It is best if we view the video upfront. Because what people understand of ‘holisticness’ is perhaps is different. In my opinion ‘holistic’ means what you need . Be it then mind, metabolism, CNS, musculoskeletal system, or thought processes. And when everything syncs together is when we achieve our best. So here, when I refer to ‘holistic’ training; I literally meant to say or claim that I have touched upon every aspect of their human anatomy that can have positive effect on their health and fitness.

Just finished 21 days ‘Peak performance camp’ with the best Indian cricket team (this season) at one of the prettiest grounds in the world.

You must see this 🙂

Biggest achievement: I am happy to retain ‘100 % reference’. All the 40 boys gained something from the camp and have given highly positive feedback. Biggest to me! Players confessed to have never felt this way post a training camp. Their bodies are generally fatigued, they feel tired, and lastly, they feel the stress of strenuous training regime. Whereas, these 20 days is been there holiday – as put by a few players, where they relished on food as much as they like (I only managed the platter with no compromise on food, taste, or anything else), wake up easy, train for an hour and half, rest all day, and then again head out for a ‘talk’ and/or ‘recovery’ session.

How easy can a training camp feel if done holistically?

The first in my list comes the ‘trust’ of players. I don’t have to work towards it at all but its just that I keep a watch on it. Some boys start loving it instantly after a session, a few take a couple of sessions. So my conviction to boys come in the form of improvement. If players know what they are after, and if they get it; then they don’t need any more convincing. Their focus comes by default and they slowly faze into their new being. They start feeling the improvement session on session…and that’s when I know, I have tigers in making 🙂

Second comes the training that is most suitable to the sport they play. Not only to benefit the game per se, but also because their musculoskeletal system is tuned to certain movements playing a certain sport. And when you train these movements; muscles and entire CNS system, jumps into it to reap benefit. Its like a hungry child jumping on food.

Give body what it needs and it will give you back what you need of it. – UC

Third comes the long list which is often ignored – recovery, structural balance, syncing the body into one, meditativeness (calmness), breath work (focus), and making every player understand – why they are doing, what they are doing!

When players go through all the above for 20 days (and 2 net sessions in total and 3 fast bowlers practice drills); not only players showed tremendous enthusiasm with best of their skill set; but it was good to see how accurate they were in playing in the end – be it then batting, bowling, or spin bowling. As if they were coming from 20 days of net practice. Very refreshing to see that, else boys wouldn’t end this camp as happily as they did after net session. They were worried that since they are not practicing, and their inter-district is approaching, they may have lost touch with the bat & ball. Remember, some players were coming after 8/12 weeks rest.

It was only after my explanations (a few times) that they gave into it and just focused on what we were doing. So, seeing them hitting the ball, or the deck as if they are bowling their best that day, was a big sigh of relief – both from training perspective as well as giving confidence to boys. Here are some noticeable changes observed via videos, fitness tests, and net sessions (both first day and last day):

Fast bowlers: improved their run-up matching their jump stride, a few improved their neck position by virtue of which they can use their ‘back’ pretty well, a few improved their sync btw the lower & upper extremity. As a result, all bowlers confessed to feel better, a few felt they can use their ‘back’ well, a few felt their bowling arm is coming easy, and every single bowler felt they are bowling at ease. A few confessed to have increased their pace…but its hard to tell by how much, since the speed gun sadly didn’t work. Improving all bowlers who are bowling (average) for more than 10 years, in 20 days, is one of the best case studies that could come out of this camp for fast bowlers. Post my work a bowling coach can hone their skills further to take best of them.

And when I am with Coaches through the season (because they need to bowl regularly), the bowlers shine every time, every season. Even though we had less time, boys still delivered the unimaginable in 20 days.  

A bowler, who had a very stiff and troubling back, was the happiest of the lot as he was feeling everything that a bowler possibly could.

He said – I never felt this way in my life. Huge feedback again. 

Load: None of the 40 ever felt the load of training. In fact, on the contrary, they were complaining that there was no load 🙂 This happens when the training becomes efficient and is progressed in such a manner to ensure 100% recovery. They went on to pass every fitness thereafter, tells us about optimal load.  

Roughly 13/15 players broke their last speed performance record – in 2k as well as YoYo test. No niggles, aches, or injuries through the camp. No visit to the physios from any of the camp boys. Even though the group had half players coming from season straight away and rest half after complete rest of 4/8/12 weeks.

Boys doing well at the fitness tests came as a surprised to many players as they were under the impression that there is no load. And how can they improve without stress/load? Their most beautiful feedback to me after the 2k run was – we were running different and very well. Or I didn’t pay attention to the time…just enjoyed running.

After roughly 9 days of camp, we took boys to a very steep trek. It was like climbing stairs to Burj Khalifa 🙂 Never ending and so steep that every single person on the trek felt it in their quads, some in anterior leg, some in carbs, and so on while getting down. Ideally, if you are biomechanically correct, the descend should hit your quads the most (like mine) however, they are sportsmen and it is hard to tell where they will feel the pinch. So they did….

I gave them only a day’s break when we climbed down and we are on again in training mode next day. It was very satisfying to see that nobody needed to see a physio after such a hard trek. No…more than half of them come from planes like me and their legs, like mine, were not used to this climb. For those who did come from mountains; they were dancing at 3500 meters 🙂

Everybody recovered in 48 hours including me which is when I could use their legs again.

Things I took care of:

Nutrition – a general diet plan including everything they eat and how they eat I Biomechanics I Training- Speed, Strength, Movement, Agility & Change of direction I Movement Science I Back health I Structural Alignment I Recovery sessions I Breath & meditative work I A steep treck up the hills (approx 15 kms) for testing half way through the camp – and all this helped boys gain power, strength, speed, injury free body, and lastly enhanced their cricketing skill.  

Learning: If 20 days can bring about all these changes in a cricketer then we should be looking into what brings these changes. Hard to imagine by 60 days or more would not further benefit the cricketer. We may be underestimating the potential of fast bowlers in my opinion. A few are unleashing recently but it will be interesting to see for how much time before they bow down to speed. One of my students recently clocked 145km/hr which is a phenomenal increase from where he were when he joined the season.

So, yes 20 days camp can straighten out the players, but it is naturally required to continue that work to take them at their best. This is the reason why I end up producing one gem at the least (considering the time I get to spend with them), and injury free fast bowlers season on season.

I am happy to do another case study if anybody is interested. We will have to work on the dates of course, but I would love to do another case study and add (if possible) one of my researches (on fat oxidation, strength, & energy system) into the mix. Just how I requested for this camp, I would request anybody considering this to must record each and every session. Researches need more evidence than visual confirmations and feedbacks.

#nutrition #fitness #training #health #holistichealth #cricketers