Today’s guest is former professional cricket and rugby player, and sports performance coach, Steffan Jones. Steffan is a master, integrative trainer for fast-bowlers (“pitching” at up to 100mph in cricket, not rolling a 16lb ball at 10 pins), and has incorporated knowledge from the world’s top coaches to form a cutting edge system that yields massive improvements, and has applications for technical or strength coaches in any sport. He is the owner of the website cricketstrength.com.
Steffan is the former Somerset, Northamptonshire, Kent and Derbyshire fast bowler who forged a career out of getting the best out of himself physically. He is an ex-pro cricketer of 20yrs, and is the last dual pro between rugby & cricket. He is the leading coach in England on teaching and using heavy ball contrast training for fast bowler development. When it comes to exercises for fast bowlers, Steffan is the go to coach.
For those Americans listening to this show who don’t know much about Cricket, it is the 2nd to 3rd most popular sport in the world, depending on which stats you look at. I love learning about new sports, how they are trained, and how we can integrate these ideas into our own training and coaching. Fast-bowling is a complex skill that has facets of sprinting, javelin throw and baseball pitching, all rolled into one. How Steffan coaches these athletes can be described as nothing short of a masterpiece.
In the show today, Steffan Jones discusses ideas on isometric strength training for potentiation and skill development, integrating all forms of training into a singular model, general vs. specific strength, the role of ankle stiffness in fast bowling (and as a universal model), cueing, and more.
For those track coaches listening to this, there are tons of implications for the javein throw event.
Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.
- Steffan’s background as an athlete and as a performance coach for cricket
- Problems with early sport specialization
- Steffan’s usage of isometric training for development of fast-bowlers
- Integration of strength training and technical work for athletes
- Importance of ankle strength and rigidity in fast-bowling technique
- Oxidative bowling training
- The role and integration of general vs. specific strength in performance
- Thoughts on cueing and technical instruction
- Results Steffan is getting with his integrated model
“Until preparation coaches are judged on on-field performances, sports performance is not going to increase, because they don’t have to. They answer to the white board. Strength is important, but to me it’s about reactivity and elastic ability.”
“The best method of potentiation and training the CNS is isometrics. It forms the first part of my skill stability model”
“Those days are dying where you are just a technique coach, you are a tactical coach, you are an S&C coach. They are all interlinked, you have to have knowledge of them all”
“I overload technique, I make it harder, the ultimate thing for me is to achieve stability in the 3 main attractors of fast-bowling”
“80% of (fast) bowling flaws in the world stem from back-foot contact”
“Most bowlers need to eliminate muscle slack and become more elastic”
“General strength is really important, it builds resiliency, robustness, structural integrity, and gives you a foundation to transfer power and bowl maximum velocity… it will give them the potential ability to bowl faster, but it’s not going to make them bowl quickly”
“I’m a big fan of weighted ball bowling”
“Clusters is a big part (of training) so I would do 3 rep clusters, a heavy isometric incline bench press for 4 seconds, I would walk and bowl a heavy cricket ball, and then walk back and do that 6 times, so that’s really specific. Clusters sit well with bowling, because bowling is a cluster in itself”
“I wouldn’t add variability to my basic strength exercise, I add variability to my technique. I just want to go to the gym and get the muscles I use for bowling strong”
“The most specific thing to bowling is bowling with a slightly heavier or lighter ball”
“Bondarchuk thinks that anything under 80% effort doesn’t transfer to technique”
“People expect to go from unskilled conscious to skilled unconscious in a few days!”
“If someone lacks elasticity, power, or just looks quite lethargic and heavy in their arm speed, I would potentiate with an isometric incline press before every ball”
“I only give one conscious cue”
“I started doing general strength work, bench, lat pulldown, squats, and my bowling speed went through the roof… but I hit a ceiling” “I added sprints and weighted ball bowling… I put 10mph on my speed in 2 years”
Isometric-dynamic complex for front leg block
Specific attractor training for fast-bowlers
About Steffan Jones
Steffan Jones is the former Somerset, Northamptonshire, Kent and Derbyshire fast bowler who forged a career out of getting the best out of himself physically. He is an ex-pro cricketer of 20yrs, and is the last dual pro between rugby & cricket. Steffan is recognized as a global Fast-bowling performance expert.
Steffan is currently one of the small number of people in the world who hold an ECB level 3 qualification as well as a UKSCA accreditation in strength & conditioning. He is the leading coach in England on teaching and using heavy ball contrast training for fast bowler development.