Cricket Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Cricketers
The popular conception is that the game is slow and requires very little in the way of physical capability, especially when compared to other popular sports such as football and rugby.
This, however could not be further from the truth as cricketers, at club, county and international levels are required to posses an extraordinary level of skill, strength, speed and, above all else, agility, especially if they want to perform at the top of their game.
If you wish to optimise your cricketing performance then your emphasis should not just be on the way you train: a vital component in performing at your best, as well as looking after your body, comes down to your diet, your nutritional intake and getting the balance right.
Cricket training schedules
Cricket is one of those sports that requires an athletes body to be in tip-top condition, and for that reason the training schedules can be extremely demanding.
However, the frequency and intensity of training sessions can vary depending on whether you are a novice just starting out or, at the other end of the scale as an elite/professional cricketer.
Training requirements are also determined by your personal goals and the ultimate objectives of the session itself.
if you wish to optimise your cricketing performance then your emphasis should not just be on the way you train: a vital component in performing at your best, as well as looking after your body, comes down to your diet, your nutritional intake and getting the balance right
Typically though, a weekly training programme for a professional cricketer will consist of two forty five minute to one hour sessions of moderately paced running, cycling or any other endurance activity that works the body at approximately 50 to 60 per cent maximum heart rate.
These training sessions should also incorporate some form of resistance training.
As the cricket season draws ever closer, skill and agility sessions should also be incorporated in to the weekly training sessions, which usually feature batting and bowling practice in the nets, as well as fielding skills.
Reduced body fat
Historically, like many similar sports, cricketers came in all shapes and sizes, however there is now a keen emphasis on staying trim and lean, which means that the average cricketer has to be fitter and stronger than they ever have been.
It is fair to say that the modern cricketer is placed under more physiological demands as they are now required to train harder and promote a much reduced body fat profile.
A lower body fat composition is important for any cricketer because it allows players to be more agile, supple, faster and have increased stamina.
A leaner, fitter physique will also benefit cricketers during summer competitions as they will often be more tolerant of the heat, especially if they are lighter in weight.
Anaerobic, aerobic and resistance training
In terms of preparation, cricket training should ideally look to combine both anaerobic and aerobic training components as well as resistance training.
This is because the skills that are now essential to be successful in the modern game require both anaerobic and aerobic fitness.
For instance, bowling, batting and fielding utilises the bodies anaerobic energy systems whilst players are also required to bend and squat during games which means they need good aerobic fitness as well.
As with all sports, however, if you wish to optimise your cricketing performance then your emphasis should not just be on the way you train: a vital component in performing at your best, as well as looking after your body, comes down to your diet, your nutritional intake and getting the balance right between the two.
Good nutrition for cricketers and improved performance really do go hand in hand, so taking the time to properly understand what you eat and drink and how this impacts on your performance will ultimately mean you will reap the rewards.
Nutrition during training sessions
When it comes to training sessions and your nutritional requirements, it is always important that you select and consume the correct foods to sustain you through your training sessions, and also encourage rapid recovery afterwards.
Like most sports, nutrient-dense meals and snacks are the best option – foods such as wholegrain cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, sports snacks, lean meat including chicken and fish are all ideal.
The timing of the meals and supplement snacks is also important as it will aid rapid recovery between sessions and will keep you alert and energised for the duration.
Unlike many sports, cricket can matches can sometimes last several hours, sometimes played over a number of days, meaning that players need to take on-board food before, during and after a match or session.
On the first day of a match however, professional cricketers do not know whether they are batting or bowling until about 45 minutes before the first ball is bowled.
This means that players need to prepare nutritionally for a match assuming they will be required to play on the first day, even if they don’t.
During a match it is vital that players stock up on nutrients and maintain good levels of hydration.
High carbohydrate, low fat foods and fluids are recommended as the best things to consume during this stage of the match with fresh fruit smoothies, rice or pasta with a plain sauce as well as sports bars are all proven to be good nutritional sources of energy.
Fluids and hydration
Maintaining the correct levels of hydration by replacing fluid losses with an isotonic sports drink or cool water also needs to be a priority.
Post match recovery
After a match or an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.
The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; cricketers need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.
There are three golden rules to a cricketers successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:
Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow quality performances to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after a match or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.
If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.
Cricket is also renowned for its links to alcohol and the odd celebratory drink, and whilst this is a good, traditional aspect to the game, it has to be remembered that as a player you shouldn’t drink alcohol straight after a match as it can detrimentally affect rehydration and recovery rates.
If you want to enjoy the celebrations, firstly have a drink of water before touching the alcohol and then finish with more water to ensure that you have got the correct amount of fluid that your body needs.
And always remember…don’t overdo it… everything in moderation!
Want to get involved in cricket?
If you’re not currently involved in cricket as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to cricket organisations that may be able to help you.
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