What has the first month back been like for the Derbyshire squad? All-rounder Wes Durston gives us an insight into the players' pre-season training schedule in his first blog for the Club.
Pre-season training is supposed to get easier with age. This is now my fourth winter with Derbyshire and it’s easily the hardest start we’ve had.
When we were first told that we would be doing two sessions a day, gym and strength work in the morning and cardio in the afternoon, it was certainly a shock to the system. Previously we’ve had a session in the morning and then that would be it. Now we have the same intensity with the weights but also the cardio work on top. It’s safe to say there were a few sore legs after the first week.
But the shock has now passed and it’s, surprisingly, become quite fun. We have different cardio squads and we’re all helping each other get through it. Everything has increased, the weights have gone up and we’re running for longer. Each day the running is, apparently, supposed to be getting easier, but I can tell you it’s hard work. But we are all working together as a group which helps to make this process a lot easier.
The banter and the camaraderie amongst the lads is great, as always, and this was seen last week when the squad went paintballing at the National Paintballing Fields at Bassetts Pole.
It was a brilliant way for us to get away from the County Ground and just do something different. And of course it was good that I could lead a yellow team victory on the day! But even though it was largely a fun day out, I certainly felt that we took a lot from it. It was quite hard work as you’re running around in hard terrain while people are constantly trying to shoot at you. I guess, if anything, it’s like batting in a way as you are concentrating all the time and you also have to be switched on tactically otherwise you’re going to get a face full of paint!
It was definitely a very good couple of hours down in Birmingham.
We were, however, straight back in training the next morning. We’ve now been back for a month and despite it only being a short period, you can already notice physically the difference in people. Morale is high and we are starting to see the results.
But this time of the year can be difficult and I always find that it tends to drag a little. January is a pretty dull month anyway, so that goes by pretty quickly and suddenly its February and March and we’re starting to get outside. That’s why it’s important that we do this phase properly working on the physical side of our games. But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first four weeks and now we continue to work hard through Christmas and into the New Year.
As you are all aware, the 2014 fixtures are now out. It’s always an exciting time when the new fixtures are announced, it always makes the season feel that little bit closer. We start the campaign with two away games and I think how we perform in those two matches will set the tone. We’re hoping for a quick start in the four-day competition and it’s no secret that we all want to go straight back up at the first attempt - and a good start will certainly help our cause just like it did in 2012.
Then we move into May and suddenly we are straight into Twenty20 action. It’s the earliest we’ve ever started the competition! In theory, Friday night cricket will be fantastic. Hopefully we’ll get some big crowds, as usual, for those big games at Derby and we can have a good run. But before any ball is bowled there is a lot of work ahead of us.
Yes the fixtures are way off as we stand, but if we’re not properly prepared then it will cost us come April and that’s the last thing we want. So it’s back to the gym, back outside in the cold running laps and back in the nets as we prepare for 2014.
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