Once described as 'organised loafing', cricket is seen as one of the more genteel of sports. On the surface, it appears that there is little to compare it with the physical demands of power sports like football or rugby.
So why ask if cricket is a power sport or not?
Simply put, if you want to improve your game, you need to know what demands your body is under so you can train in the right way. Train wrong and you are wasting your efforts.
This is especially important to me at the moment as I am reading a new book on developing sport performance through power. In it we learn that aerobic performance (that is your heart and lungs efficiency developed through running) is no indicator of performance in power sports.
In other words, running won't make you better at power sports.
To know if this is true for cricket, we need to know if cricket has a significant power requirement or not.
Defining Cricket Power
Power is the balanced combination of speed and strength. If you imagine a scale with pure speed at one end and pure strength at the other, then power sits right in the middle.
A power sport is defined by what its participants do. So athletics events like the 100m sprint or the shot put both require a great deal of power: a short burst of energy to get over the line or hurl the shot put, often followed by long periods of recovery.
On the other hand, marathon running requires virtually no power, taking place over a great distance and using a slow burn of energy.
Now let's look at cricket movements:
- Fielding: Standing and walking for long periods interspersed with short, powerful sprints to chase the ball and return it.
- Batting: standing waiting for the bowler to bowl, hitting the ball with power and timing, sprinting or running between the wickets.
- Wicketkeeping: Standing waiting for a delivery, running up to the stumps, diving to get to the ball.
- Seam Bowling: Walking to the mark, running in, exploding into action.
- Spin Bowling: Walking to the mark, jogging in, using your whole body to deliver the ball and generate pivot.
Apart from perhaps spinners, all those actions are short, fast and powerful with long rest/recover periods.
Which means cricket may not be a sport of pure power, it certainly has a larger power requirement than most people realise.
So much so that in the 1999 World Cup, the South African squad were as fit as their rugby counterparts.
If we go back to the scale we talked about earlier, we could say that cricket sits somewhere between pure speed and pure power.
Certainly enough to be considered a power sport: Which means cricketers need to train for speed, agility and power.
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