Cricket is a game of planning and plotting from captains, batsmen and bowlers. Why should your preparation for playing be any different? A good plan will allow you to develop your cricket fitness and cricket skills as fast and effectively as possible. Quite simply: Cricketers who plan and prepare are fitter, faster, stronger and more skilful.
Where to begin?
Before you plan you need to know your own goals. You can do this by following my cricket goal setting guide.
Once you have this you can create your plan. A good training plan is specific to your individual goals but follows a core idea called periodisation. In other words, you split up your training into different periods, each with a specific target. Usually you plan around a full year. The year can be split broadly into 3 periods (sport science boffins call them macrocycles):
- Competition Period. Your normal cricket season where the focus is on maintaining fitness and skills.
- Recovery Period. A short period following the end of the cricket season designed to allow you to recover.
- Preparation Period. Where the focus is on developing all the skills and fitness for the season.
Some players may find this does not apply (for example if you play in a hot country that has year round cricket) but for club players in most countries these periods fit one way or another.
Competition Period (In Season)
During the season your focus will be on playing so this is the period to build your year around. Training will be mainly skill based (nets, fielding practice). Your season length will vary depending on the level and country you play. Work out how many weeks you will be actively playing. During these weeks do as much skills training as time allows and focus your fitness work on one element at a time to improve.
Recovery Period (Off Season)
After a hard season your body needs time to recover and rest. This is the time to take a break from training. This time can be as short as 2 weeks or as long as 8 weeks depending on how you feel.
Most players take 4-5 weeks recovery. However, you should still aim to be doing something during this period. Gentle swimming, flexibility training, cycling or 'low impact' exercise machines in the gym a couple of times a week is fine.
Preparation Period (Off season and preseason)
After recovering, you can begin to work towards next season. This period is the most complex and personalised part of your planning.
The preparation phase is broken into smaller periods with individual goals (mezocycles) with the aim of building up towards the start of the cricket season.
Before you can workout a detailed preparation phase you will need to know how long it is. In UK club cricket this period will be around 17-26 weeks before the start of the season. In India the period is much less.
This is an area I cover in more detail in my free guide to plannning your training. You can click here to get it.
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