The lazy cricketer's guide to training | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The lazy cricketer's guide to training

Being a good player is a lot of hard work. Technical training takes enough time, but then there is the fitness training, not to mention the actual matches. What do you do when you don't have time to train?

When you are trying to get the most out of the least time, it's smart to find the shortcuts that give you the biggest 'bang for your buck'. So what's the difference between training, and training with brains?

Smart training is focused training

We have all been to net sessions where the aim seems to be nothing more than killing an hour or two in the summer sunshine. Bowlers turn their arm over, batsmen have a hit. Nothing gets achieved.

Similarly, we have all seen the guys in the gym spending 5 minutes or more between sets of bicep curls talking on the phone or chatting to their mates.

The problem is focus: Gentle netting is fine if you have time to kill and just want to be social. Hanging around the gym all day is a dream for the bodybuilders. For the rest of us we need to work with a surgeon's precision, get the work done and get out. It's less effort on your part and will give you just as good results, if not better.

Easily train with focus

When you train with a specific goal in mind you can laser in on your target much more easily. So the first step to saving time in the gym or on the training field is to know exactly what you want.

There is an old cliche that says you can't ride two horses at once. This is just as true from your cricket training. Pick a goal and throw everything into moving towards it as fast as possible. It could be anything from developing an on drive to losing half a stone in weight. The very fact of picking something and sticking with it is enough to make the difference.

If the goal sets the tone, what do you do once you have decided?

How to save time with cricket training

A recent comment left on miCricketCoach is typical of the problem a lot of players face: Not enough time to train, even if you have a specific goal.

Here are some tips to get the best out of the time you have (and even sneak some more in):

  • Streamline. Before you even begin your time saving plan, ask yourself; how much time can you make? I know from experience I often feel I have little time to get things done but find a quick go on the Nintendo Wii turning into an hour playing my young son at 18 holes of fake golf.
  • Combine. You can combine different types of training to make the most of the time you have. The classic example is fielding drills. Here you can work on skills and also improve cricket-specific conditioning. You could also combine interval running with your nets such as researchers at the University of Western Australia are experimenting with.
  • Fill every minute. If you are in the gym you need to rest, but you can use rest times too. For example, you can superset exercises together such as squats and chin ups. As the exercises use different movements your legs still get rest even when you are on the chin up bar and vice versa. You can also safely add warm-up style mobility exercises between sets to resist injury.
  • Take up another sport. A second sport is useful on a number of levels. First, the commitment means you have to find the time to participate. It's amazing how much time you can find when you need to. Secondly, if it is an intermittent-sprint activity (football, rugby, tennis) you can develop skills such as speed and agility.
  • Get specific. There are endless exercises that can improve strength, speed and power but not all of them are specific enough for cricket. Pick exercises that train movement patterns rather than muscles groups. Work in ways that meet your goals. If you want to be strong, for example, use heavy weights for low reps in exercises like the squat, deadlift and bench press.
  • Find a batting buddy. Another trick to find more time: If you train with a buddy you are more likely to stick to your commitments. It could be someone you go to the gym with or someone you train with like a batting buddy.

Train smart and you can be lazy while still improving your game. Good deal huh?


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This is relevant to me too, but perhaps in a different way. I'm a frontline opening/first change bowler in my 40 over team, but with 8 or 9 players expecting to bowl (it's a social team) it's very unlikely i'll ever bowl more than 6 overs, so i've cut training down to interval running, clap press ups/press ups, chin ups and core work, twice a week. Just doesn't seem worth incorporating a bunch of other things!(?) Have managed to persuade someone that it's in their own interest to get fit playing squash against me once a week, so being somewhat selfless works for me too i've just realised!

Sounds sensible Stephen, it's important to do what works and keeps you active first. I would probably throw a few more exercises in for balance: lower body work (especially the hip extension exercises to prevent hamstring trouble) and a lot of stretching/foam rolling.

"more"!? Not what I wanted to hear! Laughing out loud Ah yes I do stretch after the running, guess I forgot about it because i'm fairly flexible, so doesn't seem like much effort. Will take a look at hip extensions though, thanks. Amazing how you come up with original articles after all thism time.