There are 10 fundamentals of training which need to be
integrated when developing annual training, competition
and recovery plans for cricket players as a cricket coach.
I implement this in my coaching plans for my cricket players.
Each of these capacities is trainable throughout a player’s lifetime, but there are clearly critical (or
sensitive) periods in the development of each capacity during which training produces the greatest
benefit to each athlete/player’s improvements. The trainability have been referred to as the “critical
periods” of accelerated training; however, scientists now believe that critical periods should be
referred to as sensitive periods. Thus, windows of trainability refer to periods of accelerated
adaptation to training during the sensitive periods of pre-puberty, puberty and early post-puberty.
These windows are fully open during the sensitive periods of accelerated adaptation to training and
only partially open outside of the sensitive periods. Given that each athlete/player is unique in genetic
make-up, these sensitive periods vary from individual to individual. While the sensitive periods follow
general stages of human growth and maturation, scientific evidence shows that humans vary
considerably in the magnitude and rate of their response to different training stimuli at all stages.
Some players may show potential for excellence by age 11, whereas others may not indicate their
promise until age 15 or 16. Consequently, a long-term approach to athlete/player development is
needed to ensure that players who respond slowly to training stimuli are not “short-changed” in their
The diagrams on page 19 represent extremely important guidelines for coaches and teachers alike,
and should be applied strictly in their work with young, developing athletes, both girls and boys.
1. Stamina and endurance
The sensitive period for training stamina occurs at the onset of the growth spurt or Peak Height
Velocity (PHV), commonly known as the adolescent growth spurt. Athletes/players need increased
focus on aerobic capacity training (continuous or aerobic interval workloads) as they enter PHV and
they should be progressively introduced to aerobic power training (anaerobic interval workloads) as
their growth rate decelerates. However, sport-specific needs will determine “how much endurance is
enough” in a particular sport, thus minor or major emphasis of training the aerobic system will be
defined by sport-specific and individual specific needs.
Sport-specific needs will determine “how much strength is enough” in a particular sport, thus minor or
major emphasis of training strength will be defined by sport-specific and individual specific needs.
There are two critical windows of trainability for speed. For girls, the first speed window occurs
between the ages of six and eight years, and the second window occurs between 11 and 13 years.
For boys, the first speed window occurs between the ages of seven and nine years, and the second
window occurs between 13 and 16 years. During the first speed window, training should focus on
developing agility and quickness (duration of the intervals is less than five seconds); during the
second speed window, training should focus on developing the anaerobic power energy system
(duration of the intervals is 10-15 seconds). It is highly recommended that speed should be trained on
a regular and frequent basis, for example, at every training session as part of the warm-up. Towards
the end of the warm-up or immediately after, there is no Central Nervous System or metabolic fatigue
present so this is an optimal time to train speed. The volume of training should be low and allow full
recovery between exercises and sets. Short acceleration with proper posture and elbow and knee
drive, take-off speed and segmental speed should be trained regularly outside of the window of
optimal trainability for speed. In addition, proper blocks of training should be allocated to speed
training during the period of annual training, competition and recovery programme according to
seasonal and the sport-specific requirements.
Girls and boys both have one window for optimal skill training. For girls, the window is between the
ages of eight and 11 years, while in boys it is between nine and 12 years. During this window, young
athletes should be developing physical literacy. Physical literacy is the development of fundamental
movement skills and fundamental sports skills that permit a child to move confidently and with control,
in a wide range of physical activity and sport situations. It also includes the ability to “read” what is
going on around them in an activity setting and react appropriately to those events. Physical literacy is
the foundation of life-long involvement in physical activity and also for high performance participation.
The critical window of trainability for suppleness occurs between the ages of six and 10 years in both
girls and boys. However, because of the rapid growth special attention should also be paid to
flexibility during the growth spurt. A reminder: For the above mentioned 5 S’s, the windows are fully
open during the sensitive periods of accelerated adaptation to training and partially open outside of
the sensitive periods.
