Essex staff attend innovative Science and Medicine Conference


The ECB, the first-class counties and other key cricketing organisations including the new Kia Super League teams reaffirmed the game’s commitment to stay at the cutting edge of science and medicine at a two-day conference in Berkshire last week.

In an annual gathering that has become well-established over the last decade, the ECB have invited practitioners from around the game to convene and discuss best practice – this year including topics as varied as throwing and fast bowling to coping with bereavement and the importance of sleep.

Essex coaching staff in attendance included Physiotherapist Chris Clarke-Irons, Psychologist William Winstone and Strength and Conditioning coach Connor Browne.

“It’s as much about what the counties can learn from each other as from us, and we were delighted by the quality of presentations we received from counties this year,” said Raph Brandon, the ECB’s Head of Science and Medicine.

“We’ve honed in on the engine room of science and medicine in cricket. The game has every right to be proud of its record in innovation, and that is something we are determined to continue.

“At the end of a demanding summer it’s a big ask for people to commit to these two days, but we are convinced it’s a worthwhile exercise, and delivers benefits to counties, our England national teams and also this year the Kia Super League teams who were represented.”

Under three broad headings of development, innovation and monitoring and profiling, a total of around 100 delegates – who included doctors, psychologists, physios, strength and conditioning coaches, performance analysts, player development and welfare coaches, and nutritionists – were given the opportunity to pick and mix from a range of topics.

These included presentations on throwing performance and injury from Steve McCaig, one of the ECB’s physiotherapists who has also been working with several counties on a project relating to chronic pain.

Roy Barber, one of the ECB’s strength and conditioning specialists, shared his work on the physical characteristics of fast bowlers; Phil Scott, the England S&C coach, tackled power hitting; and Alex Tysoe, Surrey’s head physiotherapist who worked with the England Lions last winter, also addressed fast bowling, specifically the monitoring of the workload involved.

Nick Peirce, the ECB’s chief medical officer, provided an update on the Concussion and Helmet Review, and David Young, the ECB Lead for Performance Psychology, discussed a novel approach for helping players perform under pressure.

The Conference was launched by a presentation from Cheri D. Mah of the University of California’s Human Performance Center, addressing sleep as “The missing link in optimal performance”, drawing on the experiences of the Golden State Warriors guard Andre Igoudala, and the Olympic champion swimmer Erik Vendt.