Success on the cricket pitch, like in any sport, is directly related to how well you plan your preparation. Or in other words, to get to where you want to be you need a map to follow no matter what level you play at.
Traditionally, cricket planning has followed a periodisation model. This is an old system that was popularised 20 years ago in Communist countries. In modern times, we continue to follow the rules of periodisation but times have changed and we need to adapt it to meet the needs of the club cricketer.
Gambetta (2007) outlines why we need to adapt the old model:
- Decline in basic fitness levels
- Longer competitive seasons (or multiple sports)
- Eastern Bloc drug use
- Better knowledge of fitness principles
How to plan for better cricket performance
Vern Gambetta has successfully developed a new way of planning your year based on training blocks. Each block has a specific objective in a similar way to the 3 periods of the old model.
- Introductory Block. Used to learn new skills, tactics or techniques.
- Preparatory Block. 6 week blocks of time used to focus on developing fitness out of season.
- Competition Block I. Used during less important parts of the season or during a 2nd sport competitive season.
- Competition Block II. Used during important parts of the competitive season.
- Transition Block. The focus is on recovery or rehabilitation without losing fitness levels.
Each block has a main theme that is emphasised (but not exclusive) like strength, speed or power. Generally speaking, strength and work capacity are developed first as they lead easily into speed, agility and power.
21 Day Cycles
Based on the blocks theme, they are broken down into 21 day cycles (except transition blocks which are usually 14-28 days and competition II blocks which are 7-14 days).This is a break from the usual 7 day cycle but allows you to do more with better recovery between workouts. To make a 6 week block you use a single 21 day cycle to develop a fitness component and the same cycle again to stabilise your improvements.
For example, a work capacity themed 21 day cycle in a preparatory block might contain 8 interval training workouts, 2 high intensity interval workouts, 5 circuit training workouts, 3 core workouts (as part of the circuit training), 5 active rest days and daily flexibility.
You can see how, although work capacity is the emphasis, other factors are not being neglected.
Using this block/cycle method, you can adapt things to your own needs more specifically. It's also much easier to use this system as you only need to think ahead to what your themes are for the year, then plan your workouts in 21 day blocks rather than trying to do a whole year in one go. Finally, you can train for cricket fitness even when you are playing another sport or in an extended season (like I know happens in many countries).© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008