This component addresses the six stages of growth in the human body linking them to the windows of
optimal trainability (Phase 1: very rapid growth and very rapid deceleration; Phase 2: steady growth;
Phase 3: rapid growth; Phase 4: rapid deceleration; Phase 5: slow deceleration; Phase 6: cessation of
growth). It recognises stature (the height of a human) before, during and after maturation guiding a
coach or parent to the measurements needed to track growth. The tracking of stature as a guide to
developmental age allows planning to address the sensitive periods of physical (endurance, strength,
speed and flexibility) and skill development. Diagnostics to identify individually relevant sensitive
periods of accelerated adaptation to training is essential to design and implement optimal training,
competition and recovery programmes.
Sport is a physical and mental challenge. The ability to maintain high levels of concentration, remain
relaxed with the confidence to succeed are skills that transcend sport to everyday life. To develop the
mental toughness for success at high levels requires training programmes that are designed specific
to the gender and specific stage of the athlete. The training programmes should include key mental
components identified by sport psychologists; concentration, confidence, motivation and handling
pressure. As an athlete progresses through the LTPD stages, the mental training aspect will evolve
from: having fun and respecting opponents; to visualisation and self-awareness; to goal setting,
relaxation and positive self-talk. To master the mental challenge of sport, those basic skills are then
tested in increasingly difficult competitive environments. Ultimately the planning, implementing and
refining of mental strategies for high level competition will determine podium performances. The
mental training programme is critical at any LTPD stage as dealing with success and failure will
determine continuation in sport and physical activity, therefore dramatically affecting an individual’s
Sustainability recognises a broad range of components with the central theme of replenishing the
body. This is to prepare the athlete for the volume and intensity required to optimise training or living
life to the fullest. Areas addressed are: nutrition, hydration, rest, sleep and regeneration, all of which
need to be applied differently to training (life) plans.
Underlining sustenance is the need for optimal recovery management moving the athlete to the 24/7
model which places a high degree of importance on the individual’s activities away from the field of
play. For proper sustenance and recovery management there is a need to monitor recovery by the
coach or parent through the identification of fatigue. Fatigue can come in many forms including:
metabolic; neurological; psychological; environmental and travel. While overtraining or over-
competition can lead to burn-out, addressing sustenance in an improper fashion can lead to the same
The demands of school must be considered in designing training programmes. This is not limited to
the demands placed by school sports or physical education classes, but includes integrating school
academic loads, duties, school related stresses and timing of exams. When possible, training camps
and competition tours should complement, not conflict, with the timing of major schools academic
events. Overstress should be monitored carefully and refers to the everyday stresses of life, like
schooling, exams, peer groups, family, boyfriend or girlfriend relationships as well as increased
training volume and intensities. Interference from other school sports should be minimised and
communication between coaches who are responsible to deliver the training and competition
programmes is essential. A good balance should be established between all factors and the coach
and the parents should be working on this together.
The socio-cultural aspects of sport are significant and must be managed through proper planning.
Socialisation via sport will ensure that general societal values and norms will be internalised via sport
participation. This socialisation can be broadening of perspective including ethnicity awareness and
national diversity. Within the travel schedule, recovery can include education of competition location
including; history, geography, architecture, cuisine, literature, music and visual arts. Proper annual
planning can allow sport to offer much more than simply commuting between hotel room and field of
play. Sport socialisation must also address sport sub-culture. Coaches and parents must guard
against group dynamics which create a culture of abuse or bullying. Ethics training should be
integrated into training and competition plans at all times
Overall socio-cultural activity is not negative distraction or interference with training and competition
activities. It is a positive contribution to the development of the person and the athlete/player.
Children often choose to play a sport after the windows of optimal trainability for speed, skill, and
suppleness have passed. These children are therefore dependent on schools, recreation
programmes, and other sports to provide timely training in these capacities. LTPD advocates that
sports build relationships with these organisations to promote and support appropriate training. If
athletes miss these training periods entirely, coaches will need to design individualised programmes
to remedy any shortcomings.