Working out your cricket pre-season

The focus is on developing overall fitness rather than being skill specific.

Former Indian cricket team physical trainer Ramji Srinivasan at his fitness centre in Chennai helps an athlete in single leg eccentric squats.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

It is the most important preparatory period to enhance performance and improve on one’s fitness aspect to get the desired results in the following during the season.

* Speed

* Power

* Endurance

* Strength

* Agility

* Reflex And Peripheral Awareness

* Proactive Reflex

* Reactive Reflex

* Stability And Mobility

* Flexibility

* Breathing Technique

Keeping skill as a separate entity to train, the game generally needs to have speed (running between the wickets, bowlers’ run-ups) or have fast access to powerful movements (bowling, throwing, and hitting a ball). Endurance is also needed to be able to do this while tired (batting after a long fielding session, for example).

Stability during landing phase in bowling and stance phase for batting, flexibility on all muscle groups for movement and joint angle efficiency, breathing technique for running during bowling or fielding or running between the wickets and also for recovery between each ball.

INITIAL PHASE

Medical check up/ physio assessment/ fitness testing/ diet counselling/ cognitive behaviour analysis/ debriefing with the players.

PHASE 1. FOUNDATION

At the beginning of your off-season training you will have just come back from a competition phase or you may be planning your off-season training for the first time. Either way, you will need to build up a solid foundation for the coming season. Here the focus is on developing overall fitness rather than being skill specific. This period should last around 8-10 weeks depending on loads of factors.

SKILL-BASED TRAINING

Train the movement, not the muscle alone for the programme to be functional and effective during the tough season ahead.

Once a base foundation fitness is achieved through various means, one can start to become more specific and begin to bring skill-based training. While each programme is individualised, all the players work on their specific needs around the targets to be achieved at every stage.

1. Need analysis

2. Acute programme variables

3. Programme manipulation

4. Specialised programme for batters, pacers, spinners and ’keepers

5. Target to be achieved at every phase

Reason for the goals is to achieve peak performance during the season ahead without injuries or niggles.

How to go about it — Pointers to follow

* Focus on clear long-term, mid-term and short-term objectives and what aspects of fitness need to be improved.

* Target your injury weakness through physio assessment with proper programme protocols.

Ramji teaching how to do the prone row exercise.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

 

* Build intensity and volume in progression and do it gradually.

* Proper technique: The most important factor is how one lifts and not how much one can lift.

* Multi-planar or multi-jointed workout is the key than isolation movement mechanics.

* Each programme is tailor-made, so stick to the programme designed.

* Incorporate proper diet pattern during all phases of your training.

* Stick to the load, reps, tempo, rest and recovery for all training processes.

* Understand and focus on the muscle which you are working on to get the desired mind-body connect.

* Body composition goals regarding fat% and lean muscle mass% need to be achieved.

* Recovery is as important as training whether it is active or passive protocols to enhance performance. Recovery protocols should be smart in sending the right signals to the muscle and the brain from adaptation into a recovery pattern mode.