Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club - Part 2: Maximising Power
September 16, 20233 min read
In this second instalment of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club mini-series, we chat with Liam Price, Strength and Conditioning Coach at Nottingham County Cricket Club about how the Wattbikes help maximise power.
From the progression of fast bowling and power hitting, the ever-heightening levels of power and speed, have brought new levels of excitement to the game, strengthening all aspects of cricket
There’s always been some contentious debate around training for power using off-feet methods but we’ve seen really good results from using the Wattbikes for this, especially when we analyse our 6 second tests and our 2km time trials.
MOVING AWAY FROM TRADITIONAL POWER TRAINING
Cricket is a skills-based sport, and rather than just look at lifting in the gym for building power, I wanted to look at other options that may be better suited to the demands of the game.
I started looking into a lot of Team Sky research studies on power training in cycling. In particular, of the utilisation of the hamstring stroke on the pedal. We do a lot of power development work and in rehabilitation, you may typically use barbells and weights to focus on power, but the recruitment of the hamstring on the bike, and the contraction time required of the muscles to do this, is of a closer velocity to that of running.
So, this was actually more appropriate to what we are looking to mirror for the game, so the Wattbike has helped us get specific off-feet power training. This change was also great for our pre-activation training. For this, the guys want to end up feeling springy and fresh, but some of our guys weren’t getting this result from loading heavy barbell weights on their backs as might be done traditionally, whereas when we switched this pre-activation to power bursts on the Wattbike, they got that same ‘fresh’ effect, without the stress. They got the same strength stimulus but in a safer way, without the fatiguing effect of the heavy weights.
I then started looking at the work that Wattbike have done with the All Blacks and we regularly use the Wattbike 6 second power test in a similar way to them, testing and improving on repeated levels of high-power output.
Especially for our bowlers, we will get them to perform the Wattbike 6 second peak power test, and then we’ll get them to bowl 6. When doing this, we’ll start to mark objectively on the bowling skill and we’ll track power degradation over time going through the bowler’s overs. This allows us to spot when the pace starts to drop, informing us and giving us the awareness on how we should be utilising each player's ability in the game.
MAXIMISING MARGINAL GAINS FOR THE MODERN GAME
Strength and conditioning has come a long way in cricket. The physicality of the players has become so important, you see this as the younger players come through. Three quarters of our squad are under 30 years old and they have a noticeable understanding and drive to have the best aerobic and anaerobic capacities, strength and body composition they can get. The critical mass in cricket now is really about being fit and strong.
The young, fast bowlers beat themselves up the most if they don’t get the Wattbike numbers they want. They are SO competitive, they will get on the bikes and literally kill themselves physically, they really understand the physicality of the game and want to push themselves to be the best.
In cricket, effective strength and conditioning training can have a 2% increase on bowling performance. It helps our players recover faster, be fitter and stronger, deal with the physical demands of not just the game itself, but also the training, and by dealing with that better, they can improve their skill more efficiently.