The relationship between shoulder complex strength and throwing velocity in club cricketers
November, Rucia Vern-Clare
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Over the years, cricket has progressed into a game of immense physical prowess, and evolved from a traditional and conservative game into a professional sport requiring very high levels of fitness and skill. The ability to throw a ball at high velocity and with great accuracy is critical for successful performance in many ball sports, including cricket. The aim of this study focussed on examining the relationship between isokinetic strength of the shoulder complex and throwing velocity amongst club cricketers in the age group of 18-32 years. The study used a quantitative methodology with a cross-sectional research design. A convenient sample of 40 male cricketers from the University of the Western Cape was tested. Isokinetic strength of external rotators (ER), internal rotators (IR) and ratios were measured using the Biodex Pro System 4 isokinetic dynamometer at two speeds, namely, 60º•sec-¹ and 90º•sec-¹. Throwing velocity was measured using a calibrated Cordless Speed/Radar Gun. The major findings of this study were the significant correlations between IR at 60º•sec-¹ and throwing velocity for the first team (r = 0.72; p = 0.01), second team (r = 0.67; p = 0.03), third team (r = 0.73; p = 0.01) and fourth team (r = 0.69; p = 0.02). The correlation between the strength ratio at 60º•sec-¹ and throwing velocity was significant for the first team (r = 0.76; p = 0.01), second team (r = 0.83; p = 0.002), third team (r = 0.70; p = 0.02) and fourth team (r = 0.94; p = 0.0001). In conclusion, shoulder strength plays a significant role in the throwing velocity amongst club cricketers. Specifically, the shoulder internal rotators were found to be a major influence in throwing velocity. Furthermore, the shoulder strength ratio is a strong predictor of shoulder strength performance.