Kent’s squad of players are hungry for success after the disappointments of last season and a new fitness regime, including a change in diet, could help boost performances on the field.
The County are to be congratulated on installing an exciting new look Coaching Support Team to add weight to Jimmy Adams and the players efforts for success across this seasons three competitions, which all provide their own different challenge from a fitness point of view.
Former Kent favourite Matt Walker has returned as Assistant Coach, alongside Analyst, Michael Najdan, physiotherapist, Dan George and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jon Fortescue.
Throughout the season we will be bringing you in depth interviews with the new faces behind the scenes at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence and Kent website journalist Peter Burrowes caught up with Jon Fortescue who has already settled seamlessly into his new role.
Jon has come from a football background having left his job as Head of Academy Sports Science at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he has plenty of experience of cricket having at various stages helped out at Surrey, Hampshire and Warwickshire.
He held a similar role to his one at Wolves at Southampton Football Club.
“I am already really enjoying the challenge of working with this group of players and have been made very welcome”, he said. “Working in the two sports is very different in preparing the players with a football match lasting 90 minutes and a cricket match up to four days each of six hours of action and concentration out in the middle”.
Jon has been given a free role at Kent to develop and refine the Sports Science aspect of the game and works closely on a daily basis with Physio Dan George, who has stepped up from a similar role with the second team.
Both are looking to keep the players fit, healthy and happy for the demanding new cricket programme introduced by the ECB this season, all of which will test the players’ fitness, mental approach and stamina to the limit.
Jon looks after the players well being with a variety of different and challenging tests, including gym sessions, outdoor training, ice baths, corrective exercises to help players back to full fitness from injury, psychology monitoring and emphasises the importance of diet and not getting dehydrated, the problem Brendan Nash suffered from in that epic innings of his at Cheltenham last season.
As the new campaign gets under way the players will even have their own chef to cook and monitor they have the correct food to eat and on away trips the hotels where the team stay will be given strict instructions on what food to provide and when.
“At Canterbury the players will have completely different food from that which is served to spectators”, said Jon, “We want them to have as much protein as possible with different meats and vegetables and help them either lose weight or build up their strength whichever is applicable to each individual.”
Before play starts the squad will be given certain drills as part of their warm-up. One point of discussion amongst supporters has been the playing of football, sometimes on a wet outfield in the build up to a days play, possibly risking unwanted injury.
“We will probably play less football but it is something the players enjoy and helps to relax them.” Jon is enjoying working with the players and is looking forward to the arrival of overseas star Doug Bollinger who will bring an added new dimension to the team.
One of Jon and Dan’s current task is to get injured players up and running and young fast bowling prospect Ivan Thomas is progressing well after missing most of last season with a back injury.
“We have had Ivan bowling at various levels of action starting with just four overs, progressing to six and eight and then bowling ten overs in the recent friendly with Durham, hopefully with no ill effects.”
Jon said the previous fitness coaches at the club laid a sound foundation in setting out a fitness programme for the players to follow and he was looking to enhance this and ensure the squad are physically and mentally at their peak for the challenges ahead during the season.