Martin Crowe, dodgy knees and all, announces his comeback to cricket at 48 years old. In the same week 46 year old boxer Bernard Hopkins became light-heavyweight world boxing champion.
Who says sport is for young men?
These men in their 40s – and countless thousands of others at amateur levels – prove that you can keep sport in your life without making a fool of yourself.
So how do you follow Crowe and adapt to your changing needs as you get older?
There are precious few men who are aged over 40 without fistfuls of commitments. That means your number one priority is to free up enough time to be able to play, practice and recover from playing and practicing.
How much time do I need?
Everyone is different so there is no hard and fast answer to how much time you need to set aside for cricket. Far be it from me to prevent the older guy who enjoys his 35 over Sunday match from doing just that and nothing else.
But even 20 overs hurt for a few days afterwards.
I know because I keep wicket in my mid-thirties. I have already learned that it’s as much about the right preparation and recovery as it is about the match. So here is my 4 step strategy, with a rough idea of how much time it’s all going to take:
- Prepare (1-4 hours a week): As you age preparation is about halting the decline and thinking ahead to next day aches and soreness. Training for strength 2-3 times a week covers both these factors (and improves overall health). Throw in an hour of cricket training with BATEX and/or fielding drills to strengthen your cricket specific muscles against aches, injuries and decline in power output.
- Eat Right (none): Everyone needs vegetables, protein and omega-3 fats from whole food sources. As an older player this is even more important as a healthy diet speeds up recovery between games and reduces the age related knee, shoulder and back-aches. Eat well every day, including match days.
- Warm Up and Play (1-2 days per week): Of course its games that take the most time, and worse, these days you can’t just rock up 5 minutes before play and jog out to take your place at slip. Warming up before play lets you mobilise your joints. So skip the football match and foam roll and stretch before knocking up.
- Recover (1 hour a week): Throughout the week you can get your body back ready for action with a few minutes of daily foam rolling and static stretching. Personally I spend 10 minutes before bed stretching and it makes a huge difference to my recovery time while reducing aching knees.
Make a plan
So let’s say your plan is 2 gym sessions, one training session and a game per week. Whatever it is, it’s easy to turn the whole thing into a “project”.
Sit down and write down how you are going to put the project into action. Think about the desired outcome and what steps you need to take.
As you are already thinking, you also need to work out how to get your other half to buy into the idea of you spending time away from the family. Far be it from me to offer relationship advice, but you are looking to self-improve with better diet and fitness which has to be a win-win, right?
Take specific actions from you plan and put them somewhere you know you will do them. Schedule gym and training time in a calendar. Plan your meals ahead of time so you have a shopping list of ingredients before you enter the supermarket. Put time aside to read PitchVision Academy articles like the ones linked here.
I recommend Getting Things Done for more details on projects, planning and tacking action.
Stay with us...
There is no reason to give up cricket if you still love playing. A lot of older guys use other commitments as a reason to stop. The real reason is they don’t have the will to plan it out carefully enough, end up sore and in an argument with the wife and just gradually stop playing.
You can avoid all that.
The fact is, all those things are preventable with the right plan put into action. Use Martin Crowe as your poster boy if you like, but stick with it and you can still enjoy those warm summer afternoons with runs, wickets and wins.