Something a bit different for my blog. This week I had a chance to sit down with Ian Fisher, Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. I asked him a couple question, mostly exercise, fitness and health related – but also some fun ones in there as well.
From a personal training client and gym member’s perspective I think the following is interesting to see that even in top level sport, the basics do not change. A squat is still a squat, a press-up is still a press-up. Like my favourite quote…”hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”
Any here is the interview, I hope you enjoy. I know I certainly did…
1. Quick fire round:
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Squat or Lunge? Hmmm, both!
Winter or Summer? Winter
Music genre? 90’s indie
Favourite exercise to perform? Military press
Favourite exercise to coach? Deadlifts
How do you like your steak cooked? Medium rare
2. How did you get into S&C?
I was professional cricketer for 15 years and during my off seasons I started studying qualifications in exercise and fitness, especially as my interest grew into my own physical preparation when I was in my twenties.
After my cricket career finished I decided I really wanted to work in performance sport. So I went to university as a mature student to study sports science and interned at the same time in the university S&C department. This was the beginning of how I got there, but I believe I am still learning every day.
3. What does a training week typically look like at Yorkshire CCC?
We are lucky in cricket as we do get significant off season to physically prepare the squad for the next year.
We train 5 days a week in the winter and train all physical qualities each week. I have never separated blocks to specifically train strength or endurance but each 3-5 week block has an overall focus.
We are currently 3 weeks into the winter training and we usually get around 12 weeks of contact before the season kicks off. During this first phase we are focusing on building training capacity. Strength wise we are doing some higher volume work, we are looking to develop linear speed and we are doing what I would categorise as medium length intervals during our conditioning sessions. At this time of year the week looks like this:
Monday – Cricket Skills (light) / Speed & Strength
Tuesday – Cricket Skills (light) / Off Feet Conditioning
Wednesday – Strength and Yoga
Thursday – Cricket Skills (light) / Running Conditioning
Friday – Cricket Skills (light) / Strength
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
Things are not totally rigid at this time of year either. We will throw in some fun sessions and a variety of experiences like a day at another sports club or a cooking class.
4. Do you have any key philosophies as a S&C Coach?
Oh wow, what a question… Well first and foremost I am a fundamentals kind of guy. I bang on a lot about getting great at the basics. I also came from a very sound hard working sporting and coaching environment so I really believe in ‘earning the right to progress’. If that means you do press ups until you are good enough to earn the right to do dumbbell bench press and it takes 8 weeks, it takes 8 weeks.
I also stand on the shoulder of many giants in my belief of ‘progressive overload ‘and ‘SAID’ (specific adaption to imposed demands). They are the very foundations of training and to me mean when someone has progressively adapted to training stimulus you have been training them with and they have earned the right to progress change the programme.
From a coaching perspective I heard this quote very early on in my coaching journey and stand by it. “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”.
5. Do you put an emphasis on player nutrition, what key points to you try and put across?
In my opinion nutrition is often overlooked in a quest to get the sets, reps and training session’s right. I am once again a getting the basics right kind of guy. Sports clubs always have heaps of supplements to hand but I very much believe in a food first approach, and supplements are only there to supplement a good diet. ‘You can’t polish a turd’ is a very Yorkshire way of saying it.
6. Lastly, 3 things you like to do in your own time, away from Yorkshire CCC?
Good food and good red wine
Spending time with loved ones…
Put these all together and it is a pretty perfect way to spend a day.