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It's often debated just how important fitness is to a cricketer. Context is however required as a fast bowler's fitness levels requirements, a wicketkeeper and an opening batsman to mention but 3 differ greatly.

Cricket requires a multi faceted approach to fitness. Different roles, formats and game situations all have different requirements of the player. From power hitting and death bowling to batting through 50 overs/bowling 20 odd overs in a day. Physical fitness and conditioning must be of a specific nature. Coupled with the specificity, periodisation of the training is essential. For example, heavy weight training has its place, but not during a T20 tournament... All the preparation of course is pointless without the associated development of specific skills.

Breaking down the fitness aspects into simple categories and in turn incorporating them into a periodisation program is key to systematic progression.

A simple breakdown of fitness would be the "6s's":

1) Stamina (endurance)

2) Speed

3) Stability (Core and balance)

4) Suppleness (Flexibility)

5) Strength

6) Skills

Periodisation of the above "s's" could be the following:

Preseason conditioning phase 1:

Stamina, Strength, Stability, Speed (minimal), Suppleness. (Gym). *Divide into dedicated weekly program.

Preseason conditioning phase 2:

Stamina, Strength, Stability, Speed (maximal), Suppleness. (Gym). *Divide into dedicated weekly program. This will benefit recovery period and ensure maximal gains.

Preseason cricket specificity phase 1:
Skills (techniques), Suppleness. (Nets)

Preseason cricket specificity phase 2:

Skills/roles in match scenarios (Nets)

Preseason cricket specificity phase 3:

Warm up matches/analysis/feedback.

This might or might not seem an elaborate plan to prepare for playing cricket depending on your outlook but to quote Benjamin Franklin, FAILURE TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL!