The offseason is typically the season that most athletes, particularly junior athletes let things slide. It’s often the case that athletes take the opportunity to rest too much rather than continue to work on their fitness or technical ability during the offseason. As part of the offseason, particularly for high technical based sports such as cricket, it is very important to consider each individual’s needs, particularly at a junior level.
To answer the question of how many days per week should I be training in the offseason is always difficult, due to the needs of each individual. In terms of the strength and conditioning point of view, or in other words the sessions that focus on the physical fitness of an athlete, normally 3-5 days per week training is adequate for a junior cricket player.
Within these 3-5 days there needs to be at least 2 strength sessions, where the player focuses on improving their strength, power, core strength or general ability to move. Then there needs to be 1-2 aerobic or anaerobic conditioning sessions which focuses on the cardiovascular fitness of the athlete. Finally there needs to be 1-2 speed sessions which focus on improving the player’s ability to move between two close points with speed and agility.
The offseason provides a fantastic opportunity for the cricket player to improve their physical ability so they reach the season in good physical conditioning to withstand the rigours of high volume cricket competition. As the season approaches, i.e. during the preseason or competition phases, it’s a lot more difficult to focus on the development of physical fitness.
While the development of physical fitness during this period is important, so to is recovery. So while we recommend that there are 3-5 physical fitness sessions in a week during the offseason it is equally important to have 1-2 days that are purely about rest and recovery. Cricketers’ have a very intense competition period with long bouts playing the game, so remembering to have this time off to prevent injuries is important.
The technical nature of cricket lends itself to continued development of the required skills to become a better cricket player, i.e. batting, bowling and fielding. Ultimately the more the junior can spend refining and training these skills the better they can become. Much of this training time needs to be self directed and is what often sets the best players apart from the rest. Obviously we don’t recommend fast bowlers bowl too much because of the impacts on their musculoskeletal system. However for all other players, and generic skills such as fielding, the more effort and focus the junior can have themselves the better. Stick to the 1-2 days of complete rest, but the more time spent being self directed in developing their technical abilities the better.