it was not by luck that all three of worcestershire’s leading wicket-takers last summer in skipper joe leach, josh tongue and ed barnard played all 14 specsavers county championship matches.
a combined tally of 163 championship wickets went a long way towards worcestershire lifting the division two title for the first time in 14 years.
many other members of the squad also clocked up ‘ever present’ appearance figures during 2017.
much of the credit goes to the work being put in at the current time in the New Road gymnasium under the supervision of the county’s strengthening and conditioning coach ross dewar and the head of sports science and medicine, ben davies.
but physically getting out onto the pitch day in and day out is only half the battle and of equal importance is ensuring the squad can also perform to a high level on a consistent basis when in the heat of battle.
ross has nearly two decades of s and c experience under his belt and eight years with worcestershire and it is a similar story with ben and it is this period up until christmas where the platform and foundations are laid for next summer.
ross explained: “it is a big stage of the season. we test them at the end of the season to see where they are physically and movement wise, basic human movements.
“they then had a programme to do whilst they weren’t here to try and help fix their movements which have become dysfunctional.
“they will probably have two or three weeks when they didn’t do much, which is fair enough because you need to relax the mind as much as anything.
“then they start building up from there. they have all been doing well.
“when they come back in, we re-screen movement and fitness capacity to see what we can use and from there, we give them their own individual programmes.
“from now until christmas, they are just working on those to get their movements right, get stronger and get a good base to kick on after christmas.
“we try and ensure their movements are as clean as functional as possible so they are not going to get injured and can take their performance as high as they can.”
dewar added: “how important is this two months before christmas? it is always quite big for me because you almost lay the platform now and it allows them to go on and not get injured and to perform.
“you want them on the field but not just on the field but also performing. obviously leachy, tonguey, barny of our attack played every championship game and they got plenty of wickets.
“it is not just being on there if they can’t perform. we are trying to get barny quicker, we are trying to get tonguey quicker whilst he is away with the england lions and leachy is working on things as well.
“it is always about trying to make them better as well as keeping them on the field.
“there are certain types of injuries, like a broken finger, we can’t do anything abut. but muscle injuries and to an extent some of the stress and ligament damage, we can try and bullet proof as much as possible.”
dewar is highly regarded in cricketing circles for his s and c work but still strives to learn more and pass on any new ideas that may benefit the players.
he said: “there is a basic outline that you work to but i am learning all the time.
“the new stuff i learn that i think is going to help the boys, i bring in and just try and keep things fairly fresh for them.”