Last man standing – another game for the coaches’ kit bag

One of the games we play with the Colts at our Club is ‘Last Man Standing’ (not to be confused with Last Man Stands). It’s a lot of fun, with batters and fielders fully engaged, and in spite of the very simplistic rules there are a number of learning opportunities embedded in the format.

Batters come to the crease in rotation (as in racing/relay/carousel cricket) – if they get to the bowler’s end without being dismissed, they return to the line of waiting batters to have another go; if they get out, they join the fielding team; Last Man Standing is the winner.

Players quickly come to appreciate that there is more to batting than a perfect forward defensive or a reverse sweep.

[aside – no, I don’t directly coach either stroke.]

  • Placement into gaps and fast running are as important as technique, very often more so.
  • Players have to develop (and refine) tactics – do they block and run, or hit out for the open spaces? The latter can work well early on, when there are fewer fielders; less so as the outfield fills with a dozen or more of their team mates plus coaches and parents.
  • The game introduces competition (and can be brutal – we generally play ‘if you are out, you are out, no ‘first ball grace’, no ‘three chances’).
  • Fielding can be especially fierce – fielders enjoy trying to dismiss their teammates, and, with no penalties for overthrows, players are encouraged to (try to) throw down the stumps from any angle. Continue reading Last man standing – another game for the coaches’ kit bag

I like a bit of chaos…

33 Five- and six-year old children (and 6 or 7 adults – coaches, teachers & teaching assistants), 16 balls, lots of throwing & catching, all in the space of two badminton courts.

I knew one of the other coaches saw danger in the chaos.

‘Could we get them to line up & take it in turns?’

’How about splitting them into two groups, and having only half of the working at the same time?’

But I saw lots of kids taking lots of catches (and dropping some), being aware of what was going on around them, having fun.

I like a (little) bit of chaos in practice. It encourages focus, on the task in front of the players.

Now, I hope it goes without saying that I am not advocating allowing an apparently chaotic situation to degenerate into a dangerous one. But in this case, with a responsible adult for every five children, I really didn’t want to have the kids lining up and taking turns — I wanted to get the whole group active and engaged. I wanted them to think that cricket was FUN!

And at the same time learning how to ‘play nicely’ with others around them.

Sometimes, a little chaos is a good thing!