The current winter is certainly different to any I encountered during my professional cricket career. Going in and out of lockdowns can make it difficult to plan effectively and keep hitting the gym, but it’s important to focus on the fundamental practices you can do to give yourself a better chance at being stronger, fitter and more robust come next season.
Pre-season is anytime before the next season. Don’t wait until the last few months or weeks before you head down to the gym and start training to capacity trying to make up for the last six months. Starting sooner rather than later allows you to hit the odd road bump and still keep going.
Build a solid foundation
Build on the structures of the body. Whether you’re at home or in the gym, focus not on the funky one arm cable exercises (although I love them) but think about the big movements that the body needs to be competent at in general. Hinging at the hips, shoulder capsule mobility, ankle stability, shoulder blade control, knee integrity, to name but a few. Many of these structural issues can be improved with the big five lifts – done correctly that is. These are: squat; deadlift; row/pull up; overhead shoulder press; bench press. Remember this is not the only focus, and mobility and fitness should not be discarded, but getting these lifts strong will certainly keep you in the game as you develop other areas of your cricket fitness. Kinetic Cricket has a full breakdown of these lifts and how to use effective progressive overload to develop your strength and robustness.
Aim to be better than you were, not the finished article
One of my favourite phrases as a fitness, nutrition and wellness coach is “Be less wrong today than you were yesterday”. Simply put, strive for growth not for perfection. You will enjoy the process far better if you achieve small wins every other day rather than the end-goal feeling a million miles away. Sometimes this may mean pulling the pin on a workout if you feel a niggle, sometimes it may mean holding yourself back, even if you feel you can do that one last rep or lift just a fraction more. Train smart, don’t chase perfection.
Focus on your weaknesses and mobility issues
Mobility is often banded together with flexibility and suppleness. I was fortunate to be fairly mobile during my career which helped, being a wicketkeeper, but I have trained hundreds of people who find certain movements very difficult especially through their shoulders and their mid-backs. These mobility issues have an immediate impact on your technique which in turn can have an immediate effect on runs and wickets!
Shed some pounds
Cricket is very much a confidence game, and although feeling confidence can and should come from inside, there’s no doubt that looking in good shape, feeling trim and carrying less timber gives anyone a boost. The summer is often a time of big lunches and even bigger jugs at the end of a good win so enjoy them without feeling like your waistline is getting away from you. Fat loss can be simple and hard at the same time. A structured fat loss plan such as the Kinetic Cricket ‘fat funeral’ can certainly point you in the right direction.