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Overload... Underload

Overload... Underload

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!



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

Warm-up Matters

Warm-up Matters

The warm-up in cricket, as in any sport, is an integral part of the training process. It is not simply an activity coaches should deliver because we are told to, nor is it the front door to the training session itself - but how much emphasis should coaches’ place on a warm up?

It is true that the warm up acts as the ground work for the training that is to follow. But it can also be used to influence genuine progress for young cricketers. A warm up can accomplish more than just warming-up.




During the cricket season, and for many cricketers the off season as well, warm ups are done nearly every day in some way or another - a young player may play school, club and district cricket, and may also play other sports, all of which are likely to include warm ups.

If coaches recognise this we should also recognise the benefits of including elements of performance training into the warm ups – creating greater exposure for the important stuff, and movement quality is hugely important in cricket.

Mobility exercises and drills could be inserted after the dynamic portion of the warm-up, once blood flow has been redistributed to the skeletal muscles and core body temperature has increased. In this way, the typical structure to the warm-up could be replaced with more goal-oriented mobility or stability drills. This adjustment could be made in both the individual and in the team setting.

An easy way to give players more experience with new movement is to add it into the warm-up. But, this isn’t about exposing them to the movement just for the sake of mindless experience. The movement must be as crisp and clean as we can make it. Therefore, coaching must be thorough with a focus on quality even if it is “just” a warm-up.

The warm-up is a great way to increase frequency and volume of movement and drills that matter the most.



For any cricketer that struggles with general fitness, the warm-up can be an effective, non-intimidating, and quite possibly an inviting way of building a base of general physical preparation and fitness.

To get the desired results it shouldn’t be just any old warm-up. It must actually be challenging, and it will most likely need to be extended. For example coaches could prepare multiple dynamic-based movements, while introducing mobility-based movements. In this way, the cricketer can get a challenge aerobically without exhausting or fatiguing.



Do cricketers and coaches pay enough attention to the warm-up? Do coaches utilise it and reinforce its value to their players?

In some cases both the player and coach require a change – one that places an emphasis on the warm-up as a tool to improve performance, rather than as an obstacle that must be hurdled to get to the rest of training.

The warm-up can be used to improve many aspects of performance, such as movement quality and conditioning. All players and coaches should appreciate the benefits and agility of an efficient warm-up.