How to make room for other sports and still be a cricketing success | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to make room for other sports and still be a cricketing success

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Playing and practicing cricket gets you better at cricket. But what if you play more than one sport? The answer is not to give up on other sports, but to learn the 4 simple training tricks of success.

Like a lot of cricketers you might enjoy a winter game too. The main problem is that adding extra sports makes a mockery of normal planning. How can you have a cricket pre-season when you are still playing rugby, for example? However, it's important to get past these problems because playing other sports is good for you as a cricketer.

Not the least of these is benefits has been highlighted by research from the University of Queensland showing that children who play multiple-sports get better at their chosen sport more quickly. We don't really know why this is, but the best guess from 'in the field' coaches like Vern Gambetta is that you learn important skills that can be transferred including mental toughness and movement skills like sprinting, turning, jumping and hand eye-coordination.

Plus, let's be honest, even the biggest cricket-loving player can get a bit fed up if they play all year round without a break. Ask Paul Collingwood. Sometimes you just want to get away and have a round of golf or kick a football around.

Training tips for multiple sports

If you play another sport competitively, how do you train effectively for both sports without compromising your success?

You start by throwing out the manual that assumes you will have a carefully structured season, off season and pre-season every year. That method, although effective, came from the Olympic training schools of the Soviet Bloc in the 1970's and 80's. It worked because athletes had one big event to build up to every four years and trained to reach a perfect peak. It fails totally when you try and balance a couple of team sports.

You will sacrifice some quality compared to this 'gold standard', but remember the benefits of actually playing more than make up for the losses. And with these four tricks you don't have to lose out much:

1. Get in the gym

It's natural to think that playing lots of sport means you don't need to go to the gym, the sport itself is keeping you fit. In fact, sport causes all kinds of imbalances in your body that need to be corrected by a sound training program.

Think of it as your insurance against injuries.

You don't need to lift huge weights (in fact, as you are probably in-season most of the year you would find it hard to do so), but you do need to try to improve your strength enough to prevent the injuries caused by overuse. Any age or ability player can do mobility-stability based workouts, even if you are playing regularly.

The good news is that a good training program for cricket looks very similar to most sports (rugby, football, aussie rules, hockey and tennis for example).

2. Find your natural peaks and troughs

Even if you play a lot of sport there will be times in the year where you need to be at your best and other times where you can be a bit more relaxed about things. You can use the natural lulls in the year to focus more on the harder parts of training (like big strength gains). You reserve the more intense periods for lighter workouts. This causes a natural variety in the intensity of your training that your body likes.

It's important to be tactical. Working out when these will be beforehand is a sensible method because otherwise you risk treating every week as a light week and not making good gains.

3. Take some time off

Even as a recreational player, it's important to take a total break now and again. The body is very adaptable but constant strain can wear you down over a long period. A week or two where you do nothing more stressful than sit by the pool may be just what you need.

4. Get good at recovery

For top cricketers, 'recovery' is an essential phrase. Glamorgan strength coach Rob Ahmun has told miCricketCoach he considers it one of his most important challenges. There is always another game around the corner and players need to get over the intensity of one match in time for the next. For players involved in multiple sports the issue is exactly the same, so adopt the same methods:

Each aspect alone doesn't seem like much, but the gradual build up of mental and physical tiredness you get by not getting in good recovery could leave you performing well below your best in every sport.

Remember; don't give up on playing other sports you love. Just learn to make them all live harmoniously together It's more fun and better for your cricket.

image credit: kptyson


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