Indian cricket is preparing to get back to business as usual; the Indian government is lifting lockdown restrictions in a phased manner. The 2.5-month long break has put a stop to not just cricket but also training and net sessions. While the BCCI looks to work out a new schedule, fielding coach R Sridhar has his hands full.
Fielding Coach Puts Fitness Plans In Place
The coaching staff has a lot of work to do during the next 6 to 8 weeks. They have to work on the mental and physical fitness of all players. One of the biggest challenges is that not all players are at the same level of physical and mental fitness.
R Sridhar and his team will have to group players based on their assessments and then customize a training plan that will get them back to being fully fit both mentally and physically. Sridhar believes that the cricketers with the sharpest and strongest minds will take around 6 weeks to get back into test match mode. The other cricketers will take a little longer. While he did not divulge much information about the mental side of coaching, he did disclose his plans for physical training.
The coaching staffs are still waiting on the BCCI to get an official date as to when they can resume training. However, they are making plans to ease both the batsmen and bowlers back into the game. Sridhar expects the players to be eager to go after taking a 15 week break and he is concerned that players might want to rush with all guns blazing. He says the batsmen will find it easier to get back into the swing of things than the bowlers as they physical effort is far greater especially for the fast bowlers.
Nick Webb And Sridhar Focus On Progressive Workload
Nick Webb who is the head of physical performance, strength and conditioning also has a big role to play. The coaching staff will follow a method of progressive workload; players will start with small workloads, see how they respond and then be given more to do.
The idea behind this is to ensure that players do not injure themselves by rushing back into things. The first phase will focus on low volume-low intensity training before switching over to moderate volume-low intensity training. This will help players get rid of all the niggles and stiffness and be ready for the third stage which is high volume-moderate intensity.
By this time, the players mind-body connection should be working well. Then they will hit the final stage of progressive overload; high volume-high intensity training. An example of this progressive overload training would be asking the fast bowlers to start bowling at around 20 to 30 percent of their normal intensity; while batsmen have net sessions of around 5 minutes. Fielders will ask to do 5 to 6 throws from 10 metres before moving to 20 metres. Catching practice will be done with a semi-soft ball.
The next week the intensity level goes up and each player’s performance will be monitored. The coaching staff will mix up the training for each day so that players do not get bored. Sridhar has used a number of innovative methods in the past that has had good results; he is looking at bring new things that will help players quickly get back to full test match fitness!