The first time I ever kept wicket in a senior cricket match was quite an experience. I was used to youth team 20 over evening thrashes at the time; done in a flash and home in time for dinner.
After 30 overs I was pretty tired of crouching, after 40 I wanted to go home and by the time 52 overs had passed and the innings closed I had to lay down. The day after I tried to get out of bed only to collapse on the floor and be forced to crawl to the bathroom. The DOMS in my thighs was that bad.
You can imagine what my performance was like. Starting well I barely cared what was happening by the end. I certainly could not have batted for about an hour.
I think it was around than I realised I needed to get fitter to get rid of my fatigue and I have been chasing the solution ever since.
And you should be too.
- What good is the perfect technique if you are too tired to use it?
- How pointless is it to be able to bowl fast if you conk out after a couple of overs?
- How useful is a wicketkeeper who can't move his feet and dive as well to the last ball as he can to the first?
Overcoming fatigue on the cricket pitch
So many years later, with bags of research and personal experience under my belt I can offer you the definitive solution. While you will never fully shrug off that heavy legged feeling after a long afternoon, you can put it off and reduce the effects.
First and foremost, the law of specific adaptation applies. Or to put it another way, the more cricket you play the less tired you get when playing cricket. So play and train as much as you can at as high intensity as you can cope with.
Perhaps that part isn't rocket surgery, but it's good to know what seems like common sense is backed by the sport scientists.
Also backed by science is the positive effect of physical training on your stamina levels. Vern Gambetta goes one step further saying endurance is important but work capacity is even more so. It's a concept I fully echo and hope to prove with my case study guinea pigs.
The take home message is you need to train and you need to train a range of things like strength, power, interval running, mobility and technique.
Lifestyle is also a big factor. The healthier you are as a person the better your life is and the better your cricket. If you are not eating healthy, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and avoiding stress where possible then you are likely to be tired on the pitch.
So there we are. 12 years of trying boils down to play cricket, get some exercise, eat healthy and get enough sleep. Blimey that was simple.
The question is, how many of us club cricketers actually do them? Perhaps it's that which is the real challenge. I'd be interested in your comments. How many do you do?© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008