Full time job, full time family, full time life. Where can you cram in playing, training and fitness work?
It's hard for most of us. I have a job, this site and a family of three to fit my cricket around. If you are in the same boat you can use these tricks and tips to get the most out of the time you have.
1. Don't leave things to chance
Being efficient with limited time means you need to plan. Productivity expert David Allen recommends organising your free time in the same way as your work time. It makes sense to me, why only have half your life in order when you can have it all?
To me this starts with working out how much time you can free up. This could start with sitting down with the important people in your life and tell them you are getting organised. I do this with my wife every year before and after the cricket season so we can agree how much realistic time I have to train and/or play. We both have to findcompromises but we always meet a consensus. I have to admit, it saves arguments further down the line too.
Once you know how much time you have, make it almost sacred.
If you use some kind of diary or calendar for work then use one for play too. I block off training time in my diary as an appointment and stick to it as firmly as I would with a client. If it's in the diary, it's set in stone.
The real test of this system is when something else comes up. How important does that something have to be for you to break your appointment with the gym? We have all had times when we are unmotivated, but scheduling your training can help you break through this as long as you buy in to the idea.
2. Use your coaches
Qualified coaches in clubs can be a godsend when it comes to efficiency. Even if it means they know how to effectively run a training session without doing any actual coaching.
The benefit of having someone in charge of a net session alone is massive.
Just by organising a session a coach can up the intensity and realism of practice. Most players when left to their own devices will have a bat, a bowl and go home. With a coach (or well organised club captain) running things bowlers get sorted into groups, batsmen get a decent amount of time in the net and, most importantly, fielding practice is essential.
On top of this, a good coach can build a team up by creating an atmosphere where players help each other. You may have a senior player in your ranks who knows exactly why you are out of form but will not speak up. A coach can get it out of them.
You will find yourself benefiting from practice so it doesn't feel like a waste of time like some nets can.
3. Leave the bicep curls behind
In a very unscientific survey on Simply Cricket (by me) the bicep curl came out as number one exercise just in front of doing press ups.
I'm all for press ups, but all against curls for cricketers. They are great if you are after big 'guns' but isolating that muscle is:
- Not very realistic: Cricket is a game based on whole body movements, not single joints and muscles.
- Not very useful: The bicep doesn't do very much alone in any cricket skill apart from making you look good in your under armour.
- Not very efficient: Spending training time working a single joint multiple times is a bit of a waste. If you only have limited time then you need to use it to maximum effect.
That means if you are going to the gym or training at home with limited time you are better off focusing on multiple joint movement based exercise routines.
By the way, speaking of leaving stuff behind. You can do interval training for cardio work and cut time dramatically without cutting performance improvements. It's been proven by the sports science boffins.
4. Use your pre-match time
I had to think about this one for a while before including it as it will not suit everyone. I think that for the recreational player, the warm up is a crucial element because it is about more than warming up.
At my club we often have a pre-game net in the morning. This is a good way to get your eye in as a batsman or find your length as a bowler. Fielding practice also gets the hands ready for action.
You could easily extend this to include other important, personal fitness factors. I'm not talking about lifting weights on the outfield, but it would be easy to spend 10-20 minutes on areas like:
For the latter you would need a coach around, but why couldn't work on developing new skills just before the game? It's an efficient use of time even if it is not the ideal method according to coaching theory.
What are your tips for saving time on the training pitch and in the gym?
Also, what do you think about using pre-game time to work on certain areas of skill and fitness?
Leave a comment and let me know.
photo credit: w3i_yu
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