Wayne Madsen says the work both on and off the field this winter will give Derbyshire CCC the best opportunity to succeed on the big stage.
The squad reported back from their Christmas break this week to begin the second phase of their preparations for the 2015 campaign, which begins with the visit of Lancashire on Sunday 19 April.
Madsen believes the squad are in the best shape he has ever seen at this stage of pre-season as the club aim for a fast start to the new season.
“From a physical point of view, we have never been in better shape,” Madsen said.
“All the tests point to us being the fittest we have ever been, which speaks volumes for the work Dr Jamie Tallent (strength and conditioning coach) has done. It has been exceptional.
“We have had a very good six weeks and I think most of the guys needed the Christmas break. We have come back feeling refreshed and ready to go again.
“This is a 10-week stretch now until we get away to Abu Dhabi. There will definitely be a step up in terms of the number of balls we are hitting, the amount of bowling we are doing and the level of fielding and catching we are doing.
“Everything goes up a level to build up for the season to ensure we are in the best shape possible. We want to start the season well.”
Madsen says the squad are putting in hard yards now to reap rewards through the season and is confident that what they are doing will produce results.
He added: “We believe everything we are doing will bring us the results we need to be successful this summer.
“It’s early to put markers down, but we want to aim for promotion in the Championship and reach the knockout stages of the one-day competitions.
“We will improve in the NatWest T20 Blast, I can guarantee that. There were areas in the Twenty20 competition where we let ourselves down but we did chase down close to 200 to beat the champions, so that shows the ability is there. It’s the consistency we’ve got to improve on.
“I don’t believe it would be as much of a surprise this season as it was in 2012. We are more on people’s radars these days.
“We are changing belief at the club and around the county circuit and it’s not just what we are doing on the field as players, it’s the ambition we are showing in the developments off the field.”
“You want to be competing and winning trophies and, as a club, we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to be on the big stage.”