As coaches we often see accelerated progress with some players and less with others, it is our role to understand why and how this occurs. The skill of young cricketers is a great accelerator, but an effective routine can make a great deal of impact to players of all abilities, it can even be a greater differentiator.
How important is it for coaches to encourage and develop routine with young cricketers?
To see the greatest impact of routine, we should start with looking at the pros!
If you have an opportunity to observe professional off season training you might be surprised to see how similar it is to training during the season – other than it is usually done indoors or in warmer climates!
Something you may notice is that players don’t look all that different in size, they will generally carry the same frame they would during the season.
Performance is not likely to be much different either – fast bowlers will still be bowling fast, batters will still be hitting hard!
Professional cricketers will generally know exactly what he or she will do each and every day leading up to the first delivery of the first game of the season.
The ability to prepare on a daily and weekly basis throughout the year with consistent routines can lend itself to enhanced performance. Should coaches working with young cricketers conclude that their training routine must continue out of season?
Young cricketers’ skill level certainly matters. But, in addition to skill, routines and preparation can make a major difference. This isn’t necessarily because the player needs them, particularly as junior cricket seasons are relatively short and less demanding than the professional game. Rather, it is because solid and consistent routines foster greater improvements in training and more effective work habits.
The best training programmes will be effective for young cricketers, but can be enhanced when the programme is applied as routine. Committing to preparation is a must for any young cricketer looking to improve their performance.
By developing routine – one that is manageable and that the player enjoys – the player is more likely to always be in the best position to develop.
All young cricketers cannot be expected to have a professional routine. They may not even have a consistent routine at first – they may not need one or even want one!
The goal for coaches should be to experiment and understand what works best for their players. Once a young and aspiring cricketer reaches maturity they should begin learning what they like, what they don’t like, how their body is affected by training, and what helps them to get the best results.
The idea should be that coaches help to instil good work habits early and encourage fun and progressive routines within their training programmes - routines that can be applied at training sessions and away from training sessions. As players progress to the next level they can use this knowledge to develop a routine that meets their training and playing demands.
While age and skill can dictate what a cricketer can and can’t do, coaches should not discourage a player from learning more about themselves.
As a young cricketer matures and progresses, it is vital that they work hard to find out what training routines work best and help them accomplish their goals. As a coach instils routine with players it will serve as a differentiator between those players and others.