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Work hard at your sport

Yesterday Jimmy Anderson broke Glenn McGrath’s wicket record to become the most successful fast bowler in world cricket. His 564th test wicket sealed both the innings and the match with the series against India already won. Growing up I played a lot of cricket. It’s something that I haven’t passed on though as my children have gone down different paths with their sport which in itself I think is healthy. Last night however we got talking about the art and biomechanics of bowling and just what an unusual action it is. To achieve what Anderson has done is nothing short of remarkable. I was a poor man’s left arm spin bowler and I batted a bit but as a bowler my body never saw the wear and tear that a fast bowler would generate. Even at the level I played, fast bowlers were always complaining about aches and pains and ultimately breaking down. So the point of this post is as always movement based but very much aimed at the aspiring young athletes amongst the audience. Take a leaf out of Jimmy’s book regardless of where you are with your sporting passions. As adults I would also encourage you to do the same. It is always possible to teach the body new things. Looking after your body and having it fit for purpose is half the battle. The other half is to practice. Not play. Practice. What do I mean? Anderson has always had other weapons in his armoury for when the ball doesn't swing. I think that sets him apart. A lot of bowlers I played with and have also watched in the professional game don’t have that. If it doesn’t swing then they are not a threat. Anderson has developed his game so completely that he's always a threat, swing or no swing. He's very dangerous in all conditions. How has he done this? Practice, experimenting in the nets and not being afraid to fail. It doesn’t matter what your sport is. Practice your craft. Skills make players. Anderson has a wobble seam delivery that he has developed which sees him able to move the ball either way. The way he disguises the ball in run up is also very clever. He stops the batsman from knowing which way the ball is going to swing by running in with the ball in his left hand and transferring it to his right, while hiding it from the batter at the other end. As a batsman, you have absolutely no let-up at all from Anderson. He really is so clever and all he has achieved really is the result of hours and hours of hard work. I think he is 36 now but listening to him you know he is still looking for new things to develop. So whatever your sport, develop your skills and look after and develop your body so that it is happy to give back to you and doesn’t spend its time complaining. If you have aches and pains your body is trying to talk to you. Drugs aren’t the solution to that. Making changes are. #LookAfterYourBody

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