The Christmas period comes at a rather funny time for some cricketers. There can be a period of 3 – 4 weeks for players who may not have any games/structured cricket. For some, this is great timing! A bit of a break for those who feel overworked and an ideal time to recharge the batteries and rest up. From a physical sense, it’s important to keep some sort of maintenance if you are off for a longer period, but the rest can be good for some players. For others, this represents a perfect time to fine-tune and build up some confidence in their technique to be able to make a change/impact to their season and get it back on track scoring some more runs or taking more wickets when they return.
If you are the latter and feel you need to keep your body and mind ticking over, you are not alone! I’ve put together a list of 4 activities you can do over the Christmas period to make sure you hit the ground running and are in form come game 1 back after your break.
1. PHYSICAL FITNESS
A great opportunity for you to catch up on your running/strength to ensure your body is in tip-top shape heading back into the last part of the season. Use this time to de-load your body from bowling heavy workloads, ensuring you put your body through some stress so it maintains your level of fitness going back into club cricket. Most players have the 4 weeks off and then go straight back into it bowling for an hour straight and hitting these high workloads without much use in the Christmas period.
TIP – Interval training that simulates cricket conditions is a great way to stay in shape and it doesn’t take too long! You can get a good volume in over 20 – 30 mins.
2. WORK ON YOUR TECHNICAL AREAS WHEN BATTING
Back to basics! I think it’s a good thing to have a rest to recharge the batteries, but if you feel you want to keep moving and training, an emphasis on rehashing the basics through remedial drills will give you that tune-up you need. You may have fallen into bad habits with your training or found a technical flaw has crept into your game over the season and using this time to go back and simplify your training and technique can work wonders for your second half of the season.
TIP – work on areas such as balance, hands/head position, bat plane etc. Basics like hitting the back net, top hand/bottom hand isolation, playing the ball late, moving your feet all the way to the ball or all the way back, making solid decisions. These are all key fundamentals that you can emphasise and work on in a short period that can make massive inroads to your game when you get back to playing your club season.
3. MID-SEASON REVIEW
An underrated area for so many players. You are giving yourself a great opportunity to pause, assess and plan in the middle of your competition. Not many people can say they are able to do that in their chosen sport. If used effectively, this can be a catalyst to growth and increased performance. If neglected, you are well on your way to repeating your bad habits you may have had a chance to correct. Sit back with someone who knows your game well and you respect their opinion. Try and identify key areas of performance that you think you may need to spend time working on. Once you have a clear picture of this, map out a plan on how you are going to work on these individual aspects to ensure that you can make the best impact possible when you start your training back up!
4. IMPROVE NON-PHYSICAL SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE
You can make massive inroads in your development without hitting and bowling thousands of balls each week in your time off. Look at your knowledge of the game, go through any tactical or mental skills required to perform in the game of cricket, and start developing your own blueprint for these.
From our experience some key areas of the game that players lack clarity and understanding in are:
- Understanding what stage of the game you are in and how to play in that situation
- Developing clear batting and bowling plans depending on the type of bowler/batter you are coming up against
- How to set fields effectively
- Using your time between balls effectively
If you are the type of player who doesn’t want to switch off fully during the holiday period I challenge you to look at these 4 options and spend some time on them over this holiday period.
Players need to rest, but they also need to continue to tick over slightly during this time if you are having an extended break. The aim is not to burn you out but ensure that when you do come back to your club training and games, you are adequately prepared physically, mentally, and technically to hit the ground running, avoid injury, and perform at your best!
Enjoy your holiday period, take some time away from cricket and try and avoid burnout. If you are looking to get a bat or ball in hand, make sure you have some structure and add value to the sessions you do. Your time with bat or ball in hand doesn’t have to be at the same level of time as normal training may be but use the time you do have wisely and you will reap the rewards at the back end of the season!
Take care and happy holidays! 🎅🏻🎄
Article Author: Joel Hamilton