I chose cricket as my sport because it is one sport that I enjoy and I can play reasonably well in but I want to improve my fitness for specific requirements of the game. I am usually bowling which I believe I need to improve on in terms of endurance, both muscular and cardiovascular. I play limited over games in which I am only allowed to bowl 4 overs as a result of the league rules. Usually I bowl one after the other, so my fitness doesn’t have to be that high but if I was playing test cricket where the game could go on for five days it would have to be of a very high standard or there is a very high risk of injury. Also in future years when I join the senior side I will also be able to bowl unlimited overs that will place a great deal of stress on my muscular endurance.
To improve my fitness I will use a weight training program. This I believe will improve my upper body strength if it is tailored to suit my specific needs. In cricket the bowler requires both explosive strength and speed, combined with good muscular endurance in order to be able to maintain good performance and speed of bowling over a high number of overs. Poor fitness and lack of muscular strength will result in inaccurate bowling and a greater risk of injury, especially for the more high-speed seam bowlers
Fielders need the ability to sustain a concentrated effort for a 6-hour plus period without the onset of fatigue, and in some times very warm conditions. Their bodies must be capable of explosive bursts at any given time – such as running for a ball or jumping for a catch. Advice given to fielders is to aim to keep their body moving whilst on the pitch, walking and stretching whenever possible as to enable to keep their muscles warm and ready for the explosive spurts whilst on the pitch.
Batting is my stronger aspect in cricket with an average of over 20 runs a game, but there is still room for improvement in this area. Batsman aim to stay at the crease for as long as possible, sometimes for a period of four hours. In order to occupy this position a good batsman must be able to stay focussed, have good hand/eye coordination skills and have the strength to make each shot played count. Because all players at some time in the game play a combination of batting and fielding I believe that aerobic training, speed work but primarily strength work will help me improve my fitness in cricket.
I believe that when I do aerobic training like jogging and going on the treadmill in the gymnasium it should be done twice in a week lasting around 30-45 minutes. I shall not be putting 100% in to this with my heart rate being around 60-75% of the maximum given as 220 – My age. This is 203, therefore 60% of this figure and I shall work at approximately 121 beats per minute. This is ‘The ability of a person to exert maximum force from a muscular contraction’. Exercises to improve my strength can come in many forms but I will be focusing on weight training using specific machines at my local gym and its fitness suite.
Training principles such as overload and specificity will be the key to my improvement in cricketing performance as it is in any other sports training. To gain the best of strength training you have to determine your 1 repetition maximum. This is the heaviest weight you can lift at one time on a machine. To assess the starting point of a training programme and provide a clear point of progression you may use 1 RM (repetition maximum)
A 1 RM figure is a guide to use when considering loading. A 1RM is a weight you could lift one time only in good form, but not twice. A guideline for strength training is stated as 80% of your 1 RM, performing 6-8 reps and up to 3-4 sets. I am doing these exercises because I need to build up my upper body strength to cope with the continuous strain of bowling during the game. I chose sit ups to work on my abdominal muscles and press ups to work on my chest area for muscular endurance. The bench presses, tricep dips, bicep curls, pec deck, chest flys and lateral raises are all exercises which I believe will help me with my upper body strength. These exercises will help me to become a more consistent bowler and hopefully improve the pace at which I bowl.
Plan of action
I will do two sessions a week of weight training with the session lasting approximately 1 hour. I will allow myself one minutes rest between each sets before moving to the next exercise. Before I start the exercises I will warm up by doing a jog of around 800 metres before I perform a 10 minute run at 60% of my maximum heart rate. I will then perform a series of stretches before the weight training and also a light stretch before working at each station.
A stretch off will reduce the risk of injury during the training and also prevent any muscle shortening as a result of the strength training. The stretches will be based primarily on my upper body by stretching my arms, shoulders and back, and after doing the exercises I will cool down by doing a jog again of around 800 metres and then stretching off using the same stretches I used during the warm up.
After the training After I have done 12 – 14 sessions of the training programme I will re-test my 1 Repetition Maximum levels on the same machines as previously to assess whether my programme has led to any improvements in upper body strength This is an example of the sheet I will use to record my training. This will show which of the exercises I performed and how I found the training session. I will also highlight any considerations that I believe would benefit my next training session.