not require players to develop pronounced muscles. Bowlers require flexibility and suppleness. They also need to bowl. Nothing prepares a bowler better for bowling than bowling. So, let the bowler bowl and stop this nonsense about "loading" factors. Trueman or Bedser bowled thousands of overs without breaking down or going to the gym. Boyd Rankin, surrounded by experts for weeks, broke down twice within 8 overs. Enough said?

  • steve48 on February 13, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    @insult2injury, sorry, was not specifically your point I was questioning, which by the way I thought was an excellent one. Was merely pointing out how injury prone cricket is by its very nature. Actually makes your point about specific programs even more urgent, overcoming specific weaknesses rather than overdoing strength and ' conditioning '. Actually playing, supported by the remedial care the individual needs, would be my ideal!

  • on February 13, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    is it really them getting injured more often. I mean these days a small niggle is picked up and the player is rested for a game. Earlier they would continue playing until they broke a bone. Is it a case of injuries being more realised with a presence of a modern medical staff.

  • Insult_2_Injury on February 13, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    steve48, just clarifying that my comments weren't comparing tennis players to cricketers as far as on field intensity. My point is that as professional sportsmen tennis players are responsible for their own fitness regimes and therefore employ trainers to specifically address the fitness required for their sport and then the way the individual's physiology copes. In cricket terms, you would get your trainer to focus on muscles that drive your wicket keeping squats and then any personal limitations. I get mine to focus on muscles that absorb the impact on delivery, while also focusing on my lower back problems. All of us liaising with Alex Kontouris. Today's cricketers are well paid full time professionals who certainly need a centrally provided physio for game days, but their specific fitness should not be on the CA dime. We're a long way from group calisthenics on the tour ship voyage. Similarly we're past blanket quotas and rotations which don't benefit every player.

  • litchfield on February 12, 2014, 23:15 GMT

    Maybe the newer methods actually do work and keep injury-prone players in the game, wheras in the past they would have given up/been weeded out far earlier in their careers. Higher wages and contracts have also seen injury prone players more motivated to stay in the game. If a Shane Watson had emerged in the 1970s he would probably quit a age 21 due to financial pressures.

  • steve48 on February 12, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Interesting comments comparing tennis players to cricketers. However, I think that once a tennis player has warmed up he becomes involved in a far more intense sport than cricket, resulting in body heat and therefore greater elasticity in the muscles and joints than a cricketer can ever achieve on the pitch other than in T/20 to some extent. Would be interested to see actually how many soft tissue injuries occur during T/20 as an aside! My real point is that cricket training needs to be carefully tailored to the real needs of the sport, not the least of which is the reality of 3 two hour sessions per day on your feet often not doing much, then suddenly sprinting and diving, back to not very much, then try to bowl at a good pace. Surely gym training needs to supplement playing, because it can't really replicate it!

  • njr1330 on February 12, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    I was amazed to read recently, that Mark Cavendish, the cycling sprinter (25 stage wins in the Tour de France) simply gets on his bike every day, and rides as far and as fast as he can! Cavendish is hardly ever injured.

  • on February 12, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    I guess the issue is more with flexibility that we develop as children. I guess he must do more Yoga and body-weight exercises instead of trying to build those big biceps.

  • CricFan24 on February 12, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    Contd... So as with the squat eg. you have stronger muscles ( often unevenly developed compared to their opposing muscle set- hamstrings in this case) pulling on relatively weaker ligaments/tendons. Its a miracle they don't get injured more often actually.

  • CricFan24 on February 12, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    A crucial "problem" in typical modern day gym training is the focus on "muscles". This may seem to be an odd statement to make - since "clearly" bigger and stronger muscles equate to a higher level of "fitness" . No. The muscles gain strength at a faster pace than ligaments/tendons. The ligaments/tendons take longer to strengthen. So all those beefcakes with hypertrophied muscles are putting a greater strain on relatively under-developed ligaments/tendons- resulting in the inevitable injury. Witness basic exercises such as squats being done with knee wraps. The quads become relatively overdeveloped as compared to the knee ligaments/tendons. Resulting in inevitable injury. This is OK for professional "bodlybuilders". Not for proffesional athletes and persons concerned with general fitness. If you knees cannot take the load - clearly the weight is too much. The ancient exercises forms such as some martial arts and Yoga realise this....About time the modern fitness gurus realise it too.

