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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 94-98

The effect of 'Ballistic Six' plyometric training on performance of medium pace Asian Indian cricket bowlers

Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India

Date of Web Publication9-Oct-2014

Correspondence Address:
Amrinder Singh
Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.142353

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Introduction: Cricket is one of the world's major team sports in terms of regular international games. Bowling action is a highly skilled activity acquired over years of fine tuning. The presence of an imbalance between the agonist and antagonist groups is one of the major risk factors for developing shoulder injuries in bowlers. Upper extremities account 25% and 22% of injuries in schoolboys and provisional cricket bowlers, respectively. "Ballistic six" plyometric training prevented shoulder injuries due to overhead throwing and improve its velocity in baseball pitcher. Purpose of study: The purpose of this study was to find out the effect of 8 weeks "Ballistic six" plyometric training on bowling velocity in medium pace cricket bowlers. National level medium pace cricket bowlers were given 8 weeks Ballistic Six plyometric training program. Average of 3 bowling velocities was taken using Bushnell (50 Hz) Doppler Radar Gun pre- and post-training program and compared. Results: The increase in bowling velocities following the 8 weeks training protocol was statistically significant (P < 0.05) when compared to the pre-training velocities. Conclusion: It is concluded that Ballistic Six plyometric training increases the bowling velocity in medium pace cricket bowlers hence improves their performance.

  Abstract in Arabic 

تدريب البالستية 6 (Ballistic 6على الوثب العمودي لمسافة متوسطة و أثره على لاعبي الكريكيت الهنود.
مقدمة: تعدّ الكريكيت من الألعاب الرياضية الكبرى في العالم ، خاصة في مستوى المنافسات الدولية . و يعدّ الرمي في هذه اللعبة من النشاطات التي تحتاج إلى مهارات عالية تكتسب على مدى سنوات. ويعدّ عدم التوازن بين فرق الكريكيت واحدا منعوامل الخطر في إصابات الكتف عند الرّماة ، و تمثّل إصابات الأطراف العلوية نسبة 25% بين تلاميذ المدارس ، و 22% بين الرماة المحترفين. ومن المعروف أن وتدريب البالستية 6 (Ballistic 6) على الوثب الوثب العمودي يمنع إصابات الكتف و يساعد على تحسين سرعة الرمي لدي اللاعبين..
هدف الدراسة: كان الهدف من هذه الدراسة معرفة أثر تدريب ( (Ballistic6على الوثب العمودي لمسافة متوسطة في تحسين سرغة الرمي لدى لاعبي الكريكيت.
المواد ومنهج البحث : وقد خضع اللاعبون لبرنامج تدريب استمر لمدة ثمانية أسابيع ، و قد كان المتوسط ثلاث سرعات باستخدام نظام (Bushnel) 50Hz و نظام Doppler Radar Gun قبل التدريب و بعده وتمت المقرنة بينهما.
النتائج: كان هناك زيادة في سرعة الرمي بعد ثمانية أسابع من التدريب لها دلالة إحصائية 0.05 P عند مقارنتها مع سرعات ما بعد التدريب.
الاستنتاج:يستنتج من ذلك أن تدريب البالستية 6 ( Ballistic6) يزيد من سرعة الرمي عند لاعبي الكريكيت على وتيرة متوسطة وبالتالي يحسّن من أدائهم.

Keywords: Ballistic Six plyometric training, medium pace cricket bowlers, rotator cuff

How to cite this article:
Singh A, Gopal AR, Sandhu JS. The effect of 'Ballistic Six' plyometric training on performance of medium pace Asian Indian cricket bowlers. Saudi J Sports Med 2014;14:94-8

How to cite this URL:
Singh A, Gopal AR, Sandhu JS. The effect of 'Ballistic Six' plyometric training on performance of medium pace Asian Indian cricket bowlers. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Dec 4];14:94-8. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2014/14/2/94/142353

  Introduction Top

Cricket is one of the world's major team sports in terms of regular international games. It is a bat-and-ball sport similar to the game of baseball, generally played outdoors on natural grass fields. Bowling action is explosive in nature; whereby a large amount of force must be generated over a very short period of time. Orchard et al. [1] discussed that fast bowlers have consistently been identified as the category of cricket players at the greatest risk of injury. Bowling action is a highly skilled activity, which is acquired over years of fine tuning. Equally from a neuro-muscular perspective, the bowling action is a complex activity and optimal performance is a result of highly tuned inter-muscular and intra-muscular coordination, which is governed by the central nervous system. It has been shown by Karppinen 2] that recently modern training techniques and in particularly strength training, has been perceived to be a major contributing factor to the recent injuries sustained at a national level.

