Power Hitting in the IPL | Fitness Masterclass with Chinmoy Roy
In this IPL, in keeping with the trademark T-20 style, batsmen are tonking the ball with great freedom. Sanju Samson, AB Devilliers, KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw have already set the empty stands ablaze with some sensational power hitting.
In the absence of a fitness coach and regimented strength training during 1970’s and 80’s the world witnessed how a Viv Richards or Gordon Greenidge would send a fiery Bob Willis bouncer soaring into the stands. Some people argue if cricketers from that era could hit the ball such ferociously without lifting any weight then why do the likes of Virat Kohli, Glen Maxwell or AB Devilliers religiously lift barbell and dumbbell?
Remember, during that era it was primarily the West Indian batsmen, a few of them precisely, exhibited raw power. An Ian Botham, Kapil Dev and Lance Cairns could also clobber the ball. But it never was a global phenomenon. Nowadays you will find at least four predominantly power hitters in every national T-20 team. Those days big hitting wasn’t a relentless visual. Two-three sixes here and there. Presently a T-20 match will witness 15 sixes on an average. While a Viv Richards was an exception in smoking a yorker to the stand, many a batters do this with monotonous regularity in modern cricket.
Skill and hand eye co-ordination play a key role in executing these seeming incredible shots. Having said that the power of the muscle contribute to that immensely. When a Hardik Pandya or Jos Butler dismiss a length ball we hear an excited Matthew Hayden say, “He has muscled the ball out of the park.”
It is here that strength training plays a huge role. Almost all the leading coaches of the world have acknowledged the definitive impact of strength training in enhancing skill set. Virat Kohli himself has gone on record in saying that ever since he picked up Olympic lifting a simple jab of his finds the ball rocketing to the fence. Indian fast bowling coach Bharat Arun expressed in Freewheeling Chinmoy, “Fast bowling is 50% skill and 50% fitness.”
There’s a principle in strength and conditioning called specificity. It says if you want to improve running you must run, if you want to improve power then do power training. I have made this episode in that context.
Conventional Olympic lifts in the gym are quintessential to development of power. That apart medicine ball exercises forms an integral part of power training. The two exercises I have demonstrated with the medicine ball can be done by the cricketers both in the ground and gym. It replicates the cricketing movements and therefore, recruits the muscles used to play a particular stroke.
Medicine ball Split squat jump and rotational pass
• Maintain flat back and tall hip position.
• Take a bigger stride length during the jump
Reps and sets
• 10 jumps in total with medicine ball passed 5 times from each side x 4 sets
Split stance medicine ball slam & tall kneeling slam
Technical cue same as exercise-1
Reps and sets
• 10 reps each side x 4 sets