Daz putting the players through their paces

Darren Veness

The Somerset players who are spending the winter back at home have all been working hard training at the County Ground in Taunton.

To check how the players have performed since reporting back in early November, we caught up with Darren Veness the Head of Strength and Conditioning at the Club.

“We’ve had a nice long block of training,” he said. “We’ve been working on all aspects of their fitness and their work capacity and building their strength again. Essentially what we have been doing in this first block is building on the foundations that we have laid over the last couple of years.  More specifically we have been focusing on some of the skills like turning mechanics and generally trying to improve on all of the areas we have worked on.”

With a number of the squad overseas, how has Daz kept tabs on these players?  “We have got a core group of lads who are back here, but quite a few of them are away,” he said. “However, with the beauty of modern technology we can pretty much link in and watch them training so the detailed video footage we can send back and forth makes coaching on-line so much easier.  Even though some of them are on the other side of the world we have still got a pretty decent group rapport with them all. As a squad we are still communicating well together and we can trace everything that the boys are doing and track their performances and that is a good thing.”

He went on: “The time before Christmas is always a time when we are re-addressing the basics and making sure that they are at least back to where they were during the season and now we are looking to go beyond.  Because the lads carry on working on their fitness through the summer we always end a little bit ahead of ourselves and we have seen that already. This is because in addition to playing cricket in the summer, the lads also continue working on their fitness which means that we don’t get that drop off.  That means that every year we are moving forward.”

Daz talked about some of the specific areas that the squad have been working on.  “The programme we have been working on so far has been aimed at producing faster and more explosive athletes,” he said.  “We are looking at their sprint and acceleration qualities and the multi-directional turning.  We would expect to see a pay off in things like batting and also the short term sprinting in the fielding work that they have been doing.

“Paul Tweddle (Assistant Coach, Fielding) has been fantastic with some of the fielding drills he has been working on with the lads. A key area in this is developing a throwing structure so that we can really start to get to grips with that.  The lads have also done a lot of work with Physio Jamie Thorpe to see how we can develop the positions they need to be in to deliver the fielding activities and he has put together some drills that they have worked on.”

Daz added: “What we have tried to push on with this winter is a close relationship with the skills coaches to try to make sure we can diversify even more and become even better.”