Following an intense five week training block, Notts now begin a well-earned week-long deload. 

In the sixth instalment lifting the lid on the inner sanctum, Calvin Harrison touches on the shape of the group leading into the break, before detailing the benefits accrued from weekly sessions at the ECB National Cricket Centre at Loughborough University. 

Keeping Up With Calvin: Feeling The Rhythm

Keeping Up With Calvin: Balancing Act

Keeping Up With Calvin: Physical Preparation

Keeping Up With Calvin: The Front Foot

Keeping Up With Calvin: Brotherly Bonds


It’s been a big build up to this half-term rest. This past week in particular, we have finished really strong. Our fitness testing shows that we are on an upward trajectory, and that all the work going on through the various phases of training is paying off. We certainly feel fit, albeit slightly knackered, so this break comes at a good time for us to mellow out and come back firing. 

When you have time away, you have a bit of responsibility to keep yourself accountable. There is no point going away and ruining the work we’ve done by sabotaging our diet and exercise. The general feeling is that we’ve done a lot to get to the point, so there is a strong drive to hold onto it and kick on when we return. 

It does also give our minds a chance to switch off too, as there is a noticeable increase in intensity at the net sessions - particularly when we head to Loughborough. 

It is such a vast space there, we are really able to get ourselves into a match scenario with the open spaces, bowling at batters on various surfaces. 

You are also able to get into the routines that you would in a game - perhaps as a batter you might go off to square leg then come back again before each delivery. Some have more of a routine than others - Hass is quite set in what he does, for example, so it’s a useful time to practice these routines, getting into a match mindset. 

As bowlers, we are able to come up with plans and discuss things with each other. You can set fields so you are not just bowling for the sake of it, but you have a specific methodology in your mind in an effort to take wickets.  

A big part of making training effective is to ‘stay in the contest’, which effectively means staying in the present and focusing on the battle between bat and ball, rather than worrying about things like technique that might interrupt your flow and match-mode practice. 

That mental skill is honed through training and repetition, so when it comes to a game, you are not worried about whether you are able to execute a particular skill because you have done it so many times before. If you’ve nailed it in training, you do it with confidence in the middle. 

Fletch [Luke Fletcher] has mentioned before, the fact he can go into a game without any fear about his ability to bowl at the death for example. As long as he executes the skill, he has done his job. And if he doesn’t execute it, that isn’t through lack of preparation - he’s left no stone unturned because he’s practiced so much. That’s a great mindset to have.

The Loughborough sessions are also heavy on the feedback element. After a block of bat versus ball, during which four bowlers will go against two batters, we will talk to each other through what we thought had and hadn’t worked. 

Generally, as the batter or bowler, you know what has and hasn’t worked because of the outcomes in each delivery, but it is interesting to get the other person’s point of view. 

It provides extra clarity for whether a plan is working, or whether something you are working on is worth continuing, because we are all developing and refining new things. 

You also get a new perspective you hadn’t necessarily thought about before. Quick bowlers might be focusing on bowling as fast as they can to hurry a batter, while the batter might suggest afterwards that a particular length was hard to face, and that might be something to think about next time. 

The important part of that process is transparency; we are a tight group anyway so we can be honest with feedback, positive or negative. 

No one is scared to say that it wasn’t someone else’s best session. It is honest feedback, and when you give that out, you get it back. There is no point tiptoeing around the truth. It is generally known to the person receiving it anyway. 

When we come back after half-term, we’ve got a few weeks before we go to Abu Dhabi. 

We are going to keep building up our match intensity volume because the aim, once we are there, is to pretty much be as if we are ready to start the season. We’re not there to warm up, we want to be ready to go by then.