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A Week In The Life Of A Pro-Cricketer!

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We don't like cricket...we LOVE it...

We are official partners of Middlesex Cricket and we wanted to give you guys an insight into what a pro cricketers working week is like. So we asked their lead strength and conditioning coach what it was all about...

But first of all...who is their lead S & C coach...

“Andy Mitchell is the lead strength and conditioning coach for Middlesex County Cricket Club having previously had experience working with Somerset County Cricket Club and Derby County Football Club. Andy graduated from Loughborough University’s Sport Science degree program in 2011 before going on to complete an MSc in Strength and Conditioning from St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Alongside his role at Middlesex CCC Andy helps support the most talented under 19 cricketers in the country and works as a consultant on the England Cricket Young Lions program supporting players domestically and in international tours and tournaments.”

Intro
Cricket, as a sport has changed considerably over the last 15 – 20 years from being relatively amateur where players would turn up on March the 1st and play through to the end of September before disappearing off a different job for the winter months. During games, players would pop out the back for a fag or throw down pie and chips for lunch and there would be very little if any additional physical conditioning.
In the modern game, cricketers are expected to perform 12 months of the year across the world for ever-increasing sums of money. Coupled with this expectation comes the need for players to be stronger, fitter and more robust than ever to deal with the physical demands of a sport that can, at times, be very intense as well as a very high volume. Below is a typical week in the build-up to a county championship 4-day game.

2 days before the game starts
The biggest training day of the week. We’ll start each training session or match day with 5 minutes for the players to work through their own targeted injury prevention exercises. This also serves as a nice way to start the day and get players minds focussed on the tasks ahead. After physical prep (and usually a light-hearted kick around with the youngsters vs the oldies in football) the players will get through a decent volume of fielding work before heading into the nets. This is also the day the players will be targeted for additional conditioning, speed work or gym-based strength work.
Before training, we’ll have a look over the previous 7 days workload at exactly what each player has done and make a decision on what physical top-ups they need to do during this session. Cricket is a team sport, but each individual can play a dramatically different role in each game – think of a batsman who gets out for 2 low scores vs a fast bowler who has to bowl 50 overs, they each played the same game but one has done drastically more work.
Each player has an individual physical conditioning program with session load and volume tapered depending on what work they’ve done in the past week and what work we expect them to do in the coming 7 days. It’s a conversation between the backroom staff, the cricket coaches and the players as to what additional work gets done to best prepare them physically.

1 day before the game starts
Very much a player led session where the players get through the work they choose to best prepare for the game starting the next day. Everything will be put on for them – nets, fielding, gym, etc and they are able to take their pick as to what they want to do to prepare themselves.
During this session, I will also prepare a document for the coaching staff on the physical readiness to perform of the playing group. This document includes information on the players previous 7 days workload, a % ratio of this workload in comparison to the previous 4 weeks, a summary of wellness questions and some jump scores along with a paragraph from me summarising the information quickly for the coaches so as to help make selection decisions. This information also helps us plan the next week's physical work for players not involved in the first XI or players returning to play after an injury.

Matchday
Once the game begins, our focus switches primarily to helping the players perform on the field and maximising their recovery off it. We always have 13 players in the squad and the 2 players who miss out on the XI will complete additional conditioning through the week along with top up cricket work with the coaches to enable them to keep their workloads up. During a day in the field, our players will typically cover 20-25kms with the fast bowlers generating 7-10 x bodyweight of force during each delivery. A ‘normal’ day for a fast bowler would be 20 overs, so 120 deliveries for an 80kg individual adds up to quite a significant amount of force to be tolerated! Hence the boys have to be strong, lean and aerobically fit to tolerate such a workload and recover to go again with short rest periods.
Typically, we play or train 6 days out of 7 during the period of championship cricket and this takes its toll on the player's bodies and ability to perform physically. Therefore, recovery is of paramount importance and what they do away from the cricket ground makes a huge difference to performance on the field. Getting enough sleep and eating the right food in the right quantities and at the right times are cornerstones of recovery and this is why we have looked to work with companies who can help our players maximise these fundamentals. Athleat fits the bill perfectly for us and helps our players make good, high-quality nutrition choices at home to enhance their recovery and enable them to perform day in day out.

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