Dr. Neel Pangaonkar – Working with the MCA and Mumbai Under-14 cricket team

November 7, 2012 | By | Reply

It was a great learning experience working with the prestigious Mumbai Cricket Association for me. Over the last six months I have been able to spend time with my first love – CRICKET as well as do my duty as a physiotherapist.

Memorable Journey

I started working at the MCA in the afternoon hours from September 2010. We began with a thorough assessment of each player along with other senior therapists. We then devised individualized prehab and rehab programs for the players. They were made to understand the importance of these programs and were made to follow them under my and the trainer’s supervision. The programs were modified keeping in mind the kids’ (Under 14 years) limitations. After the Prehabs, the kids would start with their Skill (cricket) training under the coach’s advice.

Most of this time I would be observing the kids bat and bowl and the biomechanics involved. The coach would consult me to make sure a particular action of bowling or batting stance was good enough to make sure the player has a injury free season and future. Many kids have foot biomechanics problem for which we made use of Vasyli foot custom orthotics to improve their performance. Their normal routine would involve periodised programs – Gym sessions, Endurance training, Skill Training and the kids favourite POOL sessions.

As the cricketing season arrived, we started outdoor net practice and fielding sessions which were really gruelling and the kids would almost always end up with sore fingers and bruised knees and elbows, but that’s what makes tough MUMBAI cricketers. (As the coach would say – dirtier the clothes after fielding, the better is the player!)

Our tour to Pune began on 16th Jan. 2011 when most of us were involved in the marathon preparations. Travelling with a team of kids is not easy. Apart from being a Physio, you have to be a parent, a teacher, and a friend. You have to make sure they carry their water bottles, warm clothes, sunscreen (I forgot to!), socks and everything else. The major thing I realized is that kids play hard but they eat harder, almost overeating at every meal. To build team spirit we used to play warm-up games followed by dynamic stretching routines and skill practice and then conclude with a team meeting before every match. Besides doing my duty as a physio, I realized I was also an important part of team strategy planning, making use of injury time to take important messages to the players.

The most important thing I have learnt is that it requires team effort to achieve great goals and that’s exactly what we did as a team – coach, trainer, physio and the players.

I owe my success as a physiotherapist at the MCA to PhysioRehab where I learnt most of my clinical skills, learnt to be a part of a dynamic team and to my cricketing experience as a child. I could not have wished for a more apt ending to the season as our team – MUMBAI U-14 clinched the West Zone Championship!

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