Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tips for the maintenance of cricket bats

Cricket bats are made of willow. It is to be expected that the condition of the bat will deteriorate during its usage.

Irrespective of make or finish of a bat, superficial face and edge marks will almost certainly appear, together with indentations or bruising of the willow. This happens especially when ‘poly type’ coverings have been used, when the covering (a man-made fibre) does not react in exactly the same manner as willow (a natural fibre). In these circumstances there is no need to worry or concern as the durability and performance of the bat will be unaffected.

Preparation for play

We recommends the following principles for the preparation and maintenance of cricket bats. Following these procedures will significantly reduce the possibility of damage occurring.


Oiling: All natural faced bats MUST be treated using raw linseed or a specialist cricket bat oil. The main purpose of oiling is to maintain moisture levels within the blade, and hence reduce the chances of cracking and splitting. Light coats should be applied to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade –taking care to avoid the logos and the splice area. Generally two or three coats should be sufficient. Each coat should be allowed to dry into the blade in a horizontal position before the next is applied.

Alternatively. It is possible to fit a clear anti-scuff or similar cover. This does not negate the requirement to ‘knock in’ the bat. The cover may assist the durability of the bat, but under no circumstances will it totally prevent surface damage.

Knocking in. All bats are pressed, however ‘knocking in’ is VITAL. This is the process by which the fibres of the willow in the face and edges are compressed together to form a barrier, which protects the bats against the impact of the ball. Effective ‘knocking in’ will significantly improve the performance and increase the lifespan of the bat.

Bats in Simply Sports.

Stage one: The ‘knocking in’ process should be undertaken carefully, using a special bat mallet or an old, quality cricket ball. The bat should be repeatedly struck (with gradually increasing force) in all areas where one would normally expect to hit the ball, this conditioning must be performed with patience. Particular attention should be given to the edges, although the edges or toe should not be struck directly at right –angles to the blade. This would be likely to cause damage.
This stage should take in the region of six hours, although it may vary as every bat is different.

Stage two: The next step is to graduate to the use of the bat to hit short catches with an old, quality cricket ball. However, if the seam marks the blade, it is necessary to return to ‘Stage one’ for a further conditioning. This stage should be performed for at least another hour.

Many bats come ‘PKI’ or pre-knocked in. This is where the manufacturer has oiled and knocked in the bat in the factory. Although this means that the extensive six hours of knocking in isn’t required, we still recommend that you still take care and knock your bat in for between 2-3 hours. Followed by Stage 2 above, either catches or someone throwing gentle underarm ‘bowls’ which are hit gently back to the bowler, this will ensure the bat is well prepared and ready for you to score tons of runs!!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Why wear a sports bra?

Did you know that there are no muscles in the breast? Your breasts are made up of the suspensory Cooper's Ligament which, when unsupported during exercise, can stretch beyond repair and lead to irreversible breast sag. Your breasts can bounce up to 9cm when unsupported during exercise!

A good sports bra is as essential a piece of sports kit as a good pair of trainers. Yet why are 73% of women who exercise regularly not wearing sports bras? If you are in any doubt as to how important it is to give yourself a lift, we clear up some well-known myths here.

Myths and Facts

Myth 1: There are muscles in the breast.
Fact: Female breasts are primarily composed of glandular tissue and fat, held in position by the delicate Cooper's Ligament. Any excessive amount of breast movement or bounce, as happens during exercise, puts strain on these ligaments and can cause them to stretch. In the long term this leads to breast sag.


Myth 2: Specific exercises will return your breasts to their former shape.
Fact: Once breasts have dropped because of stretching these ligaments, nothing can naturally restore them to their former position.

Myth 3: Small breasts do not need support.
Fact: Even among 34As/75As, tests found that breast movement ranged up to an average of 40mm away from the resting place of the body, which can lead to breast sag.

Myth 4: Running, in itself, always leads to sore and tender breasts.
Fact: Inadequate breast support, coupled with excessive breast movement, is the most likely cause of sore and tender breasts after exercise. In a survey, 80% of GPs questioned agreed that with the specialist support of a sports bra, stress on the ligaments is reduced. This helps delay the long-term sagging of breasts.

Myth 5: Your ordinary, everyday bra is good enough to use when exercising.
Fact: Tests showed that breast movement is reduced by 38% when wearing an ordinary bra but this rises to as much as 74% with a Shock Absorber sports bra.

Read more about our research with the Shock Absorber Sports Institute (SASI) in The Science of Shock Absorber.
*Source: Omnibus December 2004.

Friday, 7 March 2014

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on the 8th of March and in the sporting world equality has been no less a topic of conversation than anywhere else.

From the prize money at Wimbledon to the inclusion of women in all teams at the London 2012 Olympic Games the topic of equality in sport has been consistently on the agenda.

However, in areas such as participation, authority, reward and recognition the fight goes on to continue to level the playing field and there is still some way to go.

In participation more still needs to be done in countries where women’s lack of rights go way beyond being able to play sport, having a token athlete at the Olympics is just a tiny step but sport can be the catalyst for change.

In authority until 1981 the IOC was exclusively a men’s club and even today only 20 of the 112 IOC members are women. It is not for lack of role models, organisational skills or candidates that these numbers are so low, sporting bodies need to push for a greater balance in the IOC.


No one would be so naïve as to suggest that sex has not been used to sell women’s sport and the riches achieved through product endorsement have disguised the fact that the rewards for female sports stars do not match those of their male counterparts. However, bums on seats is what attracts revenue either at the events themselves or watching on TV, a greater exposure to women’s sport on TV would help a great deal to change this. We can only hope that in time the achievements by female stars are not compared to their stronger male counterparts, accept it for what it is. In some sports there is less comparison, no-one compares Laura Trott’s times with the male cyclists, she won gold and that was all that counted.

Success needs to be recognised and only last month the ECB announced that the women’s England Cricket team would go full time. This has to have been as a result of a consistently brilliant performance by the team both on and off the field of play, no dressing rooms bust ups, no errant tweets and from what I can see no ego’s getting in the way of the team ethos. Our women’s cricketers thoroughly deserve this recognition, now we just need the fans to pack Lords to the rafters for their next home match.

Progress has been made in sport and sport can continue to lead the way for the rest of society.