Part 1: Strength and Conditioning.
Ashish Tibrewala –
Strength and Conditioning Coach ,- National Cricket Academy & Rajasthan Cricket team.
Like with any training program, progression is the key so it is really important that you or the athletes you train perform exercises that are challenging but not difficult. Difficult exercises are ones that you simply cannot perform with good form due to a lack of either mobility or stability or in many cases a combination of both. If an athlete shows any dysfunction it is important that we correct this before introducing higher level strength and power work into their program. Adding strength to dysfunction is only putting the athlete at greater risk of injury somewhere down the track.
Once you have sufficient mobility and stability and can show symmetry in a functional movement screen and assessment then you can and should start to develop the strength base of the athlete. This allows for physical development to occur safely and effectively. From a solid strength base we can then start to develop speed and power. Our goal is to improve performance while reducing the risk of injury.
With all my new clients I start with a functional movement assessment to figure out if the athlete has any asymmetries. If I find any weak points, I will plan and integrate corrective exercise into their program to improve their mobility, static stability and then dynamic stability. Mobility is always addressed first because adequate stability cannot be present with reduced mobility.
Only once movement quality is good enough I start implementing strength training under increasing loads (progression). After sufficient strength and core stability has been achieved and only then do I start introducing higher level plyometrics and rotational power movements into the athletes program. Remember they get rotational power and plyometric work in their skills practice and matches so careful consideration needs to be placed on when and how you implement this stuff into their program.
If you are training an athlete or group of players it is crucial that you choose exercises that will allow you to evaluate their movement quality with every repetition that they do. You need to also take into consideration what training age you or your athlete is (i.e. how long they have been in the sport and how much strength and conditioning they have done previously)
There are a few more things to consider. Where exactly are you in your calendar? Are you starting your pre season preparation or are you in season? Obviously in season and off season will have an effect on how much work you do off the field. If we are talking about youth athletes, they invariably play other sports so be mindful of the amount of work they are doing there too! Programming all of this stuff is the tricky part as there is NEVER a one size fits ALL program.
Below I have included a basic program design outline for athletes . This is also applicable to other ground based rotational sports. How this is implemented needs careful consideration. Remember there are skills sessions , so timing of when you do your work is critical to injury prevention and enhancing your performance in each training session. This takes careful planning and often readjusting. Remember no program is perfect, no athlete is perfect, and no coach is perfect. Do the work, evaluate what you have done and always look to improve the way you coach!
Try to do your work in this order
- Soft Tissue Work- Foam Rolling and other Self Myofascial release techniques
- Static Stretches
- Movement Preparation – Mobility and Activation, Dynamic Warm Up
- Speed – Linear, Lateral and Multi-directional speed
- Plyometrics and Power Training
- Strength Training
- Recovery- Nutrition, Soft Tissue work etc.