During bowling in cricket, the internal rotators of the shoulder are involved in the acceleration phase of the arm through concentric contractions, whereas the external rotators are involved during the deceleration phase. During the bowling action's acceleration phase, the external rotators are contracted eccentrically in order to decelerate and control arm and any external shoulder rotation weakness could contribute to impingement syndrome. The presence of an imbalance between the agonist and antagonist groups is one of the major risk factors for developing shoulder injuries such as dislocation and impingement, with a deficiency in the external rotator strength possibly resulting in an injury. In addition to the technical skills required to perform, cricketers also need to possess a high level of fitness, thus making them susceptible to overuse injuries as a result of repetitive training. The upper extremities account for 25% and 22% of injuries in schoolboy and provincial cricket players, respectively. Further, during a match many bowlers are placed to field, thus having a tendency to develop "thrower's arm" and other injuries. Aginsky et al. [3] also concluded that bowlers with a front-on bowling action are more susceptible to injuries of the shoulder as compared to side-on action.

Shoulder problems, for example, rotator cuff strains and impingement, are common in bowlers. Because a lot of bowling speed is generated by the trunk, shoulder injuries are much more commonly caused by throwing the ball while fielding in cricket bowlers as discussed by Fu et al.[4]

In a retrospective study, the total number of injuries in cricket were 165, out of which 24% were shoulder injuries (N = 40). Of these, 72.5% (N = 29) were injuries of the dominant arm, while 11 were injuries of the non-dominant arm. The bowlers and all-rounders collectively experienced the most shoulder injuries (80%). However, it is interesting that half (N = 20) of all shoulder injuries occurred in the field (diving and throwing), compared with only 6 (15%) while bowling as discussed by Bell-Jenje and Gray. [5]

It has been shown by Karppinen [2] that the basic principles of plyometrics state that the stretch shortening cycle, when applied properly, will facilitate maximum power output in a minimal amount of time. "Ballistic Six" plyometric training is given to improve the effectiveness of throwing activity in baseball players, strengthen the rotator cuff muscles to prevent the shoulder injury due to overhead throwing activity. "Ballistic Six" plyometric training includes six upper extremity plyometric exercises formed with quick, powerful movements required for activating the stretch shortening cycle. It consists of three phases, Eccentric phase: Consisting rapid eccentric contraction that evokes a stretch reflex resulting in more powerful concentric contraction in the opposite direction. Amortization phase: Is the amount of time between the eccentric contraction and the initiation of a concentric force. Stretch-shortening cycle relies heavily on the rate of stretch rather than the length of the stretch. Concentric phase: Is the final phase wherein the athlete concentrates on the effect of exercise and prepares for initiation of the second repetition. It enhances concentric contraction as shown by Pretz. [6]

Various studies by Carter et al., [7] Gelen et al. [8] and Pretz et al. [9] have shown that "Ballistic Six" plyometric training increases strength and decreases the risk of shoulder injuries in addition to increasing the throwing velocities in baseball pitchers and increasing tennis serve ball speed performance.

The Ballistic Six plyometric strength training program is a sport-specific strength training program and was developed specifically to mimic baseball throwing activities that utilize ballistic movements. Due to paucity of literature regarding studies in Asian subcontinent for effectiveness of plyometric training on medium pace cricket bowlers, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Ballistic Six plyometric training on bowling velocity of medium pace cricket bowlers.

  Materials and methods Top


The study was experimental design study. 30 national level medium pace cricket bowlers with age group (19.70 ± 2.14) years, height (172.12 ± 8.79) cm and weight (61.44 ± 8.15) kg were randomly selected. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. All participants signed an informed consent form according to the university ethical committee guidelines. All subjects were assessed in accordance with the BokSmart's pre-participation Shoulder Assessment Form. 27 subjects were selected for the 8 weeks plyometric program excluding the rest 3 subjects, due to positive Neer Impingement and Hawkin Impingement special tests in 2 subjects and a positive anterior drawer stability test at 45° in 1 subject. Selected subjects were already training for 5.93 ± 0.38 days/week, session duration 3.48 ± 0.75 h and bowling speed 116.25 ± 4.16 km/h. Participants would have also been excluded from the study if they (a) had undergone shoulder or elbow surgery during the past year, (b) had experienced a shoulder or elbow injury during the past year. The procedure, benefits and potential risks of the study were explained to the players before signing the informed consent form and starting the 8 weeks Ballistic Six plyometric training program.


