Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What to do during the off season - Cricket

There's been some discussion about what to do during the off-season if you play cricket. Personally I'd love to carry on playing indoors, but there doesn't seem to be many opportunities to do so, I did consider in the summer getting some of the old MPA crew together and somehow cobble a team together and join a league if such a thing is possible, but I'd forgotten about it and it's too late now.

Over the last few years whilst the kids were young I was able to carry on playing and mucking about with them, but as they're now 15 and 13 it's slightly more difficult to get them to do that, although they do if I ask them, but a part of me doesn't want to over do it and put them off of cricket. As I was learning and struggling with the Googly syndrome I used to put a lot of effort into training and I used to get out as much as I could during the winter, practicing 3 or more times a week. I'm less inclined to do that these days and since last year when I hardly did anything over the winter because of Joe's leg incident. I found going into the season this year, despite the fact that I'd hardly practiced, things went better and I continued with an approach where I practiced less and therefore didn't over-analyse what I was doing. I kind of found that by practicing in shorter bursts, but being more focussed on what it was that I wanted to achieve and limiting those goals, things came together in a different way. So this winter I'm going to repeat that process.

Fitness, strength, agility, stamina.

What I have noticed is that I don't get a good start to the season seemingly because I'm simply not fit enough and the main aspect of this seems to be strength. I'm a teacher, so I don't do a lot of physical exertion as a part of my job, especially upper body strength, which of course for a wrist spinner, arms and shoulders and core strength are essential. Once into the season and with general summer activities with my two sons, my fitness levels start to increase and by the time we get to late June things are starting to come together. But that means I've usually bowled poorly through all of May and all of June almost, which isn't good.

So over this winter, I'm going to focus on Fitness, strength and flexibility, hoping that stamina just comes along naturally as it's something I'm usually okay with. One of my gripes with these kind of things is the time factor, so I can't be doing with spending loads of time huffing and puffing doing this stuff. So, I've been looking for a way to do it that makes good use of down-time and the approach I've come up with at the moment is this.

Using this video here, I've taken these exercises and at the moment reduced the time spent doing each one down by about 50%. What I'm doing is... When I get an opportunity to do the sequence, I go though it - I've just done it amidst writing the blog and I did it earlier waiting for a kettle to boil for a cup of tea. So anytime there's a few minutes I'll do it, the hope is that I'll build the strength slowly but surely and increase the reps over a period of time till I'm doing the full five minute version 3 or more times a day. I have modified the drill slightly as I don't do the burpee jumps at the end instead I do this exercise here as it's specific to my own bowling - improving my deltoids and shoulder (Rotator cuff).

Hopefully going into winter nets I'll be in a better place with regards to my upper body strength and the transition into the new season a lot better? The only other thing I'm still working on is flexibility and balance, I'm looking for a similar sequence of yoga moves that'll help with that aspect. Once I find one I'll add that to my drills.