If you have ever hung around after an international cricket match you will see a strange sight: The players will get themselves back onto the field to do even more exercises and stretching.
They are cooling down. You have probably heard about cooling down before but never done it yourself.
In fact, as high performance players prove, the cool down is an essential part of improving your cricket.
Why is cooling down so important?
Cooling down after a game helps your body return to normal after the stresses of batting, bowling and fielding. This speeds up your recovery time for the next game.
When you exercise, you body suffers damage (even when you don't get an injury) and builds up a waste product called lactic acid.
When this happens, your muscles start to feel sore.
Muscle soreness is not only annoying, it stops you performing at your best, increases your risk of injury and may even stop you training.
Cooling down reduces the amount of soreness you feel by gently removing the buildup of lactic acid and provides your muscles with nutrients to help them repair themselves, allowing you to recover more quickly.
Think of it as a gentle wind down instead of a sudden stop.
So before you jump in the shower after training or a game, make sure you spend a few minutes recovering.
What makes a good cricket cool down?
A good cool down need not take long. The pros may take half an hour or more over it but you can take far less time.
At the end of a training session, innings or game do the following:
- Gentle Warm Down. 5-10mins. I find a gentle walk or slow jog around the outfield does the job
- Static Stretch. 5-15mins. Pick a few stretches that are static (ie. You don't move during them) and concentrate on relaxing the muscles as you stretch for at least 30s per stretch.
- Refuel. Have some water or an isotonic sports drink, you can have a healthy meal (low fat, pasta, rice or potato based) or you can snack on food that gives instant energy (like bananas).
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