It might seem odd, but one of the most important factors in your cricket performance is the amount of rest you get.
If you get too much rest your body responds by putting on weight, losing strength and making your skills rusty. Meanwhile too little rest leads to overtraining and an equal drop. It's a delicate balance to get right but one that is vital if you want to improve your game.
The rules of resting
Resting comes in a couple of different forms. Let me break them down a little for you:
- Between games: 12 hours. You would have to be pretty fit (or good at hiding in the field) to play more than 2 days in a row. It is quite possible to play more days, as there are rest periods build into games when you are not batting or grazing at fine leg. If you play at weekends make Monday a day of active rest (see below).
- Between skills sessions: 4 hours. You can train cricket skills almost every day if you like because recovery time is quick. Nevertheless it is vital to warm up and cool down at every session. You can even do fitness and skills sessions on the same day if you have the time, fitness levels and inclination. In the ideal world you will have no more than 4-6 skills sessions in-season or preseason (per week) but time may not allow more than 1 or 2.
- Between fitness workouts: 24 hours. Fitness sessions (or high intensity skill work) have longer recovery times so the general rule is to rest at least 24 hours between workouts. The exception is between running sessions and strength sessions. As there is little crossover you can easily alternate running days with strength days. You can also do a split routine allowing you to strength train up to 4 times a week if you desire (but no more than twice a week in season).
- Between heavy sessions: 48 hours. Heavy sessions are the hard stuff like heavy weights, plyometrics and intense interval sprint training. These are very effective at making you stronger and faster but they also take a lot of recovery time. Don't rush back to doing anything more than active rest after these sessions. Never, ever play a game the day after heavy training: It's the perfect recipe for injury.
What does active rest mean?
So we know having rest days are vital to recovery and injury prevention and we also know how often to take them. But a rest day doesn't mean a do nothing day. It's important to remain active on recovery days, just at low intensities. Active rest options include going for a walk or on a bike ride, having a swim, playing with family, housework or a spot of yoga. Anything to get you moving. More on cricket fitness soon, so subscribe for free updates.
If you want a more comprehensive guide to reducing injury risk and increasing cricket specific fitness, check out county strength coach Rob Ahmun's guide on PitchVision Academy.
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