Sadler says Northamptonshire squad in good shape as players return for winter training
The Northamptonshire squad is now back in full winter training and head coach John Sadler was delighted at the shape the players are in after making their return to work at the County Ground.
Having been given October and early November off to recharge their batteries following the 2021 season, the bulk of the Northants players returned to Wantage Road this week.
They are starting the long road towards getting themselves in the best possible place to attack the 2022 season which will start with the County Championship campaign in April.
And Sadler is delighted the squad will be starting from a good base.
“It is a fit group, and that is one of the beauties of the modern age where the lads are under 12-month contracts and they get supported 12 months of the year,” said the Northamptonshire head coach, who celebrated his 40th birthday last weekend.
“They get some time away in October and early November, which is important both mentally and physically.
“But with the 12-month contracts, the guys are in good shape pretty much the whole year round.”
And Sadler, who took over the reins from previous head coach David Ripley at the end of September, outlined what the players have been up to, and what they can expect over the coming weeks and months.
“The players have been working remotely for a couple of weeks, they have been having some fitness sessions away from the ground,” said Sadler, who steps into the boss’s role having been assistant coach at Wantage Road for the past two years.
“We then officially came back in last week and had some meetings and discussions about the winter ahead, and some reviews of last year.
“We properly reported back for training on Monday with some fitness testing and stuff like that.
“The players are all good, they are all refreshed and they have all had a good time to reflect on the season, on what they did well and what they could do better, both individually and as a team.
“They are all now ready to get stuck into a good winter and start thinking forwards.”
And he added: “At this time of the year it is not intense in terms of nine-to-five, five days a week.
“It is very much when you are in your are working, but then when you have done what you needed to do then your time is your own.
“Everybody has their own individual programmes, everybody has different areas they have got to target from a fitness perspective, so the bowlers for instance will do a lot more strength work and the batters might do more aerobic work.”
On the cricket skills front, Sadler said: “It is very individual at this point, but it is a case of working hard and intensely when they are in.
“So there is nothing compulsory at the moment, but if some of the lads want to come in and work on a couple of areas within their game, work on their cricket skills they can.
“That might mainly be the batters wanting to do a bit of skill acquisition, learn a new shot or fine tune a little technical issue, then now is the time to do that because there is no pressure on performance.
“There is no match around the corner they have to get ready for, so it is very much a bit of specific work for whatever each indivisual wants to work on.
“There is input from the coaches, but it is very much optional cricket work at the moment.
“The fitness stuff is compulsory, but the cricket skills are optional and dependent on what any individual needs.”