photo credit: Spoungeworthy
Back in the mists of ancient history (the 1980's) the Soviets were kings of sport. Their state funded athletes became a huge experiment in maximising performance.
This included the development of periodisation: the planning system that most sports follow to this day, cricket included.
The traditional way that periodisation deals with training during the season in this method is 'maintenance' Keeping up the standards you developed outside of the playing season.
For me that's not enough. I want to keep improving all aspects of my game during the season as well as outside it.
4-6 months a year is a long time to show no improvements. So here are some suggestions for club cricketers.
- Write down your strengths and weaknesses. Be as specific as possible. Rather than put 'batting' put something like 'scores slowly at beginning of innings' or 'plays the pull shot in the air'.
- Video yourself in the nets and analyse your technique. Pick out the good stuff as well as the stuff you need to work on.
- Plan specifically and measurably how you will overcome your weaknesses and maintain your skills.
- Try to eliminate any weaknesses you have during games until you are confident enough to use that skill again.
- Play practice matches during training sessions with specific goals in mind.
- Work with a coach or other players to develop skills you don't have (like a new shot or bowling variation) or iron out technical errors.
- Only bring these new skills into games when you are well practiced at them.
- Use short, intense fielding drills as part of your pre-match warm up to hone your skills in the field.
- Talk to as many senior and ex-players as possible about your game. These guys are the one who have been there and done it all. See what they think you could do to improve but take every piece of advice with a pinch of salt.
- If you are a bowler, do plenty of target practice. It's the best practice there is.
- If you play in Sunday friendly games, talk to the captain and see if he will let you work on a weaker area during the match.
- Split your season into 4-6 week 'blocks' of time, each block focusing on a different fitness goal.
- Plan each block around your goal. For example, if you are trying to get stronger factor in more strength training each week.
- For other fitness elements that are not the goal of that block, do enough to maintain your current level of fitness.
- Make sure you do core stability, flexibility and mobility work every week no matter what your main goal is.
- Avoid heavy training the day before or the morning of a match. A pre game swim can be a good way to wake up your muscles though.
- If your game is rained off, go to the gym instead of the pub.
- Never have a skills session without some intense work that leaves you out of breath (fielding drills are easiest).
- Use your pre game warm up to develop neglected fitness elements. You can add in some mobility, core work, balance training and injury prevention easily but just turning up a few minutes earlier.
- Plan your mental training in as much detail as you plan your skills and fitness work.
- Imagine what it would feel like to be wildly successful this season. Use the power of this focus to drive you.
- Spend 20 minutes a day learning how to relax and focus on success
- Remember that mistakes are the way we learn and work on technical errors comes in training, not in games.
- Think about your body language. Walking, talking and looking confident controls how you feel.
- Think of ways to bluff your opponents and make them doubt their ability
- Speak to your captain and find out what your role is in the team.
- Learn how to anchor yourself.
- Don't let cricket dominate your life. Do some other stuff too.
- Plan your meals a week in advance and do enough shopping to cover all those meals. This way you won't get caught without something healthy to eat during the week.
- Get yourself some decent tools for cooking healthy food fast. Start with a blender and a George Foreman Grill.
- Give yourself a treat if you eat well all week
- Make sure you get enough lean protein, healthy fat, fruit and vegetables every day.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep a food diary and learn what works for your game and what doesn't when you eat. Don't be fooled by the 'rules of common sense' (they are often wrong).
- Try at least one new food every week, but stick with the staples healthy stuff day to day.
Do you have anything else to add to this in-season training list?© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008