By John Gloster
(The author is the Chief Quality Officer of KOOH Sports. He is an Australian sports physiotherapist with 24 years of experience, working with both elite athletes and the general sporting population. He has worked extensively with international cricket for the last 17 years, most notably as physiotherapist to the Indian Cricket Team (2004-2008) as well as Surrey County Cricket in England (1998- 2001) and Bangladesh National Team (2001-2004). He is actively involved in the development of grass-root sports and strongly advocates the importance health, fitness and an active lifestyle.)
It’s key. If you are under-prepared then you will under-perform. If you are playing a sport like cricket, you have to be prepared for the physical demands of the sport. You cannot suddenly go out and bowl 20 overs in a day.
Believe it or not, cricket is an endurance sport. GPS tracking data tells us that.
3. Sport-specific training
We train with movement patterns and activities that are specific to that sport. Cricket is very short, sharp movements… built up over a long period of time. Maybe in a Test match, a player covers 20-25 km in a day’s play but most of it is made up of short, sharp 20-30 m bursts of speed.
Based on what, when and how much you drink. Dehydration leads to poor performance and injuries. It’s individual-based. We have urine hydration testers for every player before they go out on the ground. We have to make sure they are hydrated.
Key to performance in any sport as well as life. Fueling your body with the appropriate fuel is important. The poorest fuels are sugar and processed food. It’s detrimental to recovery and performance for any athlete. Reducing sugar and removing processed food is a must from a sportsperson’s diet.
6. Hard work
It never killed anybody. You’ll be found out sooner or later at the international level of any sport if you don’t work hard. It’s more important than talent. Talent gets you so far. Hard work and discipline get you a long career.
It’s probably more important than training. If you don’t recover post-match or in between matches, your body starts to suffer. Your injury goes up, performance goes down. Post-match recovery is vital. Massages, hydration, diet, warm down and pool recovery sessions are all key.
Shane Warne used to say, “sleep is the best medicine”. And he was spot on. Sleep is the most crucial part of your recovery protocol.
9. Training small muscle groups
You must strengthen your core muscles and small functional muscles before you do heavy weight training. Do the basics first, else you’re going to break down. Little things are often the big things, just like in the case of muscles.
10. Need to be balanced on one foot
Everything you do in cricket is on one leg. We don’t move on both feet at any moment. We take off for bowling on one leg, land on one leg, push forward with one leg when we bat. So you have to be stable on one leg. Functional, balanced single-leg activities are vital.
11. Do things you enjoy
Assign activities that get the best out of an individual in a fun and engaging way. Often among younger age groups, fitness and fielding go together. Get fit but have fun doing fitness sessions.
FAB FIVE. FIT FIVE.
He was conscious when it came to being fit. Now he’s brought in the same physical mindset among the current set of players.
He was probably the most natural athlete out of the five. He had good speed, endurance… and was quite a strong guy as well. Towards the end of his career he worked a lot smarter about how he trained because he knew of the physical limitations once you’re older.
He was probably the most conscious about fitness.
He had great endurance and his mental game was the key to his success. He had his own programme that he stuck to but always asked for help and was open to advice.
In the early part of his career, he was just driven by natural talent and natural ability. But towards the end of his career, as the younger guys started coming in, he realised the importance of staying fit and picked up the mantle of fitness.
VIRAT KOHLI — A ROLE MODEL FOR KIDS
Kohli in 2012 and Kohli in 2017 is like chalk and cheese. Today, he’s the epitome of the modern sportsman. Not just from the physical perspective but also from the mental perspective of the game. He realised he needed discipline in his diet and training and he cut down on sugar and processed food. I don’t think there is a better role model for kids in this country.
Tips for youngsters
The earlier you start training, the better it is. Schools should work on improving the physical literacy and motor competence of kids. Give them basic skills of movement, agility, stability, mobility. Most of all giving them motor competence where they are able to express themselves in a physical manner, which will go on to make them good athletes, reduce injury rates in future and ensure greater performance. So, my tip is start as young as possible and never lose the fun and enjoyment of it all.