“Knock ‘em down” & Lock ‘em up” — first attempts at ‘video game’ style activities

I have been trying out the ‘video game based design’ approach to cricket practices over the last month,  — that the games should be easy to learn but hard to master, and that learning achievement is rewarded by the opening up of new and more challenging ‘levels’ in the game.

I have settled on a couple of games that seem to meet some of the key criteria — I give you “Knock ‘em down” and “Lock ‘em up”. Continue reading “Knock ‘em down” & Lock ‘em up” — first attempts at ‘video game’ style activities

Knock ‘em down — ‘video game design’ pt1

‘Knock ‘em down’ is a team bowling game, based on the bowling relay drill.

Teams have multiple sets of stumps to aim at, and progress to higher (harder) levels as they win a round — targets get smaller as stumps are removed as the team progresses up the levels.

This is my first game that incorporates the video game “levls” concept – more a gamified bowling drill, but it does seem to engage players more than simply bowling for 5 minutes and counting hits. Continue reading Knock ‘em down — ‘video game design’ pt1

Lock ‘em up — ‘video game design’ pt 2

In ‘lock ‘em up’, the batting team earn ‘upgrades’ (more open spaces to hit the ball into) by ‘locking’ fielders into disadvantageous fielding positions by successfully hitting the ball into designated target areas.

It is, in many respects, a gamified version of the old ‘Lord’s game’.  I have played it only with a front foot drive, but I can see no reason not to adapt it to for other attacking strokes.

This game has developed from an idea shared by @imsporticus , modified to include concepts from @davidhinchliffe and @ianren21 — thanks to all of my fellow coaches for the inspiration, and also to @AmyPrice_10 et al. for the theoretical underpinnings of sports coaching informed by digital game design.


Lock ’em up – how it works

Lock 'em upPlaying the game

Batters are challenged to drive the ball straight down the ground.

It might be best to have the coach feed the ball, or to allow a ‘co-operative feed’ from a teammate, to ensure that the batter receives deliveries that give him at least the chance to play a front foot drive.

Batters receive a set number of deliveries (3-6 seems to work, depending on the number of players in each team, and how patient they are whilst waiting their turn to bat).

Batters do not have to run every ball, but they score runs only by hitting the ball into the appropriate scoring zone (either restricted to the lock-up zones, or extended on either side) and running, and/or by clearing a boundary line, if there is an adequate space available.

Lock up

Hit the ball over the first target line (into the first lock-up zone (LUZ1), designated by cones), and the batting team get to ‘lock up’ a fielder – the fielder has to be “in the lock up’ (touching the designated cone) until the batter strikes the next delivery.

Hitting the ball beyond the second target line (LUZ2) locks up two fielders; beyond the third target line (LUZ3) and three fielders will be locked.

Fielders are locked until the next batter comes in OR for the duration of the team innings (so subsequent batters start with some locked fielders) — coach’s choice.

If a batter is bowled or caught out, all locked fielders are automatically released.

Other options

  • LUZs can be set closer to the batsman, or further away, depending on the batters’ ability to hit the target
  • If a batter is run out, they lose the ability to lock up fielders for the rest of their innings/for the next delivery
    • so that there is a consequence for poor running or good fielding [this suggested by the u11 players I tested this game with]
  • Batters in pairs
    • more representative; run outs at both ends [again, suggested by the u11 group]
  • Batters can score from shots hit outside the target area
    • depends on the number of fielders (more fielders could effectively block the LUZ, so batters might need more scope to score runs outside the LUZ), and the ability of the batsmen to hit into the designated LUZ.