Visit the exclusive "Countdown to Summer" Preseason training page for more exclusive tips and content to help you prepare for the cricket season.
If you get your pre-season preparation right you will play better cricket during the summer. Good pre-season work needs to be planned ahead to get the best results. It should be based on your individual goals and should fit into your overall yearly plan.
How to work out your cricket pre-season training
The key to this phase is building your plan around the physical needs of cricket. Although cricket seems to be a fairly relaxed game it does require the body to have:
- Motor skills (or technique)
Keeping technique separate, cricketers generally need to have speed (running between the wickets, bowlers run ups) or have fast access to powerful movements (bowling, throwing, and hitting a ball). Endurance is also needed to be able to do this while tired (batting after a long fielding session for example).
Phase 1. Build a base
At the beginning of your preseason training you will have just come back from a training break or you may be planning your preseason training for the first time. Either way, you will need to build up a base of fitness before doing anything else. Here the focus is on general improvements rather than being cricket specific. You can read my base building programme for cricket fitness here. This period should last around 8-12 weeks depending on how fit you are.
Phase 2. Specific training
Once we have a broad fitness base we can start to become more specific and begin to bring skills training back in as the winter progresses. While each programme is personalised, all players can rotate their specific training around broad goals:
While there is some crossover, the reason for doing the goals in this order is so you reach your peak in the fitness and skills at the start of the season.
How hard to work?
You now have a basic outline of your year, with a detailed weekly breakdown of your preseason preparation. But how hard should you work to get results? Again, this is very specific to each cricketer. Some people have more time and some people get results more quickly. The basic principles always apply though:
- Work as hard as possible - This does not mean you should run a marathon every week or lift the heaviest weight you can. Instead push yourself within the programme. For example, if you are in the gym and you have to do 10 reps then do this with the heaviest weight you can manage for 10 reps (with good technique).
- If you are losing technique when you train (either with cricket skills or fitness), you are training yourself to make mistakes or get an injury. As a general rule you should always train to the maximum without losing technique.
- An exception to this is when you have a sound technique. Once you know your technique is good you can train beyond good technique in order to improve your conditioning in that area. This is for advanced trainers only and must have a spotter as the risk of injury is greatly increased once technique is lost.
- Overload - Aim to improve on something each session: lift more weight, run faster, do more reps or throw more accurately. Generally speaking you should be looking to increase the volume (e.g. number of sets/reps) and intensity (e.g. size of the weight lifted) of your workouts the closer you get to the season (see below for the exception).
- Rest - Make sure you have adequate time to rest in your programme: Take at least 1 day a week off from all exercise and build in the correct rest time between sets in the gym/nets.
- Recover - Your body improves faster if you take a recovery week around once a month. This is done by simply following the same programme as before but decreasing the volume and intensity to make it easier. Also, in the few weeks before the season begins you should cut the volume and intensity back gradually to taper off towards maintaining rather than improving.
Visit the exclusive "Countdown to Summer" Preseason training page for more exclusive tips and content to help you prepare.