Former Championship-winning coach with Warwickshire, limited-overs coach with England and now head coach at Lancashire, Ashley Giles talks AOC through pre-play warm-ups. But be warned, you might think football’s back on the agenda at this time of year, but Gilo is not a fan of the beautiful game when it comes to cricketing preparation.
FOOTBALL SEASON? NOT FOR GILO!
I don’t like football as a warm-up. I just think it’s totally unnatural. There’s a high risk of injury; I think it’s unhealthy. And it wastes hours! You work out the number of hours you spend playing football over a season – it’s a waste! You don’t see Stuart Lancaster warming up the rugby team with a few throw-downs before a rugby game.
When I started at Warwickshire we played walking football – because we thought it was more safe. You could only fast-walk, and it was quite funny: three touches and some silly walking. But even with that there were more arguments about who won, who lost and who fouled someone than there was concentration on the cricket.
We used to play a game called mitt-ball. You have a fielding goal net at each end, you all have a baseball mitt on, you throw the ball around and you have to get five completed passes before someone then hits the stump in front of the goal. That’s good because it is relevant – it involves throwing, catching, moving, warming up. You could do it without mitts but with them you can throw harder and longer in your warm-up.
Nowadays with Lancashire my focus is on cricket skills – if anything, I want to give guys that extra time off – they can spend a bit more time in the dressing room and then come down and do as much skills work as they need to do on their particulars. We do warm-ups but we don’t do warm-up games anymore. We focus on skills – our nuts and bolts.
There are 64 days of first-class cricket in a season. If you play 10 minutes of football a day that’s a lot of hours of playing football – which is risk of injury, unnatural movements, more time on your feet. When you look at it like that, it’s just common sense to not do it. There is a feel-good factor, but we’re professional cricketers – let’s get our priorities right.