It is not through good fortune that Worcestershire's players again went through a six month campaign in 2016 without any serious muscle injuries.

The setbacks such as Mitchell Santner's broken finger are part of the ill fortunes that can affect any professional sportsperson at anytime.

But the day to day wear and tear injuries were avoided thanks in no small way to the excellent preparation work carried out during the winter months under the supervision of Strengthening and Conditioning Coach Ross Dewar.

The players are put through their paces from as early as 7.30 in the morning by Dewar who is recognised as one of the leading exponents in his profession on the county circuit.

Here Ross explains the importance of S and C and what it exactly entails in a Question and Answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.

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Question: How important is S and C to the players this time of the year?

Ross Dewar: "It is really important at the moment because the season is long and hard and their bodies take a pounding.

"What we do November-December, is take a good screening across lots of different areas, and see where their deficiencies are and their dysfunctions are.

"Now is about fixing those so we can get into the New Year and go for more cricket and power-specific work."

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Question: What are you referring to when you talk of 'deficiencies'?

Ross Dewar: Cricket is a very uni-lateral sport so obviously one side of the body gets hit a lot more than the other.

"People carry little niggles and things like this. All these sort of things play into the body and you can get things like shoulder drop and one leg rising up because the pelvis is twisted a little bit. Just little things like that, one side stronger than the other.

"So we are just trying to iron out all of those things and get them back to neutral so they've got a good base to go from."

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Question: When the players report back, does everyone have an individual programme?

Ross Dewar: "It is very much individual-based. We screen them and everyone is going to have slightly different things coming up on the screening.

"Maybe 50% of everything is going to be the same but then we branch off more individual and then, as we go into December, the programme changes again and you get into January and it is very much sports-specifics.

"The bowlers will be doing a lot of medicine balls, weighted balls, things like that so then all the strength gained in the gym can be carried over into the cricket."

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Question: Is it a challenging experience for new pros like Ollie Westbury and George Scrimshaw?

Ross Dewar: "It is a challenge for me as well because these young lads aren't used to working (in this way) so it can be very challenging for everyone.

"But they are doing the work and they are coming along nicely now."

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Question: Is it a challenge to come up with different ideas each winter to keep people motivated?

Ross Dewar: "It doesn't really come into that much because I am always reading and learning myself so naturally as you learn more, things evolve and change so there are always different things to bring in.

"We also try to go and work in different enviroments like Bullpen gymnasium in town and just try and vary things a little bit but it naturally just evolves."

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Question: Is it all physical stuff or does the mental side come into it?

Ross Dewar: "We try and challenge them a little bit and what is no good for cricketers or sports people in general is to be spoonfed.

"We make them think a little bit because we want the brain to be working at the same time and we do things that get them stressed out and then give them little challenges so they've got to think while doing the work.

"We want all-rounded cricketers, not someone just coming in and being told what to do. The coaches don't just want someone that need to be spoonfed.

"They want people to think on their feet so, when they are in the middle they've got no-one to fall back on but themselves, they can think in situations for themselves."

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Question: Do the players get time off?

Ross Dewar: "They have five weeks at the end of the season, about two weeks over Christmas and then they've got holiday they can take as well.

"They get a decent amount of time off and training is not all day. It might be three-four hours a day maximum."

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Question: Anyone not based at New Road during the winter, do they get a programme as well?

Ross Dewar: "They get a programme as well and that changes every month, all the exercises and videos, so there is no excuses and we are in regular contact. "They've got to email us once a week to tell us how they are doing.

"It sticks out if they haven't followed it and then the represcussions are there, not playing and things like that.

"At the end of the day, it is for their benefit and if they come back stronger, quicker and fitter it is going to help their game and that is the end result."

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Question: Presumably when you start S and C in November, the ultimate aim is to get players through the following season unscathed?

Ross Dewar: "We want to improve them and get them through uninjured. Our injury record with our bowlers over the last four or five years is probably the envy of a lot of counties because we are able to keep the boys out there bowling.

"The amount of overs they get through is awesome really. Fair play to the lads for the work they put in doing the programme and it's all about getting the best from them and having them selectable for the coaches."

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Question: Do you feel you are still learning about S and C?

Ross Dewar: "All the time and you are really only scratching the surface of it as well because there are so many different off-shoots you can go down.

"The title 'strengthening and conditioning' is probably a bit misleading because the strength part is very simple but there are so many parts like mobility, dysfunctions, even breathing patterns.

"You've got to look at so many different things and they all come into play."