Webster encouraging creativity during delay
Lancashire's squad will remain hard at work during the enforced delay to the start of the 2020 season
Lancashire Cricket Strength & Conditioning coach, Tom Webster, has faced few challenges bigger than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – but is relishing the task of keeping the players in shape ahead of the summer.
The ECB announced last week that the cricket season will be delayed until at least the end of May and Lancashire’s playing and coaching staff are isolating at home, in line with the current Government guidelines.
But Webster and the team have drawn up schedules for each player to follow, keeping them fit and ready to go whenever the 2020 season may begin, and remain in close contact both individually and as a group during this tough period.
“At the minute, the players have their own individual programmes while they’re at home. They have a gym programme, a core programme and a running programme to get on with, all in accordance with the ongoing Government guidelines,” he said.
“We have been able to provide them with some of the gym equipment from our own gym at Emirates Old Trafford, which is really helpful. It means everyone can have at least one strength session, one power session and a more endurance based session ideal for our purposes during this lockdown period.
“Between myself, Dave Roberts and Sam Byrne, we have a great relationship with the players and we’re making contact with them on a regular basis. We schedule a regular video call with each player to get a feel for how they’re progressing and discuss their individual schedules, so we continue to make sure they are getting the correct volume of work in.
“The physical contact time and face-to-face testing is obviously now not taking place due to the Government guidelines, but we have everything in place to ensure we can continue to monitor the players’ progress and provide help and assistance at any point when they need it.
“It’s been challenging for everyone, but they have all been very keen to get on with whatever they can. It’s not so much us asking them to do things, they are keen to get on with it. They know the season could start at any stage and we need to make sure they are as prepared as possible.”
As Webster alludes to, the players have all been given programmes to follow using both what they have at home and equipment provided from Emirates Old Trafford.
With limited resources and space available compared to what they would normally use for gym sessions, the strength and conditioning team are also encouraging the players to get inventive with how they do their workouts.
And as far as Webster’s own career goes, he says it is the most challenging time so far – but it’s a great opportunity opportunity to put his own skills and knowledge to the test.
“It’s challenging having limited equipment at home as each player’s circumstances are different. We have to get a real needs analysis of what people have prior to sending out programmes and create specific plans so we can maximise their conditioning and avoid losing the fitness gains they have made during the winter. Equally, we need to make sure we minimise the risk of injury as access to the physios is severely restricted at this time.
“We’re encouraging the lads to be creative and use all the assets they might have at home. You might have cans of baked beans, heavy bottles of squash, in your shed you might have tubs of paint, so there’s no reason you can’t use these objects as weights and be inventive, whilst at the same time adhering to the Government guidelines on isolation.
“Without a doubt it’s the most challenging thing I have dealt with in my career so far. We had a brilliant pre-season, probably the best in the six years I have been here. The players fitness testing scores in March were exceptional, we were getting over 50% of the squad achieving personal bests so we were really pleased with the shape they were coming in to. To have the disappointment of then not being able to get away on tour and then the season being delayed is frustrating.
“To an extent, though, it is a challenge to yourself in terms of writing programmes and thinking what people have at home and maximising every space they have to be active and to not lose that pre-season work we put in.
“We have to make sure the boys are as fit as they possibly can be when it comes to the crunch and the season hopefully resumes in the summer”