Preparing for cricket finals
As we approach cricket finals, the business end of the season, it is really important to maintain fitness and reduce the risk of injury. After a long season, fatigue may have set in. In addition, some players may be juggling preseason for other winter sports including football, soccer, netball or basketball. No-one wants to miss out on playing finals, so below are some tips that will help you keep fit and injury free.
Our physiotherapist Vernon Mittal runs through what you can do to ensure you’re not only available for selection but also able to perform at your best.
When injuries occur, we often only blame overuse or “doing too much too quickly”. Unsurprisingly, we disregard the importance of recovery and many athletes “under-recover”, meaning they don’t take time off during the week to simply rest.
For example, if we consider cricket to take up 3 sessions a week (2 x training and 1 x game) and pre-season football/soccer/netball to take up another 2 sessions/week, then we should have 2 rest days. Utilise these rest days to allow your body to recover and recharge. A rest day doesn’t mean doing nothing. Consider doing gentle exercise including a walk, cycle or swim, Mobility and stretching exercises including using foam rolling exercises, stretches or yoga/pilates can be a great way to actively recovery.
Additionally, sleep is critical for recovery. There is a plethora of research that recommends 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis (rebuilding) and various releases of growth hormones.
Warm up and Cool down
We all know the importance of a proper warm-up and cool down for any exercise. Take 10 – 15 minutes prior to a session to stretch your body and get it primed for the sport that you are competing in. Dynamic stretching is the preferred type of stretching pre-activity as recent research has shown that it significantly improves muscle performance because you are essentially moving muscles for what they are about to do. It also incorporates multiple muscle groups promoting blood flow to more areas.
Post exercise however, static stretching is best to reduce the fatigue level and tensions in muscles. It is designed to calm down the nervous system and lengthen fatigued muscles, reducing post activity soreness and pain. This is when you can sustain and hold your stretches for between 15 – 60 seconds. Again take a total of 5 – 10 minutes to complete a cool down.
According to the World Health Organisation, all adults between the ages 18 – 64 should complete moderate-to-intense strength training, that incorporates major muscle groups, at least twice a week.
Of course, if you are training 4 – 5 x/week with your sport, it might be difficult to complete strength training as you will then compromise on recovery. As a substitute, include some basic bodyweight exercises to mimic strength training (i.e. squats, push-ups, lunges, planks).
In-season, it is known that one will lose strength in major muscle groups due to the higher demands placed on the body and the common lack of recovery. Ensuring you are maintaining load with resistance exercises can slow down the loss of strength and subsequently reduce risk of injury.
Whilst there’s only a few weeks left of the cricket season, try our tips to ensure you are available for selection and able to perform at your best. Should you require further advice and help, feel free to book online or contact one of our physiotherapists. If you required to see our physiotherapists, you can be assured that our team will do everything capacity to ensure you’re able to play come Saturday or Sunday.