Chevrons seek fitness edge

FITNESS MASTER . . . Zimbabwe cricket team fitness trainer Sean Bell (right) looks on as Malcolm Waller takes off in a sprint drill at Harare Sports Club. — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda
FITNESS MASTER . . . Zimbabwe cricket team fitness trainer Sean Bell (right) looks on as Malcolm Waller takes off in a sprint drill at Harare Sports Club. — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

NATIONAL cricket team fitness trainer Sean Bell wants the Chevrons to be the fittest squad in the world as the team heads towards a gruesome fixtures programme that will see Zimbabwe play some of the world’s top nations.

The Chevrons might not be a force, but Bell believes a fitness edge could be a game-changer.

The cricket side will play powerhouses India and New Zealand as part of plans to push Zimbabwe into the world’s top eight by the end of 2016.

“If you want to compete with the best in the cricket field with your bowling, batting and fielding you also have to compete with the best on their fitness.

“That’s my goal, that’s my job; I take it very seriously and would like to increase all these guys’ fitness. You put the hard work in the gym and then it becomes easier out there, that’s what I am aiming to do with the guys,” said Bell.

The 33-year-old is accredited to the American Council in Exercise, the biggest non-profit fitness organisation in the world. He holds a Level Three England and Wales Cricket Board coaching qualification.

His exposure could come in handy for the Chevrons who bowed out of the last World Cup in the first round.

“We have got some T20s and one-day matches coming up and want to train the guys to be more explosive, faster and take the work they do in the gym out onto the field so that they become better cricketers.

“If you are ticking all those boxes and you know when you cross those ropes to play for your country, you have done your work in the gym and in the nets then you are more likely to succeed,” said Bell as Zimbabwe prepare for three ODIs and two T20s at home against India next month.

So, who was the fittest after last week’s training?

“. . . obviously I am not going to single out anyone. Some guys are stronger in the gym, while others are better on the straighter lines yet others are better on the agility works. So, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

“At the moment we are very impressed with what the guys are bringing to the table and if they continue with that attitude they are going to get better,” said the former Falcon College and St John’s College pupil.

Bell is a former cricketer who played with Zimbabwe internationals like Travis Friend and Bunny Rogers as youngsters in Midlands. He played cricket until age 16 before he took up golf.

So, how did he end up in the fitness training world?

“When I came back from university in Cape Town I actually stumbled into the fitness world doing some cricket coaching by chance and I started enjoying it.

“I realised that I wanted my focus to be on the fitness side of cricket. So, while I was doing my cricket paperwork, I also started adding on my strength and conditioning work and sports nutrition. I also hold certificates in sports psychology.”

And when do fitness trainers train?

“Definitely in-between the training and the fielding and working with the guys in the gym, I definitely try to grow my own fitness. It’s one of the things I like to do . . . to show I can also walk the talk.”

Bell said the science behind fitness training was ever-evolving.

“It’s ever changing, it does make it tricky being a trainer in the modern day where everyone has access to the Internet. Often, guys get these pieces of information on the Internet; the sources sometimes aren’t reputable and it constantly keeps you on your toes.

“So, every two years I have to do more courses to stay abreast with the latest trends,” said the “23-year-old”.

“I am 33, but feel 23,” he chuckled.

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