Surrey and England strokemaker Jason Roy shares his tips on off-season preparations, both technical and physical.
I had three weeks off this autumn/winter and when I got back in for training I was itching for it!
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The first thing I do is some top-hand work. I start off with five or 10 minutes just on top-hand drills, working on hitting through the ball, hitting straight, and making sure my weight is in the right place. Getting your top hand working like that gives you a good technical base to work from.
EXAMPLE TOP-HAND DRILL
1. Get a coach or a mate to deliver straight bobble-feeds with a tennis ball
2. Using just your top hand, work on hitting the ball late and straight along the floor, keeping your balance and shape
MIXING IT UP
After that I’ll ask the coach to fling balls to me with the Sidearm. It’s more realistic and varied than using a bowling machine. I’ll ask for a real mixture of deliveries: full, short, anything. After all, in a game you can’t tell a bowler to bowl full or short! Whether it’s in or out of season my preferred way to train is not knowing where the ball is going and having to react, as opposed to repetitive feeds in the same place.
OFF SEASON v IN SEASON
The main difference is the volume of practice you’ll do. In pre-season and preparing for tours the training is high volume; doing an hour or so of full-on hitting. Whereas before a game I might hit for five or 10 minutes, or in a net training session, for, say, 20 minutes.
IN THE GYM
It’s really important to get your gym work done during the off-season – even as a batter! It’s a combination of interval [running] and power [strength/speed] stuff. It’s far more intense than it would be during the season; it’s your opportunity to make your body fit and robust and ready for the games ahead.
My training is much more intense now that I’ve got a bit older and have learned a bit more about my game. When I was younger I used to go into the nets and just hit, not knowing what mistake I made if I got out or got beaten. Now if I got out I’d be able to tell you what I did wrong. Shot selection comes into it as well, but I think that’s just growing up a bit!