Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Ross Dewar’s Key Role In Ensuring Worcs Ccc Players Stay Injury-Free

Ross Dewar’s Key Role In Ensuring Worcs Ccc Players Stay Injury-Free

Ross Dewar has a key role to play at New Road as Worcestershire's Strengthening and Conditioning Coach in trying to ensure players stay fit for the rigours of a demanding six month county season.

First team physio Ben Davies does an excellent job in making sure anyone who is injured returns to action as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

But Dewar, who has been part of the Worcestershire party for the pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi, sees his role as prevention in trying to ensure injuries do not happen in the first place.

Here Ross looks back over his career and what his work at New Road entails in a question and answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.

Question: How long have you been been Strengthening and Conditioning Coach at New Road?

Ross Dewar: "This coming year (2016) is my seventh season at Worcestershire and 17th season in total in cricket.

"I started off in 2000 with Somerset doing the second team and helping out with the first team for five seasons and then I went to Northants as a lead Strengthener and Conditioner there and I was there for five seasons and then I came down here in the winter of 2009."

Question: "How did the opportunity come about to come to New Road?

Ross Dewar: "I just had a phone call from Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) asking if I would be interested and I was because I wasn't enjoying some aspects of my job at Northampton and it felt a long way from home as well – which is Dorset.

"I was more than happy to come and meet Bump, we had a chat about things, we both were happy, and things moved quickly. Within two weeks, I had moved down here.

"Back then it was still on the verge of going to 12 month contracts. We were still travelling then to Edgbaston, Shrewsbury, Loughborough for training because we didn't have Malvern College as a base then. Malvern started during my first winter."

Question: "How did you get into this sphere?

Ross Dewar: "I always loved sport and training. I did an intensive diploma in 1999 and because I love cricket, I sent out my CV to all the counties and Somerset and Darren Veness got hold of me and said do you want to come and have a chat.

"It was only a second team role initially for six months so it was a bit of a gamble but I gave it a go and the first two winters I didn't get paid but worked on the players for free for my knowledge and just to help out and almost created a role for myself.

"It was a great grounding. I didn't go to Uni until I was 30. The first three years here I was combining it with full-time studies at Worcester University which was something Bump sorted out for me – Sports and Exercise Science.

"It was quite interesting being a mature student."

Question: How crucial is the role of Strengthening and Conditioning Coach at all cricket clubs?

Ross Dewar: "The physios have always been there but with physios it is a case of treatment after you have got injured. How I see the S and C role, is to do as much as you can to prevent injuries.

"It is about how can we best set the guys up so they can get out on the pitch and do as well as they can without getting injured.

"Each player has got a hugely different programme to work to. If you look at the bowlers we've got here, Shants who has got totally different mechanics to anyone else, Leachy the same thing, again totally different to the other two, and Charlie, again completely different.

"You've got quick bowlers there all completely different and if you give them all the same programme you are going to get into trouble fairly quickly. You have to know what programme is going to help them."

Question: How does it work with the players who go to Australia and South Africa or any other countries during the winter?

Ross Dewar: "What we do before they go is an assessment at the end of the season to see where they are at physically and then put a programme in place for them.

"We tend to put in loads of videos as well so there is no confusion and with the modern age, if they've got an issue with anything, they can put a call in from, say, Perth, and five minutes later they've got a video of the exercise and we tell them exactly what they need to do.

"There is no real issue. Obviously there has got to be a lot of trust involved that they are going to do it – but if they don't do it, come back and get injured, it's their own fault and if they then miss out on game time and then get released……..it's up to them really.

"It is my 17th season and I've seen every trick in the book with people trying to pull the wool over your eyes. You know if someone is working or not."

Question: You must take a lot of pride at the vast majority of the squad being so injury-free last summer?

Ross Dewar: "Yes and no because obviously we did have Gareth (Andrew) injured. It's great that we didn't have any big muscle injuries. They are the ones that myself and Ben (Davies) as a partnership really feel we can make an impact on.

"With stress fractures, it's a bit of a finer line but I still feel and believe there are still things you can do and implement to make sure it doesn't happen.

"Again it's a learning process. I learn every day pretty much at the moment. Everything we do now is to make sure no-one else does get a stress fracture.

"There are some signs and some movements and just the way people walk and sit which you can predispose with things like a stress fracture.

"We are happy overall with the players and the fact we don't pick up the hamstring tears and quad tears and groins and things like that.

"But the things like the cartileges and stress fractures, we are still looking at what we can do to make sure they don't happen so it is still frustrating when there are any injuries."

Question: Keeping the bowlers on the field must be a big challenge?

Ross Dewar: "That is our challenge. For me, batsmen and spinners are fairly straightforward. Any half decent physio-S and C team should be able to keep the batsman on the pitch with no muscle injuries – and spinners as well.

"Spinners are a little bit different now because of the amount of variations they are bowling so you've almost got to treat them like a seamer now in some aspects with the quicker balls and things like that.

"For us, it's about making sure Bump and Mase and Mitch have plenty of options to choose from."

Question: "Who is responsible for the fitness programme?

Ross Dewar: "It is almost down to me especially over the winter. I set the programme. I always speak with Ben (Davies), we've got a good relationship.

"Then during the season again the fitness is left to me. Bumpy says 'you've got this session, do what you need to do.'

"We do lots ot testing on the boys to see how they are doing and if someone is particularly tired or sore, or there numbers are down, then we go to the coach and say this guy could do with a rest from bowling today and generally we have a good chat and see where we get."

Question: Matt Mason has said in the past that you and Ben act like part-time psychologists?

Ross Dewar: "The boys will come in here (the gym) and they'll vent things sometimes and you just try your best to try and help them out.

"Sometimes someone just needs a rant and you let them get on with it, get something off their chest and then they can crack on."