  • MinusZero on February 12, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    It must be something modern that is doing this. I dont remember players from the 80's and 90's have recurring injuries

  • Insult_2_Injury on February 12, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    Further to Watson. He is one of those players on the far end of the scale who balances the scale with McGrath on the other. He's recognised his physical limitations and personally employed a trainer to help him get onto the park more often, just as you'd hope from a highly paid professional athlete. The overkill comes from the team sport structure. But one size definitely doesn't fit all and there are copious examples to prove it. Tennis' Nadal is injury prone and his trainer will be treating him differently than Federer's, who is hardly ever missing. If these prevention technicians are truly professional, instead of trying to make themselves indispensable, they need to be developing individual plans from intensive to none at all, depending on the individual athletes needs, including completely stepping aside when an athlete like Watson has his needs personally designed.

  • Insult_2_Injury on February 12, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    "Watson ..one of those bodies that goes twang ...he reaches for the hairdryer." Yep, that sums it up. I remember an AFL footballer in the '70's who blew a knee 3 times before he was 24. Sadly career over...but it wasn't every player in the '70's! For the last decade all sports have been inundated with supposedly qualified injury prevention technicians who have sucked a fortune from sports by convincing admins that they have the answers to a variety of injuries. Sadly - with too many situations now - logic and history have been discarded. There's a silver lining with those protecting their positions now being sidelined for those that adhere to the case-by-case method finally being listened to. God knows how many young bowlers, etc have given up the game because they've had the enjoyment sucked out of them by bowling quotas designed for one size fits all preventative 'science'. Give them a chance to find their natural limits first, then assist for longevity.

  • Gerry54 on February 12, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    Agree with steve48 As an athletics coach and with a son who is a pace bowler I think there seems to be a few issues with modern methods. Resting an athlete is fraught with danger as the body really hates surprises and always reacts with pain especially when treated in a violent manner.Building up to full fitness is where the danger is in all sports so it seems strange to stop and start the process again. Cricket is a power sport and all skills are improved with strength and speed but recovery from soreness is the issue. Cricketers are fit but are they fitter than elite tennis players? Their rate of injury is relatively small and yet they play and train every day. Some of the sessions I have witnessed are pretty light and often very little intensity and that may be the point.They are on court every day and the body adapts to the task.The great West Indies quicks played all year round although I suspect the intensity at County level only went up when it needed to.

  • mtfb on February 12, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    Michael Jeh has got it so right. But will the powers that be take any notice? I doubt it.

  • on February 11, 2014, 22:55 GMT

    I'm with Steve 48. Since getting to a certain age, my off season routine involves far more exercise and more regularly than the actual season, only for the first two or three weeks to be an extremely painful affair. Why? Wish I knew.

  • sifter132 on February 11, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    As for the evils of the gym...I had to laugh when watching the women's cricket recently. They have no problem with talking about gym training as an avenue to improve their game. Yet mention the gym and men's cricket in the same sentence and you've got every former cricketer and armchair experts up in arms! 'You can't train like that', 'practise out in the middle is the only way' 'more time in the nets' blah blah blah...So precious!

    Finally for those that think the old days are best I would simply say that players push themselves harder these days and need better injury prevention techniques eg. ice baths etc. An example is Ian Chappell always talks about Andy Roberts' bouncer, how he used to change UP in pace. It's unfathomable in this climate. If you had a bowler holding back a bit for 4 balls, saving up for his effort ball, he'd be out of the side. 100% is expected EVERY ball of EVERY match.

