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The Physical Demands of Professional Cricket

by Andrew Gale, a professional cricketer who has played over 100 1st team games for Yorkshire.

One thing that I constantly get asked as a professional cricketer is ...

Do you have to be fit to be a cricketer?

The answer is of course yes, without a doubt. In the current county game there is such a wide range of different forms of cricket that it is hard to break fitness down. In Twenty20 there is the fast and furious side of fitness where for 3 hours you are like a Duracell bunny!! In the 50 over one-day game there are aspects of the Twenty20 game but also the game lasts for around 6 hours so it can be exhausting. Then there is the purist game, the County Championship. This game can be as tough as any, you can field for around 250 over’s in the game and also be relied up on to bat for days at a time.

So how do cricketers prepare physically for the season?

The season finishes at the end of September so most cricketers will spend October relaxing, catching up with Family or going on holiday. I tend to go on holiday but still like to do some sort of light fitness 3 days a week just to maintain the levels.

During November and December at Yorkshire we do a lot of long distance cardio-vascular work to get the miles in the legs preparing our bodies for the ‘onslaught’ after Christmas! Personally I try to do between 20-30 miles per week running on the roads along with 2 full body weight sessions.

After Christmas the training begins to step up. We train as a team 3 times a week which will include circuits, power lifting and hill sprints. Our fitness trainer aims to get the power and speed in to our muscles. Cricket is mainly based around short, fast movements based over a long period of time, so hill sprints is an excellent session to do to help that. During this time the players start to do skill specific training, so the batters will do 3 sessions of batting a week and bowlers will work on bowling skills.

During the summer the schedule for a cricketer is hard to manage. You could play a 4 day Championship game followed the next day by a one day game, followed by a traveling day followed by another Championship game. Sometimes we can be away from home for up to 3 weeks, so being able to live out of hotel rooms is a key part of the job. The ways in which to maintain fitness levels during the season is to manage your time the best you can. As a batsman I will fail during some games which gives me a lot of time sat around watching others score the runs that I should of!! This time can be spent going for a run of using the gym at the grounds to keep the fitness levels up. We have a full time fitness conditioner on hand so he will devise the sessions there and then to suit our needs.

Recovery is also a key part of a cricketer’s role in managing their own bodies. Ice baths are constantly used after games and when we are staying in hotels we often do a team pool session to help relieve the lactic acid out of the muscles.

One of my fellow team mates, Chris Taylor and me also run a cricket coaching business during the winter months called Pro Coach Cricket Academy which delivers cricket coaching to over 4000 children across the UK. We are unique in a way in which all our sessions are delivered by current and ex professional cricketers.

If any of you would be interested please check out our website
Overall I hope I have been able to give you a brief background in to the physical demands of a professional cricketer and the ways we work.

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