Does SAQ work for cricket? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Does SAQ work for cricket?

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cricketball.jpgThe proof of any cricket system is how well it works for real coaches and players. SAQ is no different.

That's why I was delighted when Matt got in touch with me to tell me his experiences with adding SAQ to his coaching.

Here is what he told me:

I used the SAQ for was with a group of 11/12 year olds last year of mixed ability. In terms of the skills required in some of the phases within SAQ such as Mechanics (hurdles) , Innervation (ladders) and Explosive movements there was a vast improvement from the start of the 10 week course to end in terms of running technique and quick multi directional fast foot movements which are vital in all aspects of cricket.

It also worked for professional player Steffan Jones who went from an 86 mph bowler to 92 mph as clocked when taking 4 wickets against Leicestershire at Lords.

Ultimately the ECB is big on LTAD and producing the athlete as well as the player by using the ABC's (Agility, Balance, Co-ordination) which I agree with.

As far as I can see or know there is no real structure or model in place to train this within at youth level so it's pretty much down to the individual coach to formulate his own methods/sessions. My personal feeling is that SAQ covers these areas and more.

For example SAQ uses the following techniques that can be adapted to the cricket pitch:

  • Fast foot ladder work: As a batter you need to firstly make quick decisions that trigger your foot movement back or forward. This is particularly important against spinners.
  • Correct running mechanics: Seam bowlers approach to wicket needs to be rhythmical and balanced and mechanics makes this possible.
  • Explosive movements: A fast bowler hitting the crease and in the follow through potentially has to make multi directional movements diving to catch or save runs. A fielder will also walk in with the bowler and have to make a similar movement to stop, catch, chase or retrieve the ball.

All these skills have to compliment the other skills that develop a good cricketer. Technical, tactical, mental and lifestyle all play a part too.

Additionally, SAQ has been used with most of the UK County Championship teams including Somerset, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Essex.

I'm interested in your feedback. Have you used SAQ training as a coach or player? How have you found it?

Image credit: Hashmil

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All I can say is the SAQ is good as General Stimulus for physical preparation. I think Matt is making an error in judgement by giving SAQ work so much credit. Footwork for batting is not the same as ladder footwork. I have seen kids who are experts at the ladder but cannot use their feet while batting and vice versa.

I would be interested to see how much crossover there is to cricket from the ladder. The ladder is good for agility and balance on the ladder. Do you find the kids who are good on the ladder are more agile in the field?

No, using the ladder makes you good at that. Agility on the field comes from lots of other factors and the 2 most important being INTENT and PASSION to be outstanding on the field. And this is a reflection of the COMPETITIVE MINDSET of the player.

Mindset is important I agree. But mindset alone will not make you more balanced or coordinated. Practice does that.

Now, the debate is this: does the agility ladder improve balance and coordination in a cricket specific environment? There is a case for both.

Did Don Bradman, Tendulkar, Lara use the 'agility ladder' while growing up? NO

That's a weak arguement Russell. Did they have access to one? If they did, would one have made them even better or did their great talent mean they did not need one? Should ordinary people try and copy what great talents do or realise we need every trick in the book to improve our own average standards?

I've been using the ladder in my training lately and i sometimes use ankle weights. And i find that my footwork is quicker against the spiners. theres no doubt that it helps.

I think it does help with coordination and balance in general which can only be a good thing. As part of a proper warm up it's a good tool if you have access to one.