Time is your absolute asset at training. We generally only get to be around the group and have instant access to coaches, training partners etc for 3-5 hours a week, depending on the level you play and your training schedule.
The rest of your work is done in your own time.
You NEED to make to most of every single minute you have at training.
Here’s my top 4 things that you can do to to maximise your time at training and I guarantee, done consistently will have a HUGE impact on where you end up as a player.
1. PICK UP BALLS FASTER & WITH INTENT
It seems so obvious, but SO many players waste a lot of time picking up pellets in between drills or machine buckets.
Aside from just generally showing hustle while doing it, the best and fastest way to pick up a lot of balls is knock them all into a corner of the net, walk up with the bag or bucket and grab them together all at once.
A lot of players dawdle around picking them up one by one or even worse, hit them back towards the bowler/thrower/machine, and they go everywhere out the end of the net.
Wasting time on such a simple and controllable task is average - don’t do it.
2. LEAVE ON AS MUCH GEAR AS YOU CAN
Again simple, but you’d be surprised how many players take off their helmet, both gloves, both inners and leave them 10-15m away when it’s their turn to throw/feed.
The time it takes you to take that gear off and put it on again when it’s your turn to bat you could have hit 10-15 more balls.
Leave your non throwing hand’s glove/inner on. Even your helmet if it’s a short turn around. Keep your gear close.
3. SHOW SOME URGENCY
Don’t move to the next drill/station like a sloth that’s just woken up from a nap!
Show some urgency and jog between drills. Be waiting to go when it’s your turn next.
It’s not hard but the 30 seconds you save really adds up.
4. HAVE A DOWN TIME PLAN
The single biggest time waster at cricket training is standing there having a yarn after you’ve had a bat or you’re not clear on what you should be doing next.
Batsmen are the worst for it - standing at the kits bags after taking their gear off talking about how bad the umpires decision was on the weekend ? ?.
In all seriousness, you need to have a plan with what you’re going to do during down time.
No matter what environment you’re in and how well prepared your coach is, there is going to be down time at cricket training.
Go into every training session with 3 down time options that correlate with something you want to work on.
Here’s a list of simple things you can do in down time.
- Throw at a stump.
- Fitness or agility work.
- Practice getting in and out when running between wickets (also works on fitness).
- Focus ball work.
- Reflex catching on a wall.
- Bat tapping - hand on handle, start on face and progress on to edge (I’ve got an awesome bat tapping game called around the world, if you want it flick me an email firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Juggling and ball handling drills.
WITH A PARTNER
- High catches - do 20 in a row, make your partner work (this also incorporates fitness).
- Short catches off the face.
- Competitive fitness - you’ll always get more out of it. Always.
- Throwing to a mitt - work on really giving it a rip. (If you don’t have a baseball mitt get one. They’re 30 bucks and they’re a staple).
- Throw downs - work on something specific.
- Target bowling in the middle. Go out to the centre and get used to running in to bowl at each end.
- Have a conversation - discuss bowling plans, batting plans or even give each other some honest feedback on what you think their strengths and weaknesses are and what you think they need to do to take their game to the next level.
THE COMPOUND EFFECT
How about this…
I’m going to make some assumptions (very conservative ones) and say that…
You waste at least 10 minutes every training session in ‘down time’ - talking, doing nothing…whatever.
Picking balls up faster, leaving gear on and showing urgency is going to save you AT LEAST 5 minutes every session.
That’s 15 minutes a session and 30 minutes a week (conservatively) that you waste.
If you train for 8 months of the year that’s 960 minutes or 16 hours a season.
Lets say you’re going to play 15 more years of cricket, that’s 240 hours.
240 hours of quality, purposeful training that you can add to the bank with not a lot of effort.
How many balls could you hit, bowl, catch in 240 hours?
What would that do for your game?
Author: Nick Fitzpatrick - ACI Co-Founder & Coach