  • sifter132 on February 11, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    This kind of reasoning doesn't fly with me...just be more like Glenn McGrath and less like Shane Watson? Sure coach. Too bad if you're gifted with bad joints, or hamstrings or something else. Blanket 'just bowl more' statements won't work for everyone. Isn't there such a thing as being injury prone? Watson and S.Marsh would be in the dictionary entry. If anything, Shane Watson's health has improved a LOT in the last few years. Before 2009 he could barely stay healthy at all, and any niggle at all seemed to cost him months. Now he's been playing through niggles with better management and from 2009 onwards Watto has played more games across all formats than any other Aussie. Not bad for a guy who supposedly can't stay fit and trains 'wrong'. He's never going to be a completely healthy guy and I know because he's already tried most injury prevention theories and hasn't found one that completely works yet. Watson's proof that one healthy policy won't work for everyone.

  • steve48 on February 11, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Sorry to send a second post si quickly, but want to give a personal example of my point. I keep wicket every Sunday in 40 over cricket. In the off season I do my squats, burpees, squat thrusts and footwork drills regularly, and more intensely than i ever need to in a match, and I maintain flexibility too. Yet the first few matches of every season will see me stiffening up towards the end of the innings and walking like an old man for a couple of days after! Despite doing less work during the season i eventually sail through the physical demands of the job. Does anyone else out there relate to this experience? I am guessing a few! Nothing substitutes playing such an oddly demanding but brilliant sport!

  • steve48 on February 11, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    About time someone pointed this out. My thoughts, especially on seam bowlers, is that nothing can prepare the body for 3 two hour sessions of stop, start, stand around, chase and dive like actually PLAYING! Core strength and flexibility work is good, but cricket is actually very athletically demanding, in its absence of either continuous rhythm or explosion / rest, like most other sports. On top of this, fielding demands in modern cricket have not allowed bowlers to be SPECIFICALLY fit for bowling, so unless you are a naturally lithe athlete like Steyn or Anderson, you are in trouble making the muscles, ligaments etc perform at a high level in the field, then coming back for a third spell of something as unnatural as fast bowling. There has to be some reason modern sports science is failing cricket!

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  • steve48 on February 11, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    About time someone pointed this out. My thoughts, especially on seam bowlers, is that nothing can prepare the body for 3 two hour sessions of stop, start, stand around, chase and dive like actually PLAYING! Core strength and flexibility work is good, but cricket is actually very athletically demanding, in its absence of either continuous rhythm or explosion / rest, like most other sports. On top of this, fielding demands in modern cricket have not allowed bowlers to be SPECIFICALLY fit for bowling, so unless you are a naturally lithe athlete like Steyn or Anderson, you are in trouble making the muscles, ligaments etc perform at a high level in the field, then coming back for a third spell of something as unnatural as fast bowling. There has to be some reason modern sports science is failing cricket!

  • steve48 on February 11, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Sorry to send a second post si quickly, but want to give a personal example of my point. I keep wicket every Sunday in 40 over cricket. In the off season I do my squats, burpees, squat thrusts and footwork drills regularly, and more intensely than i ever need to in a match, and I maintain flexibility too. Yet the first few matches of every season will see me stiffening up towards the end of the innings and walking like an old man for a couple of days after! Despite doing less work during the season i eventually sail through the physical demands of the job. Does anyone else out there relate to this experience? I am guessing a few! Nothing substitutes playing such an oddly demanding but brilliant sport!

  • sifter132 on February 11, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    This kind of reasoning doesn't fly with me...just be more like Glenn McGrath and less like Shane Watson? Sure coach. Too bad if you're gifted with bad joints, or hamstrings or something else. Blanket 'just bowl more' statements won't work for everyone. Isn't there such a thing as being injury prone? Watson and S.Marsh would be in the dictionary entry. If anything, Shane Watson's health has improved a LOT in the last few years. Before 2009 he could barely stay healthy at all, and any niggle at all seemed to cost him months. Now he's been playing through niggles with better management and from 2009 onwards Watto has played more games across all formats than any other Aussie. Not bad for a guy who supposedly can't stay fit and trains 'wrong'. He's never going to be a completely healthy guy and I know because he's already tried most injury prevention theories and hasn't found one that completely works yet. Watson's proof that one healthy policy won't work for everyone.

