Overload and Underload training is a concept, backed by research, that may not be commonly used across the cricket coaching community.
However, it is not new to the field of sports science. It is used to develop explosive movements, and it is used to train Olympians.
Can coaches of young cricketers use the principles of overload and underload training to develop cricketers?
Training for short periods with heavy bats and balls can have multiple benefits (as long as it is age-appropriate!), including developing cricket-specific stability and strength. Both batting and bowling are very complex movements which makes training for improvement (even if relatively minor) challenging? The best way to develop stability and strength in batting and bowling is to practice with increased stress and resistance – this is what the overload principle achieves.
There is a view that overload training develops effective movement patterns. For example, when the body feels a heavier bat, and the player’s intention is to hit the ball with quickness and power, the body will respond by moving in the most efficient manner possible. Doing this regular creates solid repeatable actions.
Training with a lighter bat or ball (we use a lot of tennis balls in our programmes) allows the movement to occur at a higher velocity, engaging more explosive movement patterns leading to adaptations that are crucial to the explosive cricketer - moving faster regularly helps train the cricketer to move faster!
STABLE MOVEMENT PATTERNS
Using overload and underload principles has multiple benefits for young cricketers, no more so than it accelerates the development of creating a more stable movement pattern that can be repeated consistently. There will be many times when players are battling the onset of fatigue. Having a stable movement pattern that has been trained at different weights and velocities ensures that the cricketer will not lose that movement.
Training young cricketers using overload and underload principles DOES WORK. It has multiple benefits, and it is backed by research from multiple sources (check out “Effects of Weighted Implement Training: A Brief Review”). We have implemented it in our coaching programmes with great success, particularly with players aged between 15 and 17.
As the overload and underload principles become more widely recognised, coaches should look to include these principles within programmes in the simplest way possible