An average club cricketer might spend a few hours a week improving their game.
You might play a couple of games, go to the gym and train in the nets regularly.
What about the rest of the time?
What you do outside of this time also has a huge effect on your performance. Getting the edge and playing good cricket at any level requires good intense training. It also needs attention to the other hours in the day.
This idea is often known as the 24 hour athlete.
A 24 hour cricketer puts their health as a number 1 priority. They know the more he or she focuses the better they will be. It's about making the most of of the entire day and night.
- Sleep. No one truly knows how much sleep we all need, but most instinctively know when they have had enough, too little or too much. Sleeping enough not only staves off tiredness. It aids recovery, reduces stress levels and helps improvements in fitness come through more quickly.
- Nutrition. We all know eating right leads to better health, strength, endurance and body composition. You don't need to diet but you do need to know the nutrition basics and be able to stick to them 90% of the time.
- Stress. Stress raises levels of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a great thing if you need to run away from a sabre tooth tiger but long term elevated levels decrease muscle mass, raise blood pressure, impair your thinking and increase abdominal fat stores. Not good for your game so find a way to keep stress levels low and relax.
- Recovery. Most club cricketers don't have a problem with training too much. If you do train and play a lot watch out for getting overtrained. Make sure you have at least one day a week with no exercise and balance out your training with a proper plan.
It might seem a big commitment for non-professional players to become 24 hour cricketers. In fact, the lifestyle is suitable for anyone concerned about being at their best in any aspect of life: low stress, healthy body, sharp mind and well rested.
Do it but don't just do it for your cricket.