Tuesday, 28 May 2024

The Physical Demands of Professional Cricket

by Andrew Gale, a professional cricketer who has played over 100 1st team games for Yorkshire.

One thing that I constantly get asked as a professional cricketer is how physically fit you have to be. The answer is, without a doubt, yes. In the current county game, there is a wide range of different forms of cricket that require different types of fitness. Let’s explore the physical demands of professional cricket.

Fitness in Different Formats of Cricket

In Twenty20 cricket, the fast and furious side of fitness comes into play. For 3 hours, players are like Duracell bunnies, constantly on their toes. In the 50-over one-day game, aspects of Twenty20 are mixed with a longer game duration of around 6 hours, making it physically exhausting. Then there is the purist game, the County Championship. This format can be as tough as any, requiring players to field for around 250 overs, while also being relied upon to bat for days at a time.

Preparing for the Season

The season finishes in September, and most cricketers take October to relax, spend time with family, or go on holiday. However, it’s important to maintain fitness levels during this time. Personally, I like to do some light fitness exercises three days a week. In November and December, at Yorkshire, we focus on long-distance cardiovascular work to prepare our bodies for the challenges ahead. This includes running 20-30 miles per week and two full body weight sessions.

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Stepping Up Training

After Christmas, the training intensity increases. As a team, we train three times a week, which includes circuits, power lifting, and hill sprints. Our fitness trainer aims to enhance power and speed in our muscles. Cricket primarily involves short, fast movements over an extended period, so hill sprints are an excellent session to help improve performance. Additionally, players start to engage in skill-specific training during this time. Batters focus on batting sessions three times a week, while bowlers work on their bowling skills.

Maintaining Fitness During the Season

The summer schedule for a cricketer can be challenging to manage. It’s common to play a four-day Championship game followed by a one-day game, with traveling in between. Sometimes, we have to be away from home for up to three weeks, living out of hotel rooms. To maintain fitness levels during the season, time management becomes crucial. If I fail during a game, I use that time to go for a run or utilize the gym at the grounds to keep my fitness levels up. We have a dedicated fitness conditioner who tailors sessions to our needs.

Recovery and Self-Care

Recovery is a vital part of a cricketer’s role in managing their own bodies. Ice baths are frequently used after games, and when staying in hotels, we often have team pool sessions to help relieve lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Taking care of our bodies is essential to ensure peak performance.

A Passion for Cricket Coaching

Outside of my professional cricket career, my teammate Chris Taylor and I run a cricket coaching business during the winter months called Pro Coach Cricket Academy. We are proud to deliver cricket coaching to over 4000 children across the UK. What sets us apart is that all our sessions are led by current and ex professional cricketers.

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FAQs

Q: Do cricketers have to be fit?
A: Yes, fitness is crucial for professional cricketers due to the physical demands of the sport.

Q: How do cricketers prepare physically for the season?
A: Cricketers focus on long-distance cardiovascular work, strength training, team sessions, and skill-specific training to enhance their physical readiness.

Q: How do cricketers maintain fitness during the season?
A: Cricketers manage their time effectively, utilizing hotels’ gyms and finding opportunities to exercise between games.

Q: How do cricketers recover after games?
A: Cricketers use ice baths and team pool sessions to aid recovery and relieve muscle soreness.

Conclusion

Being a professional cricketer requires a high level of physical fitness and dedication to training. The demands of different cricket formats necessitate specific fitness preparations, from the fast-paced nature of Twenty20 to the endurance required in the County Championship. Managing fitness during the season and prioritizing recovery are essential to maintaining peak performance. As a passionate cricketer, I also find joy in coaching and sharing my knowledge with aspiring cricket players. If you want to learn more about the physical demands of professional cricket, feel free to visit Auralpressure.