How to Use Fielding Drills to Improve Speed and Agility | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How to Use Fielding Drills to Improve Speed and Agility

This article is part of a series designed to show you how to adapt cricket drills for your needs. To see the full list of articles in this series click here.

Traditionalists breathe a sigh of relief: Modern training methods for developing fast and agile cricketers are a waste of time. We should be fielding instead.

I know coaching bags are filled with hurdles, ladders and other “agility” weapons. Coaches are just not trained in how to use them properly. They end up being used simply to justify the expense.

The fact is that speed and agility are not developed with brightly coloured plastic ladders and a copy of SAQ cricket.

A far more effective method is to combine strength training – which develops the ability to produce force quickly – with adapted fielding drills and running between the wickets practice.

Warming up

The missing link between the gym and the practice field is the warm up. Here you can throw in movements under the guise of “getting loose” that improve mobility, balance and running form.

Sprinters work on this all the time. While you are not creating flat out straight sprinters, you can take 10 minutes to warm up well.

Speed and agility drill for cricket

Once warm, you can simply adapt existing drills to focus on cricket-specific speed and agility.

The key points to remember when choosing a drill for speed are:

  • Distances covered by players are short – 10-40m
  • Drills are performed at close to 100% speed
  • Rest times allow full recovery (around 1:6 recovery rate, so a 10 second drill requires 60 seconds rest)

So good examples of drills that focus on developing speed/agility include:

You will notice these drills also develop fielding skills so you get all the movement development you need during a normal training session.

You can also apply the same principle to batting practice. Start with dedicated running between the wickets practice to hone technique then add running drills to your nets and fielding drills (for example the “Take on Me” drill above).

Remember to keep the focus on quality of movement and turning; rest times are high. These drills are for pure speed and not conditioning. There is no need to gas your players.

Keep things short and sharp, making sure players have a day or two recovery between speed sessions, and that’s all you need.

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Hi David, I agree speed and agility is a very important attribute for a good cricketer to have. And I also share your distaste for slow jogging (unless for recovery purposes with stretching afterwards).

For me cricket is split up into: Strength/power, speed/agility, mobility and flexibility, skills (eg, batting or bowling). But I also would like to know how to put a bigger emphasis on lung capacity, is this called conditioning? At the moment I have 2 sessions focussing solely on running:

- One speed session: eg. 10X 100m sprints with 1 min rest between
- One heart/lung capacity session: eg. 15 sets of 15 sec sprints with 30 sec rest between (so it is as close to sprinting as possible while getting the heart rate up really high)

Do you think the second session would be a good way to improve my lung capacity? (to help me avoid ever being puffed out in the game)

Good question Deano, long answer is here