Warming up and cooling down are very essential in any workout/skill practice. Female Cricket Players often avoid warming up and cooling down but one shall critically realize the importance of both the things. If avoided for a long, not warming up and cooling down can result in the building of injuries over a period of time. It is mandatory for all the players to start with proper warming of the body and end with cooling down before and after the cricket sessions.
Warming up is a primary preparatory activity in which through movements a player adjusts herself for the fulfillment of main activity. Basically, it gives our mind and muscle signals of starting the main activity. Warming up is classified into general and specific. General warming up involves a series of physical movements of general nature for the whole body such as jogging, striding, etc. While specific warming up includes the activities which are performed later in the main activity like fielding drills, knocking, etc. in cricket. Before going to a match or going to a practice session, one can do knocking or some fielding drills in groups. Knocking for a variety of shots can be done like front foot drive, back-foot punch, etc. A bowler can do single wicket or basic bowling drills. Single wicket helps in increasing bowling accuracy. All these drills before a match will help in enhancing performance as the body is already used to few movements that are to be performed in the match.
As stated earlier, warming up is very significant. It raises the body temperature which improves physical work efficiency, increases lung ventilation which supplies more oxygen, improves reaction time and co-ordination as well, results in better skill performance, helps to increase the range of motions, it even results in the removal of lactic acid.
Lowering down the intensity of workout/ training by performing stretching exercises and relaxation exercises is called cooling down. Basically, cooling down exercises prevent post-exercise soreness and stiffness. It is essential for recovering to pre-exercise workout state and readjusting to various factors. It avoids pooling down of blood in veins which causes fatigue.
There are a variety of stretches like dynamic, static, isometric and relaxed. Dynamic stretches involve movements while stretching, static stretch involves stretching without movement, isometric stretch involves stretch against resistance and relaxed stretch involves stretch aided by resistance.
Let’s look at the four types of stretches:
- DYNAMIC – a stretch through the full range of motion, eg an arm rotation.
- STATIC – a dynamic movement that is then held at the most extreme point, eg a lunge held at its deepest position.
- ISOMETRIC – a stretch against resistance, eg the splits whilst braced between two chairs.
- RELAXED – a stretch aided by resistance, eg a front split.
Difference between warming-up and cooling-down in cricket
Interestingly both warming up and cooling down involves stretching, but there is a slight difference between the two. While on one hand warming up involves dynamic stretching, cooling down involves static stretching. In cooling down, the activity shall be performed in just reverse of warming up. One can also end the session with deep breathing and meditation exercises which are a great way of relaxing the whole body. One shall focus on stretching each and every muscle. Some of the common warm-up and cool-down stretch are: shoulder circles, side bends, upper back stretch, lower back stretch, sideways neck stretch, shoulder and side stretch, calf stretch, groin stretch, hamstring stretch, quadriceps stretch, etc. proper stretching will surely help in eliminating stiffness and soreness and would be very beneficial in the long run.
Following is a common way in which a female cricket player can do a general cooling-down:
- Start with a light jog for 5-7 minutes.
- Proper dynamic stretching of all the major muscles involved
These different types of stretching focus on a different variety of flexibility, so it stands to reason that different sports require different types of stretching. For example, gymnasts require all types of flexibility, for cricket, only dynamic flexibility is required.
Some of the common stretching exercises which can be done by a female cricketer are:
- Shoulder circles
- Hamstring stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Calf stretch
- Gluteus stretch
- Backstretch ( both upper and lower)
- Groin stretch
- Neck stretch
All the above 8 stretched can be done in both warm-ups and cool down. These exercises can be done in groups or individually. Few exercises can be done with bands also with proper guidance.