The game-heavy schedule a professional cricketer endures throughout the summer months is a difficult period physically and one where improving physically has to give way to recovery between games and maximising small window training opportunities. The upside of playing a summer sport however is the fact that from October until March can be dedicated to physical and technical development. This lengthy off season really gets my coaching juices flowing and has me bouncing out of bed to go to work even on these cold mornings.
At Yorkshire we are 2 weeks into the winter training
The players have had a good break to rest and regenerate and know the hard work preparing for the 2017 campaign starts now. So far we spent the first week assessing and screening the players to build an in depth picture of them as a group and individually. I start with a blueprint of how I feel the winter should look with broad strokes of phase emphasis. I meet with coaches and we work how best to integrate the skills and physical sessions. Then the lead physiotherapist and I go over the testing and screening to individualise the programmes according to what the results.
With such a long off season, I do feel lucky compared to some sports that virtually get no time between seasons ending and starting. I thoroughly believe in spending some time each year on the fundamentals. Stripping training back a little remembering we are all on an athletic development pathway underpinned by our movement vocabulary and the broader that is the better. It is sometimes tempting to throw the sexy stuff in to your programming before your athletes have earn’t the right to get there but even if you have consolidating rock solid foundations if you have time is my preference. “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe”
So my winter programme has same theme as usual with the odd curve ball in there to keep the players guessing and most importantly engaged.
We build some general training tolerance and capacity in the time between now and Christmas.
In the New Year we have two phases that sit alongside cricket skills. My aim is to taper volume of S&C as the volume of skills increases towards pre-season tour in March whilst working through this classic model each winter.
There is a nice buzz about the place at the moment. This could be just early winter training enthusiasm but with a new head cricket coach and bigger numbers than usual this winter the atmosphere is really energising. I am hoping that even track sessions on cold rainy mornings will not dampen the spirits.
There is nothing like some shared hardship for building togetherness in teams. It is good for character and soul in my opinion.
Ian D Fisher
Lead S&C Coach Yorkshire CCC