How times have changed. Not so long ago, county cricketers would turn up a couple of weeks before the season, have a few nets, attempt to touch their toes and go out to bat.
No more. Worcestershire started pre-season fitness work in October. They've already had weeks of nets and yesterday they found themselves at The March Hare Leisure Centre in Broughton Hackett.
Some will say that go-carting, paint-balling and rifle-shooting will have little relevance once the cricket starts. True, but there are many days spent on cricket skills. The aim of days like this is to strengthen the bond that holds teams together in tough times; to encourage friendship and communication among wildly diverse members of the squad.
"When I started at Yorkshire in 1981, we had a net in the morning and a net in the afternoon," director of cricket Steve Rhodes recalled. "Then, the next day we'd have a net in the morning and a net in the afternoon. And there was always wine and beer on the table for lunch. There was more time spent in the bar than practising. We're far more professional now.
"Some good things happened in the bar. Not the drinking but the talking. You can pick up so many things from listening to more experienced players. Wisdom can be passed on that way.
"The idea for days like this is to give the guys a day where they just have fun together. They're rubbing shoulders away from a cricketing environment. It's the reason why I like them to travel together by coach. Otherwise it's all too easy for players to drift off and do their own things."
Not that Rhodes' mind is far from Worcestershire's first match on April 16. He believes he knows the 13 to be involved against Warwickshire - "have done for a few months" - and has encouraging news on the walking wounded.
"Simon Jones could play tomorrow," he says. "And Simon Mason has a good chance of being 100 per cent fit for the first game. Daryl Mitchell will open the batting."
Many of the squad look boyishly young. Not all of them, though. For, in their midst, preparing for his 25th season as a professional, is 41-year-old Graeme Hick.
He looks as trim as ever. He appears as enthusiastic, too. Though he gives no indication that this may be his last season, the smart money suggests it may be.
Hick refuses to be drawn on the Indian Twenty20 leagues but it is unthinkable that he has not been approached. Few would blame him if he decided to cash in next year.
He is undecided as to his future. He spent part of the winter taking his Level 4 coaching qualifications and part gaining experience as a television reporter.
"I've honestly no idea what I'll be doing in 18 months," he says. "I might take a gap year before I decide.
"I don't think it's healthy to go straight from the playing staff to the coaching staff at a club. I know people do but that's about opportunity."
It may surprise people that Hick is thinking of entering either profession but those who read his columns in this newspaper will know he is a thoughtful man with much to offer.
"I enjoyed both things," he says. "I picked up a couple of things from the Level 4 that would have helped me a few years ago. Being tall, I've always fought with my balance and there was some stuff in there that was interesting.
"I think, being a quiet man, and being happy being a quiet man, people think I don't have much to say. But that's not quite right.
"I really enjoyed writing [for The Post], but I'm not going to say certain things while I'm still a player. I might when I finish."
Such issues can wait. There's more cricket in Hick yet. His batting last season was excellent and his ability to 'finish' an innings vindicated the coach's decision to move him from three to five in the batting order in 2006.
"I hated batting down the order that first year," Hick says. "I didn't enjoy it at all. I only got the hang of it last year. I just thought I had to get on with it. But it's not nearly as good as batting three and dictating the course of the whole innings. There is an art to batting at five [in limited-overs cricket], but it's a dull art. Usually the fields are back and you just pick up the singles before having a blast in the last few overs."
Hick did take pleasure in the emergence of Moeen Ali and Stephen Davies at the top of the limited-overs order last year, however. "If it was up to me, I'd stick with them at the top of the order with Vikram [Solanki] at three," he said. "They give me confidence for the future.
"We have some potential in the bowling attack, too. The problem is that they could fall apart at the seams - almost literally - but if they stay injury-free we have a good opportunity to do very well."