The key to success when it comes to training from home will be creativity, says Yorkshire’s strength and conditioning coach Pete Sim.
The White Rose squad, like other professionals from pretty much all sporting clubs worldwide, have been forced to work from home amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
And although it is not clear when things will start, Yorkshire’s players and staff still have a season to prepare for.
On Saturday, at the club’s Annual General Meeting, director of cricket Martyn Moxon told members that maintaining players’ strength would be the biggest challenge over the weeks and months ahead.
As things stand, the players have been told to stay away from Emerald Headingley until at least April 19, with no cricket being played in England before at least May 28 – the planned start date for the Vitality Blast.
“We are in a fortunate position in that we’ve had a lot of our players in over the winter, so we’ve built some really good qualities,” said Sim.
“It’s just now about holding onto them as much as we can.
“With the lack of facilities, we have to be a bit more creative with how we try to maintain the strength and power they’ve built up.
“It is easier to hold onto those with lighter loads, and it would be far harder to develop those qualities, which some counties will have to do if they’ve had a lot of lads playing overseas.
“They may have been in maintenance phase the whole way, whereas we’re at our peak now. I’d like to think we can hold onto that for a good few months.”
Yorkshire’s players had been afforded a week off last week having returned from India on Saturday March 14. They had undertaken two long haul flights in three days and had been told to rest.
But this week sees them return to training from the comfort of their own homes.
Sim continued: “I am going to be sending out a plan for their training like we would normally do – Monday strength and speed, Tuesday conditioning, Wednesday strength and speed, etc.
“They can get into a routine instead of just waking up and thinking, ‘I’ll do some exercise today’.
“We hadn’t set that up yet because we weren’t sure how long we’d need to do this for, but it’s looking we’re in it for the long haul. I’m hoping to start that from tomorrow (TUESDAY).”
Sim says, “It’s all about being creative with how I programme and they train”, so it could be a case of using stairs, sofas or kitchen chairs as training tools.
“I don’t just want the lads to wait for me to give them guidance. I want them to come up with some ideas because they know their own environment,” he went on.
“What I’m planning on doing is setting up a fast bowlers’ WhatsApp group, one for the batters and the spinners as well because all of their respective programmes will be similar.
“They can post videos of what they’re doing and maybe some ideas of their own. ‘This is how I’m using my stairs’ for example.
“They can then maybe create a bit of a buzz around training instead of looking at it from a defeatist’s point of view.
“Last week I found out all the equipment each of the lads have got at home – dumbbells, kettlebells, all stuff they have in their houses.
“I’m also putting together a list of everything we’ve got at the club and assigning specific equipment to each of the players.
“We can give them weights, plates, medicine balls and stuff like that and can then programme individually.
“You can get through a decent bit of work.
“When we get into the season, it’s actually quite similar now to the challenges we have then because the schedules only allow us probably one strength contact a week if we’re lucky.”
Last week, we saw opening bowler Ben Coad take to social media with a video of him bowling to his brother Dan on the driveway at home, though realistically maintaining a volume of overs for bowlers is going to be nearly impossible.
“As far as I’m aware, all local cricket club facilities close by to them have been shut down,” said Sim.
“The fast bowlers are our priority from an injury point of view. The strength stuff is more important to them, and they will be getting first choice of equipment.
“Aside from that, it’s important they have an exposure to running loads. That’s easy to do because they can get outside. Then it’s also important they get some speed sessions done.
“The biggest risk of bowling injuries are from those repeated high speed efforts. And high speed exercises can still be done.”
The ECB are currently working through the possible schedules for start dates in June, July and August, and Sim is confident Yorkshire will be ready and raring to go whenever that may be.
He added: “At the end of the day, when we come back it’s not going to be a case of, ‘Right, the season starts next week’. We will get plenty of time to prepare, I’m sure.”