Cricket, unlike football, is a game that requires bouts of energy after relative period of inertia. This implies that cricket warm-up is very essential for playing the game if you want to remain injury-free. For an observer or audience, cricket seems like an effortless game but to deliver a ball at a certain pace and to efficiently swing the bat, requires a lot of strength. This kind of exertion stresses the body and until you are totally ready, it is safe to not start playing the game. Even fielding strains, as the game demands the body to suddenly burst into action following long standing hours.
You should not question the long-term benefits of pre-match warm-up and post-match cool-down. Warm-up’s bridge the gap between regular life and cricket life. The advantages of warming-up include the flexibility of muscles, improvement in coordination, enhancement of endurance and reduction in the risk of injury. The most important activities of cricket are batting, bowling and fielding. Depending on these activities the kind of warm-up for upper-body and lower-body varies.
You can start by jogging and further doing some basic exercises like lunges, hurdle walks at slow pace and side-lunges. To increase the heart-beat, you can do star jumps and squats. After this, move on to core exercise and focus more on technique than exhaustion. Slowly end this section with clap push-up or side push-up and simple power exercises like long-jump and basic stretches. You need to know the difference between being prepared and totally tiring yourself before the match. Work on your weaknesses, for instance, if hamstring muscle strain is an issue then spend more time on exercises like lunges.
Sprinting can help you wake-up both physically and mentally. If you think that you are totally fit then try 5-10 sprints over 20 yards. When it comes to activity specific exercises then, the batsmen need to do some net and drilling sessions. When it comes to the bowlers, they need to try hitting the wickets and mark-out their running and bowling speed. The fielders can practise ball stopping, over and underarm throw drills. Wicketkeepers can team-up with bowlers and fielders to attempt various throws and catches. Along with these few drills, you can customise your own exercises and stretches. Stretches are very important as they relieve your body from any hard joints.
There are many benefits of stretching, few of them being:
- Stretching improves the chances of optimal performance during the match when combined with dynamic work-out sessions.
- A regular stretching routine makes the fielders more flexible during the match hours and prolonged period of standing. It also helps in pushing themselves when a ball is approaching and to catch it.
- This is the best benefit out of all, regular stretching keeps you away from injuries.
Just as important it to warm-up prior the match, it is as important to let your body cool-down post-match. To cool down your body, you can sit against a wall, shake your legs and massage your biceps. Your heart-beat should be back to normal prior to any activity that you think of doing post-match. Drink some energisers, do some light stretching exercises and emphasize on healing any sore muscles. This will help restore the condition of blood and oxygen. Take a shower and then rush for the after-party, if any.
Enjoy the match and try to decode your strengths irrespective of the results.