Needs Analysis: Keeping
To improve performance and reduce your risk of injury, it is vital to understand the demands of your role. Position-specific programmes allow us to tailor cricket fitness programmes to the demands of each role. We create all of our position specific programmes based on a needs analysis of the role.
Physical qualities required for keepers
Lateral movement efficiency
The ability to rapidly move sideways. Often in the gym, the majority of movements will be in what is known as the sagittal plane. These are movements that simply put, go forward, back, up and down. However, keeping happens mostly in the frontal plane which means from side to side or "laterally". Therefore, we need to train in it and get comfortable moving laterally. Being able to move smoothly and sharply to the side is what we mean by efficiency.
Lower body strength
Increases capacity to hold the squat stance position for long durations and explode out of it. Keepers spend literally hours in a squat position so the capacity to cope with that is increased through lower body strength. Not only is this important for capacity, but lower body strength gives more available force so you can produce a lot of power when going for those big catches!
Allows good posture and being able to access awkward catching positions. Spending a lot of time wicketkeeping can lead to a rounded upper body posture. Good thoracic mobility assists in this by allowing the posture in the stance to be better. Rotational thoracic mobility also allows you to rotate and take those awkward turning & bouncing deliveries when standing up to the stumps.
Power and reactive strength
Allows keepers to explode out of their stance to take those "Worldie" catches. Keepers have a very short period of time to react and take catches. Therefore, a high rate of force development is crucially in order to cover ground rapidly.
Fitness Testing for Keepers
Lateral Movement Efficiency
Covering ground quickly is an important quality for any keeper. We can test your lateral movement efficiency by performing a 5-10-5 Lateral Shuffle. All you need is 3 cones and a partner with a stopwatch!
The 5-10-5 is where 3 cones are placed in a straight line all 5 metres apart. The athlete starts on the middle cone and shuffles either right or left to begin (5m). They then laterally shuffle to the furthest cone (10m) and then back to the middle cone (5m).
Lower Body Strength
Using the barbell back squat or barbell deadlift by testing your 3-repetition max (3RM) will give you an understanding of how strong your lower body is. Our aim would be to increase the lower body strength so we can generate greater power when jumping for catches or sprinting to chase a ball.
At Home Version: Wall sit
Mobility is something that can be constantly improved throughout the off and pre-season as well as during the season! Having exceptional thoracic mobility can contribute to improvements in throwing power and a greater overhead reach (amazing for some of those “worldie” catches). Some key tests you can use to assess and improve your mobility are side-lying windmill rotations, cat-camel, downward dog holds and lying overhead extension on a foam roller.
Go through these stretches slowly, taking your body through a full range of motion on each repetition. If you cannot achieve a full range of motion, pause in the part of the stretch in find most difficult and hold it for 10-15s then repeat.
Power And Reactive Strength
Having a solid base of strength is the building block for a powerful and explosive keeper! We can test your power by using a countermovement jump (CMJ). This will give you an understanding of your lower body rate of force production capabilities. This can be performed on a jump mat or an app on your phone.
Your reactive strength can be tested by performing a drop jump (DJ), whereby you step off a small box and upon landing immediately jump as high as you can in the air. The less time you spend on the floor (ground contact time) coupled with the immediate maximal vertical jump height implies you’re able to produce high levels of force in minimal time.
At Home Version: Perform a double leg broad jump. Use a tape measure and broom stick to record your jump distance.