The participants were put through a 5 min warm-up session. This brief warm-up comprised of 1½ min jogging, 2 min of stretching of the kinematic chain which included generalized stretches of the lower and upper limbs and lower back region and 1½ min of bowling practice.

They were then asked to bowl on 20.12 m pitch in the action cricket nets as fast as possible [Figure 1]. The participants were required to bowl 3 times and the bowling speeds were measured using the Bushnell Radar Gun, USA (50 Hz). An average of 3 measurements was recorded.
Figure 1: Cricket pitch with Radar Gun placement

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Then, Ballistic Six plyometric training, done 2 days a week for 8 weeks, was given to the bowlers for rotator cuff muscles of their dominant shoulders. Exercises were performed using 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions, with 30 s of rest between each set. The progression of the training protocol is shown in [Table 1]. The equipment utilized in the Ballistic Six exercises included Thera-Band (The Hygenic Corporation, USA) latex tubing (red) and medicine balls (2-lb for single arm exercises and 6-lb for the 2-handed exercises). Subjects continued their strength and conditioning activities in off-season along with the Ballistic Six exercises. Following 8 weeks of training, post-readings for the bowling velocity, identical to that described in the pretesting protocol, were obtained and documented.
Table 1: Ballistic Six training progression

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Training protocol included:

  • Latex tubing external rotation of shoulder
  • Latex tubing 90/90 external rotation of shoulder
  • Overhead soccer throw with 6-lb medicine ball
  • 90/90 external rotation side throw using 2-lb medicine ball
  • Deceleration Baseball throw using a 2-lb medicine ball
  • Baseball throw using a 2-lb medicine ball.

Statistical analysis

Statistical analysis was conducted using version 16.0; SPSS software, IBM.

  Results Top

Bowling velocity

Statistical analysis using paired t-test revealed a statistically significant difference between pre- to post-training bowling velocities (F(1,27) =8.25, P < 0.05). The plyometric trained bowlers experienced a 2.64 km/h increase in velocity [Table 2] and [Figure 2].
Table 2: Comparison between pre and post 8 weeks Ballistic Six plyometric training program bowling velocities (km/h)

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Figure 2: Comparison between pre and post 8 weeks Ballistic Six plyometric training program mean bowling velocities (km/h). It shows an increase in bowling velocities following the 8 weeks Ballistic Six plyometric program

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  Discussion Top

Results of this study revealed that following an 8-weeks program of high volume upper extremity plyometric training, subjects have shown a significant improvement in medium pace bowling velocities. All the subjects in the present study were highly trained athletes to be given the plyometric training program which contributed to the significant increases in bowling velocity seen after the training protocol.

The Ballistic Six upper extremity plyometric training program involves a series of functional exercises performed at high volumes to simulate the movements, positions and forces involved with the overhead throwing motion. In order to take advantage of the stretch reflex, plyometric training was conducted in a ballistic, high-velocity manner to decrease the amortization phase of the stretch shortening cycle.

Ballistic Six incorporates several strength and conditioning principles viz., specificity, overload and progression of training as shown by Carter et al.[7] Pyne et al. [10] have discussed that it involves high-intensity plyometric exercises that closely simulate the overhead throwing motion. According to the overload principle, athletes who perform the Ballistic Six program experience both power and endurance muscular adaptations. The Ballistic Six program is comprised of a group of plyometric exercises performed in an interval fashion with appropriate rest periods in between sets to tax both the anaerobic and aerobic capabilities of the shoulder as earlier discussed by Pretz et al.[9]

Holcombe et al. [11] discussed that the plyometric training and the use of the stretch shortening cycle enhances the ability of the neural and musculotendinous system to produce maximal force in the shortest time, therefore bridging the gap between speed and strength.

In a study of 16 rugby league players, it was reported that high resistance exercises increased power output by 4.5%. [10] Furthermore, Gelen et al. [8] inferred that acute high volume upper extremity Ballistic Six plyometric activities increased tennis serve ball speed performance by 3.33 ± 1.4% (P = 0.001).

The result of the present study following the same protocol revealed an increase in the bowling velocity by 2.64 km/h medium pace cricket bowlers, which is suggestive of an increase in strength of rotator cuff muscles. The rationale is supported by the results of a study by Carter et al. [7] wherein the mean peak torques of the eccentric and concentric shoulder external rotators after the plyometric program were measured at different speeds. Eccentric peak torques measured at slower speed (180°/s) and faster speed (300°/s) were increased by 8% and 9% respectively while the concentric peak torques were increased by 13% and 10% respectively.

