Leicestershire CCC players feel the need for speed
Quick singles should be in plentiful supply next season if one aspect of Leicestershire's winter training pays off.
Under the club's strength and conditioning coach Josh Gabriel-Clark, the County players are incorporating sprint work into their off-season programme.
To assist in that, County have entered into an arrangement to use the athletics track at Saffron Lane for their hour-long 'speed sessions', which began this week.
"We are doing the kind of thing that sprinters do in their warm-ups," said Gabriel-Clark, who is in his second winter with the Foxes.
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"One of the massive things in cricket is to get the guys to be as athletic as possible.
"This kind of work improves how efficient they are when they are running and also makes them that split-second quicker so that, when they have to react or chase down a ball, they are capable of doing that.
"The first session went really well. The guys really took to it and enjoyed racing against each other on the track, which is a great facility."
He added: "I think it is beneficial going to a different environment to do something that takes them outside cricket but also makes them better athletes."
The speed work will continue once the season gets under way in April but, by focusing on it during the winter, Gabriel-Clark hopes that it will become "second nature" to the players.
The bulk of the first-team squad is back in regular training now.
The sprint work is only part of their winter programme as the players also undertake three gym sessions a week at Grace Road.
That helps to build strength and fitness, but another key area of the programme is identifying areas of weakness in individuals, which helps prevent injury.
"What we are trying to do now is fairly generic, with the players getting back to some kind of training regime, building up work-loads and tolerance to work-loads," said Gabriel-Clark.
"Up to Christmas, we are introducing new concepts for the players – it is almost an education aspect.
"After Christmas. we then start to crank things up to the start of the season."