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Catching up with Rory Hamilton Brown at IMG Academy

Rory Hamilton Brown in action at the Kia Oval on May 4, 2012 (Getty Images)

Rory Hamilton Brown arrived at IMG Academy in October to train, and refocus his mind and body to prepare for the upcoming season. A rising star in the sport of cricket, Brown, 25-years old, signed his first professional contract at only 16-years of age and is entering his ninth season of competition. In the wake of a tragic incident where he lost his best friend and teammate, Tom Maynard, Brown took a leave from the sport and resigned the captaincy of his Surrey club. In September this year, he signed for a second stint with Sussex.

Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Rory and get his insight on training in the U.S. …

On what brought him to IMG Academy …

“I had surgery about 18 months ago on my shoulder and bicep. Although I did a lot of rehab, I kept coming back and playing, rehabbing, coming back to play and messing it up. Because I’ve been playing pretty much 12 months out of the year for seven years, I haven’t had a good block of time I could spend solely focused on training physically. Then towards the end of last cricket season, one of my best mates, unfortunately, died, so that resulted in me needing to take about three months off. So I decided that this year before Christmas, I really wanted to go on full blast training physically, and I wanted to go somewhere that I could learn things I hadn’t learned before and really push myself with proper athletes and excellent coaches.”

On how he heard about the world-renowned training facility…

“The English Cricket Board had sent a couple of groups out here before, and those guys told me how great the place was.”

On his training regimen…

“Ultimately, I start playing again in January. I wanted to get as fit as I’ve ever been before Christmas. So Monday through Friday, I’m hitting three sessions per day in the gym and on the turf. In the mornings, I start off with sort of a sprint session – speed and movement – then we go straight into lifting right after that. That’s from about 8:45 until about 11:30 a.m. Then grab lunch and relax. I come back at about 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. for another session, with the golfers, and do another gym session for about an hour or hour and a half. The workout I do with them is more cardio intense. I also work with a nutritionist, Stephanie Wilson, who gives fantastic advice on little things to do to properly fuel. I’ve also done some visual training and mental conditioning work.”

On if the passing of his friend has bearing on his current training…

“No. I’ve had a lot of help at home. I’ve had time with a lot of friends and family to come to grips with it and get over it. Although that’s part of the reason I wanted to get away on my own to a completely different environment. I’ve had a lot of people close by to help me, but I felt like I needed to take that leap of faith and venture out on my own.”

On how IMG Academy is helping him find his own way…

“To me, it’s nice to come into an environment where no one really knows who you are, what you do – they just want to help you get better. That was the leap of faith I needed to take. The mental conditioning for me is more about re-establishing my goals within my sport and where I want to get to, using what’s happened possibly as a way to re-evaluate how I’ve gone about things in the past. It’s almost a wipe-the-slate clean start coming here.”

On where his career was prior to arriving in Florida…

“Career-wise, I was having the best year of my career. I just hadn’t played for the last three months of the season after the incident happened. I think even if what happened, had not have happened, I would have still found myself here at this time. But, there was a extra reason because I had the extra time out of sport.”

On the improvement he’s seen after nearly three weeks of training…

“All-around, I’ve done a lot of work on my speed. So I’m seeing a lot of improvement on my footwork. I’m also getting stronger quite quickly. Just that sort of overall feeling of well-being is what I’m noticing the most.”

On how his training translates to cricket…

“If you’re a batter in cricket, the stronger you are, the better physique you have, then the better you can hit the ball. At the optimum level of peak fitness, it means I can bat for longer periods of time, concentrate, be quicker to the ball in the field, be more agile, hit the ball further. There’s no end to the advantages.”

On who he is working with…

“In the morning, I am working with Scott [Gadeken] and Eric [Grantham]. Then in the afternoon with Nick [Panetta]. I do mental conditioning with Angus Mugford.”

On the biggest differences in European and U.S. sports training…

“I’ve never heard anyone called ‘coach’ before. Everyone here says ‘coach.’ Back home, you just call them their name… Also, the amount of space dedicated to training, and how everything is on the cutting edge of helping athletes.”

On the diversity of athletes he works alongside…

“In the morning, I work out with the NFL boys, and in the afternoon I work out with the golfers. I wanted to make sure my programs in the morning and afternoon were really different so that I get the most out of what I need.”

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