Swanik et al. [12] stated that the improved time to peak torque is likely the result of adaptations in the elastic properties of the muscle, which contributes to the muscles' ability to utilize stored energy more efficiently. [13] The authors also suggested that perhaps their subjects underwent neural component adaptations, thus contributing to increasing motor unit recruitment and increased power. Plyometric training also resulted in significant improvements in both proprioception and kinesthesia due to peripheral and central neural adaptations induced by plyometric training. Plyometric exercises promote endurance adaptations in the shoulder rotator cuff musculature, which is critical for re-establishing functional stability.

The present study revealed that upper extremity plyometric training had a positive effect on bowling velocity which may be the result of improved proprioception, kinesthesia and endurance of rotator cuff muscles, in addition to increased strength and power as an effect of Ballistic Six plyometric training.

  Conclusion Top

Ballistic Six plyometric training has been shown to be an effective way to increase the bowling velocity and performance in the cricket bowlers. As these exercises are performed ballistically and also closely simulate the overhead throwing motion, therefore, can be used to increase strength, power, proprioception, kinesthesia and endurance of rotator cuff muscles and decrease the risk of shoulder injuries in medium pace cricket bowlers.

  Practical application Top

The use of Ballistic Six plyometric training program can be incorporated into the regular exercise schedule of the medium pace cricket bowlers to help improve their performance.

  Acknowledgment Top

The authors would like to thank all the subjects for their participation and commitment to the study.

  References Top

Orchard J, James T, Kountouris A, Portus M. Changes to injury profile (and recommended cricket injury definitions) based on the increased frequency of Twenty20 cricket matches. Open Access J Sports Med 2010;1:63-76.  Back to cited text no. 1
Karppinen S. Strength training for fast bowlers: Resistance to resistance training. Conference of Science, Medicine and Coaching in Cricket. Center of Excellence, Cricket Australia  2010. p. 86-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Aginsky KD, Lategan L, Stretch RA. Shoulder injuries in provincial male fast bowlers-predisposing factors. Sports Med 2004;16:25-28  Back to cited text no. 3
Fu FH, David A, Stone MD, Crisp T, King JB, Allen AA. Sports Injuries: Mechanisms, Prevention, Treatment. 2 nd ed., Vol. 19. United States Williams and Wilkins; 1994. p. 603-15.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bell-Jenje TC, Gray J. Incidence, nature and risk factors in shoulder injuries of national academy cricket players over 5 years - A retrospective study. S Afr J Sports Med 2005;17:22-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Pretz R. Ballistic six plyometric training for the overhead throwing athlete. Natl Strength Cond Assoc 2004;26:62-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Carter AB, Kaminski TW, Douex AT Jr, Knight CA, Richards JG. Effects of high volume upper extremity plyometric training on throwing velocity and functional strength ratios of the shoulder rotators in collegiate baseball players. J Strength Cond Res 2007;21:208-15.  Back to cited text no. 7
Gelen E, Dede M, Bingul BM, Bulgan C, Aydin M. Acute effects of static stretching, dynamic exercises, and high volume upper extremity plyometric activity on tennis serve performance. J Sports Sci Med 2012;11:600-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Pretz R, Tan K, Kaminski TW. The effects of high-volume, upper-extremity plyometric training on isokinetic force production of the shoulder rotators in a group of collegiate baseball players. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2004;34:A63.  Back to cited text no. 9
Pyne DB, Duthie GM, Saunders PU, Petersen CA, Portus MR. Anthropometric and strength correlates of fast bowling speed in junior and senior cricketers. J Strength Cond Res 2006;20:620-6.  Back to cited text no. 10
Holcombe WR, Lander JE, Rutland RM, Wilson GD. A biomechanical analysis of the vertical jump and three modified plyometric depth jumps. J Strength Cond Res 1996;10:83-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Swanik KA, Lephart SM, Swanik CB, Lephart SP, Stone DA, Fu FH. The effects of shoulder plyometric training on proprioception and selected muscle performance characteristics. J Shoulder Elbow Surg 2002;11:579-86.  Back to cited text no. 12
Baker D. Acute effect of alternating heavy and light resistances on power output during upper-body complex power training. J Strength Cond Res 2003;17:493-7.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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