Preseason training | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Preseason training

There are a number of elements that anyone intending to play grade cricket should be addressing in the pre-season period. Some are specific to the roles you fulfil in a team (batsman, spinner, seamer, quick…) while while others need to be addressed by everyone. I will discuss them under a number of particular headings:

Strength: Strength aids in the production of energy that translates to power in motion. Strength also allows the player to remain stable and in control of their movements. Core strength is particularly important in this regard. The stronger you are coming into competition, the more capable you are of performing at your best. All players should be on a structured weights program specific to their individual needs.

Endurance: It goes without saying that if you can outlast your opponent physically and mentally on the cricket field you will go a long way towards defeating them on the scoreboard! Endurance also allows you to spend longer training and developing or improving technique. To develop greater endurance one must WORK – hard and often! Of course, overwork can lead to injury. As with all aspects of developing your game, PLANNING IS CRUCIAL!

Flexibility: To perform any powerful repetitive movement in cricket, a player must be flexible! Flexibility allows momentum to be generated and converted into power without injury. Players must continually work at improving their flexibility by performing a regular daily stretching routine. The value of this stretching routine can be greatly enhanced if the player uses the time they are stretching in a meditative and reflective manner!

If the player takes 20 minutes a day to stretch and – while stretching – they reflect on such questions as “What should I be working on today/this week?”; “Did I achieve what I wanted to yesterday/last week?”; “What are my short/medium/long term goals?”; “How am I going to achieve my short/medium/long term goals?” the players focus and organisation must improve and this will have a positive impact on their performance!

Across the ground: Speed is an asset to all players. Unfortunately, it is a physical gift that is very difficult to greatly improve. Technique and strength are major components and once these have been developed, most athletes are looking at very small incremental improvements, if any. However, if a maintenance program is not followed, speed can be lost quite quickly. Through the pre-season period, all players should be focussing on correct running technique as often as possible and attempting to develop as much speed across the ground as possible. The "Step Up" exercises we focus on at Activate can strengthen the "Posterior Chain" and strength in this area has been shown to produce poser and control in the sprinter.

Agility: Agility is the ability to change direction and pace quickly. This is another skill that is a pre-requisite for successful cricket and – unlike speed across the ground – this skill can be developed and enhanced quite significantly through drills and activities. Players should be performing such activities as skipping to develop their agility in the pre-season period. This site is full of agility drills that can add variety to your programs and keep your sessions fresh.

Everyone will be revisiting specific technical skills relating to their individual roles within a team. With any technical skill, players must focus on the movements they are making and ACTIVELY try to “feel the movement” until the movement is thoroughly learned!

Short catching: All players should be constantly attempting to improve the quality of their fielding! In the pre-season period, players must focus on the basic elements of catching in a very thoughtful and deliberate manner. This means they must be ACTIVELY thinking about the following:

a. Initial stance – hands low, feet shoulder width apart, weight on the inside of the feet and coming forward with neck and shoulders relaxed.

b. Movement to the ball – not just hands! Feet and head must also get into the best position so that the ball can be caught in the most comfortable position.

c. Catching with soft hands – self-explanatory! But using the wrists and elbows as shock absorbers can assist in developing soft hands.

Long Catching: In the pre-season period, players should once again be concentrating on the elements of successful long catching. These include:

a. Movement to the ball - This is where speed across the ground is a great asset! Players should work at developing speed in an attempt to take each long catch in a comfortable and stable position.

b. Soft hands - Players should experiment with comfortable and effective hand positions so that they can catch with soft hands. Wrists and elbows are important shock absorbers for all long catching.

It must be stressed that all players in the pre-season period need to actively think about each of the elements on every catch until the movements become automatic!

Throwing: In the pre-season period, players must revisit their throwing technique. They must make sure they are warmed up properly before they attempt to throw with any power. The movements should be gradually energised with distance thrown gradually increased. Technique must be the focus! As with catching, think hard about your movements when throwing – this is the only way to develop good technique.

Batsmen: The pre-season period must be used to practice correct technique with an emphasis on footwork and body position. Movements are much more important than shots at this early stage of the season! Stance, backlift and initial movements have got to be rock solid if you are going to spend any time in the middle as the season progresses so let’s get them right now! The other major element of batting that should be addressed in the pre-season period is WATCHING THE BALL. Work at picking up the ball and the seam as early as possible – practice it actively and you will develop better fine focus.
Try and acquire all of your equipment before the season starts so you can get used to its weight and feel.

Bowlers: All bowlers - regardless of their style or role within a team - should spend the next few weeks building rhythm, stamina and CONTROL. The bulk of your time in the nets should be spent bowling your stock delivery. Away from the nets, you should be working on flexibility and endurance.
Players who have grown taller during the off-season will have to get used to different delivery points and changing run ups. Be patient and accept the challenge of finding the best approach and action for the “new you”!

As far as impressing the selectors go – the thing that will impress them the most is a good attitude and an apparent willingness to work to get better! If you have these and a degree of ability we will persevere with you. On the other hand, if you have a degree of ability but you don’t appear to be working hard and listening to advice, don’t expect to graded. In fact, don’t even expect to be asked back next week!

Remember - most coaches are approachable and willing to work with you. If they think you are progressing satisfactorily, they may not be saying much to you. They are likely to be spending time helping players who they see are making mistakes. DON't THINK THAT YOU ARE NOT BEING IGNORED! If they are not “coaching” you it’s probably because they don’t think you need it!

So there it is guys – nothing new or revolutionary. As with many things related to sport, success is based in solid preparation and performing the basics correctly every time. Get used to working at them now and have a great season!

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He leído tus artículos dos veces queriendo encontrar algo diferente y la realidad es
que de esta manera pasa. Cada que leo tus artículos encuentro algo
nuevo. Te juro que llevo no menos de 3 horas leyendo cada entre las cosas
que has escrito y me parecen geniales. Espero que no creas que intento acosarte jeje.
Ya en serio, quiero decirte que es una agradable experiencia
poder encontrarme con gente que tiene grandes habilidades con las letras.
Espero que prosigas de este modo y que si se da el momento, podamos
conocernos. Saludos!