As we enter 2021, we felt it would be useful to reflect on 2020 and offer some thoughts about what 2021 might hold for us cricketers.
None of us in the UK had any season to speak of. Some of us got some game time towards the end of the summer, but it was pretty short (but sweet for some we are sure). We entered the autumn hoping 2021 would see a return to normal and we would be able to get into nets after Christmas. Some of It’s Just Crickets customers organised 1 to 1 coaching and net sessions (really, honestly, not jealous!) and we know some set up nets in their own homes or garages because we supplied the kit to enable that (again, really not jealous….).
However, as Christmas passed, we saw Boris preparing himself for a broadcast to the Nation and we all knew what that meant…No January nets, maybe no February nets, and now it seems, potentially no March nets! Tsk.
At It’s Just Cricket we had an eventful year. We saw a slow down in purchases of cricket equipment from UK customers whilst at the same time were shipping kit to customers around the world, from Norway to Australia, from the US to Tokyo and pretty much everywhere in between. We also saw customers investing in coaching and training aids as recreational play and netting became impossible. Many purchased feed buddies for their children as Christmas presents. However, given the continuing restrictions on the ability to practice and train, we suspect the kids are going to struggle to get to use them as Dad (and let’s be honest, Mum too) ‘tests them out’… Terrific piece of kit, great fun and actually a serious training aid as well.
It’s Just Cricket also moved premises, and location, and had a few personnel changes including my own appointment to the Board of the Company. The restrictions on travel and non-essential retail limited the opportunity for customers to visit our new store in Wrexham, but a few determined souls did find a window when that was allowed. Thanks guys, we really appreciated you making the effort to come and see us. Supply of equipment also became challenging as the year progressed, but our suppliers worked really hard to ensure that we had stock.
All in all, it was a tricky year and we would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all those cricketers that have entrusted It’s Just Cricket with supplying their kit in such difficult times and all of our partners and suppliers that made that possible.
So, 2021? What does the year ahead promise? Not an auspicious start in truth, but hopefully enough people will have been vaccinated by Easter for the Government to allow recreational sport to start again. We know many leagues are publishing their fixture lists in the belief that the season will go ahead, let’s hope that happens.
How are we going to occupy ourselves until then?
- Start outdoor nets early wherever possible?
- Sort out our kit ahead of the season? Cleaning up bats? Replacing those missing spikes and working out whether those boots have another season in them?
- Investing in new kit even? Can that bag really fit all that stuff in or is it time to get something bigger?
It’s Just Cricket can help with some of that of course.
Is that enough to keep us occupied? Probably not.
We think the time has finally come to think about, well actually do, a little physical training to prepare for the season ahead. A normal approach has been to rock up to the first couple of games of the season having biffed a few balls around in the nets only to realise that we are desperately unprepared to play. Those quick singles are not that quick, turning a comfortable single into a sharp two is more an ambition than a reality (and a golden opportunity to get run out or tweak something vital) and Sundays are spent moaning quietly on the sofa unable to walk properly. We know we are not alone in this.
Maybe the time has finally come to physically prepare ourselves to play cricket when the opportunity presents itself? But how? We can’t go to the gym and anyway, what exercises should we attempt? Our friend at the Cornish Cricket Company, Sean Hooper, suggested one solution. He and some very qualified friends has created fitness programmes, designed specifically for cricketers of all ages that can be performed with minimal equipment at home. Sean has worked alongside England Lions Strength & Conditioning expert Tom Turner to create these programmes and there is even an App that helps the player execute the programme and track progress. Its called CricAthlete52 and we at It’s Just Cricket are going to give it a go.
There are a variety of subscriptions schemes available which should suit every type of player and pocket. What have we got to lose apart from a few pounds (and we have put a few of those on in the last 9 months)? You can find out more about CricAthlete52 on all the usual channels, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (cricathlete, Cricathele52 and @cricathlete52) or via the website (FITNESS FOR CRICKET – CricAthlete52 (thecornishcricketcompany.co.uk).
If you decide to try it yourselves we would be grateful if you could record the fact that you are following up a recommendation from It’s Just Cricket and use the code IJCFeb21. That will help us understand whether our customers are interested in this kind of product and determine whether its worth seeking out others.
So, lets keep everything crossed and hope we can all get out on the pitch and have some fun. Goodbye 2020, hello 2021.