Daz and Jamie putting the players through their paces

This week has seen the Somerset squad return to the Cooper Associates County Ground for pre-season training.

Head of Strength & Conditioning Darren Veness and Lead physiotherapist Jamie Thorpe have spent the last few days testing and assessing the returning players and both have been pleased with what they’ve seen.

Jamie Thorpe: “All of our players are returning now and this week is all about finding out where they are from a physical and injury point of view.  Some of the players have been abroad for the winter and we want to make sure that they’ve come back in good physical condition and aren’t carrying any injuries going in to the season.  We break the week in to different elements and look at their range of movement, muscle capacity, physical performance markers, neuro-muscular control such as player’s movement patterns and we also look at strength.  We can then use these tests to see whether the players are where they need to be or whether they have improved over the winter.  What is really pleasing for us is that the players who have been around all winter have shown significant improvements in strength, endurance, jump heights and running speeds whilst there have also been some really good results from the players that have been away as well.”

Darren Veness: “The results from the players that have been away is a big positive for us because it shows that they’ve been doing what they’ve been telling us they’ve been doing!  You try to tie in the guys that are away as much as you can with what we’ve been doing here this winter but you have to factor in that they are over there actually playing and balance things accordingly. 

“With regards to Strength & Conditioning we’ve added a few elements to the testing.  We still have the long established tests like our high speed work, our run-two’s, our jumping qualities along with the repeat sprint ability tests like the yo-yo which is a big favourite!  Working in conjunction with the coaches we’ve now also brought in some extra tests alongside these which we believe will be of major benefit.

“This is Jamie’s fourth season and my 21st but we’re both looking at it from the same perspective.  You can never rest on your laurels because you’ve always got a different group of players.  The whole group dynamic is always evolving.  You can never be complacent because things are evolving all the time at an outrageous pace.  The information that we have available to us now means that we can plan and predict so much more.  You obviously can’t predict what will happen once they’re out on the park but our priority is to ensure that they are in the best possible position to be the best athlete that they can be once they cross that white line.  After that, it’s up to them to play the game.”

JT: “Science and medicine evolves so much year on year as well.  More research is undertaken and written all the time and from our point of view we’re always looking to work out how we can practically apply the most current research in to our practice at Somerset County Cricket Club.  It has to be relevant and realistic though.  There’s no point trying to do things that are beyond our resources but we’re always trying to look at and improve on what’s out there.  This year has been no exception and we are looking at lots of new evidence around vitamin D testing for example.  The Club Doctor is also doing more around blood screenings and cardiac screenings.  Things have evolved so much even in the last five years and we just have to make sure that we keep up with what’s happening.  That means it’s almost impossible to become complacent.”

DV: “Somerset County Cricket Club has always been seen as a team that punches above our weight.  We’ve got limited resources but we see no reason why we can’t utilise and explore our resources to the fullest.  Some of the stuff that we’ve done this winter with the squad has been pretty transformational with regard to actual output from a physical perspective and we are confident that this will transfer out on to the park.

“We would both just like to thank the whole squad for their efforts over the winter, whether they were here or abroad.  What we’ve seen so far this week is that their level of engagement and commitment is higher now than it’s ever been.”