  • sifter132 on February 11, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    As for the evils of the gym...I had to laugh when watching the women's cricket recently. They have no problem with talking about gym training as an avenue to improve their game. Yet mention the gym and men's cricket in the same sentence and you've got every former cricketer and armchair experts up in arms! 'You can't train like that', 'practise out in the middle is the only way' 'more time in the nets' blah blah blah...So precious!

    Finally for those that think the old days are best I would simply say that players push themselves harder these days and need better injury prevention techniques eg. ice baths etc. An example is Ian Chappell always talks about Andy Roberts' bouncer, how he used to change UP in pace. It's unfathomable in this climate. If you had a bowler holding back a bit for 4 balls, saving up for his effort ball, he'd be out of the side. 100% is expected EVERY ball of EVERY match.

  • on February 11, 2014, 22:55 GMT

    I'm with Steve 48. Since getting to a certain age, my off season routine involves far more exercise and more regularly than the actual season, only for the first two or three weeks to be an extremely painful affair. Why? Wish I knew.

  • mtfb on February 12, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    Michael Jeh has got it so right. But will the powers that be take any notice? I doubt it.

  • Gerry54 on February 12, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    Agree with steve48 As an athletics coach and with a son who is a pace bowler I think there seems to be a few issues with modern methods. Resting an athlete is fraught with danger as the body really hates surprises and always reacts with pain especially when treated in a violent manner.Building up to full fitness is where the danger is in all sports so it seems strange to stop and start the process again. Cricket is a power sport and all skills are improved with strength and speed but recovery from soreness is the issue. Cricketers are fit but are they fitter than elite tennis players? Their rate of injury is relatively small and yet they play and train every day. Some of the sessions I have witnessed are pretty light and often very little intensity and that may be the point.They are on court every day and the body adapts to the task.The great West Indies quicks played all year round although I suspect the intensity at County level only went up when it needed to.

  • Insult_2_Injury on February 12, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    "Watson ..one of those bodies that goes twang ...he reaches for the hairdryer." Yep, that sums it up. I remember an AFL footballer in the '70's who blew a knee 3 times before he was 24. Sadly career over...but it wasn't every player in the '70's! For the last decade all sports have been inundated with supposedly qualified injury prevention technicians who have sucked a fortune from sports by convincing admins that they have the answers to a variety of injuries. Sadly - with too many situations now - logic and history have been discarded. There's a silver lining with those protecting their positions now being sidelined for those that adhere to the case-by-case method finally being listened to. God knows how many young bowlers, etc have given up the game because they've had the enjoyment sucked out of them by bowling quotas designed for one size fits all preventative 'science'. Give them a chance to find their natural limits first, then assist for longevity.

  • Insult_2_Injury on February 12, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    Further to Watson. He is one of those players on the far end of the scale who balances the scale with McGrath on the other. He's recognised his physical limitations and personally employed a trainer to help him get onto the park more often, just as you'd hope from a highly paid professional athlete. The overkill comes from the team sport structure. But one size definitely doesn't fit all and there are copious examples to prove it. Tennis' Nadal is injury prone and his trainer will be treating him differently than Federer's, who is hardly ever missing. If these prevention technicians are truly professional, instead of trying to make themselves indispensable, they need to be developing individual plans from intensive to none at all, depending on the individual athletes needs, including completely stepping aside when an athlete like Watson has his needs personally designed.

  • MinusZero on February 12, 2014, 2:57 GMT

    It must be something modern that is doing this. I dont remember players from the 80's and 90's have recurring injuries