It's a horrible feeling when you have been in the field for a long time: Your legs get heavy and all you want to do is get off the pitch, get in the shower and have a pint or a cuppa.
Usually this is the time you need to be most switched on.
So it pays to use a couple of tricks to keep the fatigue away in the dying overs.
- Take it easy. The day before a match it's best to avoid hard work. Lifting heavy weights, plyometrics or sprint training all requires 48 hours or more to recover. Instead look for more gentle alternatives like swimming, skills training or a light gym workout.
- Get enough sleep. It's tempting to spend Friday night clubbing it up in general merriment but to get the best the best cricket performance at the end of the match most people need 8-10 hours. It's not enough to get it the night before either. Your body likes the rhythm of going to bed and getting up at the same time over a few days.
- Get the right fuel. Your nutrition also needs to be good in the few days before a match, especially the day before and matchday. Cut back on the high fat or high sugar foods (that includes white bread, potatoes and rice) and go for 4-6 smaller meals based on wholemeal food and lean protein (fish, poultry or beans).
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration severely effects performance so make sure you get enough water the day before the match (at least 3 pints). On matchday, drink lots in the morning and keep the sports drink or orange juice flowing during the game. If possible drink a small amount every 30 minutes or so.
- Tea well. Eat what you like at tea to refuel. Ideally you want to keep the high fat and sugar foods to a minimum and focus on getting lean protein and wholemeal carbs (bread or pasta mainly). Fruit is also great for a quick and healthy energy fix. I like to have a banana or 2 on hand to keep me going.
If you find yourself flagging it may be that you have to be a bit stricter with yourself about bedtimes, mealtimes and drink times. But if you and your team are regularly outlasting the opposition you win certainly end up winning more games.
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