Keeper Bryce uses workshop funding for marginal gains ahead of season opener.

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Regional Women’s side Lightning Cricket took part in a breathing workshop at Loughborough University on the verge of the 2022 season, which starts on Saturday, as part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP).

The PDWP is a personalised support service which recognises that cricket is likely to be the main focus in a player’s life while they are playing, but that playing cricket represents a short part of a cricketer’s working life. The aim is to enable individuals to excel and develop sustainable performance within and outside of cricket.

The PCA distributes an educational budget each year to every women’s region and men’s county, as part of the PDWP, for the players at each club to receive a workshop to encourage learning, support, wellbeing and performance.

For Lightning, their wicketkeeper Sarah Bryce liaised with her PCA Personal Development Manager Sophie Connor and her teammates and decided they wanted to understand how breathing can impact performance and wellbeing. After undertaking research herself, Bryce made contact with ‘ProBreathwork.com’ who then delivered the session with the aim to improve breathing and impact all aspects of how we think, feel, move and perform. They do this alongside the ‘Oxygen Advantage’ which focuses on breathing techniques that are scientifically proven to improve sporting performance.

"That was quite a wow moment for me because I saw the improvement almost immediately.”


Taking charge of the workshop was Master Instructor with the Oxygen Advantage and ProBreathwork.com, David Jackson. As an accredited UKSCA Strength and Conditioning coach Jackson specialises in making science and research easy to understand and helping professional athletes enhance their performance by improving their breathing.

Jackson, a former professional rugby player, was forced to retire from professional sport in 2013. A seizure on the training field caused by a bleed on the brain meant he had to retrain his breathing which had been affected as a result of the injury.

The aim of the workshop was to give the Lightning team a better understanding of how their breathing works and what affects it, as well as looking at how they can use their breathing to improve cricketing performance.

Proactive Bryce was inspired to organise this year’s workshop after reading ‘Breath’ by James Nestor on the benefits of being able to control your breathing: “I became aware how powerful breath can be, not only for your mental health but for the performance side of things as well, that’s why I wanted to set the workshop up.

“As athletes, we do so much physical exercise, so it makes sense to explore improving your breathing as it will make you a better athlete. When it comes to fitness, concentration and focus, it’s all about how you can use your breath to improve those aspects.”

Jackson is now dedicated to helping others improve their breathing using his techniques: “I had to retrain my own breathing after a brain injury meant I had to stop playing rugby. That’s why I’m passionate about helping others change the way they breathe to improve the way they feel, move and perform.”

Bryce said the squad liked hearing the science behind the exercises because it gave them a deeper understanding: “I think it was really beneficial because David (Jackson) didn’t just tell us what to do, he gave us the science and the reasoning behind it which was really interesting.

“It was very enjoyable and some of it was quite relaxing, such as the slow breathing and the exercises to do with mobility. It’s amazing how your breathing can help improve your shoulder and thoracic mobility, so that was quite a wow moment for me because I saw the improvement almost immediately.”

Bryce’s Personal Development Manager, Connor, was pleased with the success of the workshop: “I’m delighted that the PCA has been able to organise this workshop for the Lightning squad. We’re always trying to improve the health and wellbeing of our athletes and the players have learnt a lot from their two-hour session with David.”

Bryce is hopeful that the squad can use the information they have gained from the workshop to develop their physical and mental wellbeing: “A huge thanks has to go to the PCA for supporting this and getting the workshop put on because everyone really enjoyed it. The team found it beneficial so we can use it going forward and put into practise what we’ve learnt.”

Lightning Cricket will be looking for a positive start to the season in their opening fixture of the 2022 campaign on Saturday at home to Northern Diamonds in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

Find out more about the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP).