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Outdoors and 20 degrees in mid-November!

Posted in Disability Cricket

Chris Ellison

England's PD squad took the opportunity to engage in a surprise outdoor fielding workshop last weekend

The England Physical Disablities squad’s build-up to the overseas tour to Dubai continued with another fantastic training camp at Edgbaston last weekend.

In all 18 players from the squad of 21 were able to make the weekend, which started with a discussion around a recent Radio Five Live phone-in presented by Michael Vaughan on 'Handling Pressure'.

Healthy discussion and debate followed with key themes drawn out and action plans for individual training agreed. Two powerful actions agreed by the squad were ‘leaving no stone unturned’ in our preparation and ‘embracing the challenge to view pressure scenarios as an opportunity’.

All the players were able to view our tour and programme in the bigger picture context. The first ever international PD series overseas says everything about what we are taking part in. The legacy beyond is ours to establish.

Areas of work on the Saturday also included a ‘playing against spin’ session led by assistant coach Will Kitchen, a high intensity ‘at the death’ scenario-based exercise with consequences for both batters and bowlers and a close catching workshop.

The day finished with a strength and conditioning circuit. Yours truly joined in much to the enjoyment at the beginning of all the squad! I say enjoyment at the beginning as by the end of the circuit, under the direction (more motivational guru-style communication!!) of national cricket development manager Neil Bradshaw and Kitchen, the players (and lead coach) had pushed themselves hard.

Few, if any smiling faces were present afterwards. The joys, pleasures and therapeutic effects of ‘cold therapy’ awaited the squad but to a man all players (and the lead coach) got stuck in.

Sunday started with an early morning gym session including free weights work, core stability exercises, yoga and theraband prehab exercises.

At 11am the squad fell silent in a moment of reflection on Remembrance Sunday to honour those who have given their lives in the wars past and present.

With the weather so favourable and warm the squad took full advantage setting up a high catching fielding workshop outside of the Edgbaston stadium.

It was a strange sight and sound, lots of cricketers training outside in mid-November, but a joy to be part of before the winter closes in.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent indoors running a round-robin format of six-a-side indoor matches. Keeping the lads match ready and competitive is a must. We face a daunting challenge of taking on a Pakistan side in the middle of their playing season coming from the midst of our English winter.

As discussed above, the lads and coaching team have turned this on its head and see it as a challenge to embrace and look forward to.

All players are fully aware of their responsibilities back at their counties of what is required in the next four weeks leading up to our training camp at Ellesmere College, Shropshire, in mid-December.

This next training camp will mark our anniversary. Few would have thought or dreamt 12 months ago we’d be preparing for an international series overseas. The reality of the work required to get prepared hit home to many at this latest training camp in Edgbaston. The time is now.....

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