“[the coach] didn’t grow players by nurturing individual talents, he created a regime.”
“…coaches now are so controlling that they don’t allow players to go and express themselves…[young players] are not able to make decisions for themselves.”
“The coach should prepare the team, then let the captain get on with it.”
Recent quotes from England Test cricketers, all of them active over the last decade, all bemoaning the stifling impact of over-coaching.
Is there a problem with cricket coaching, especially at the elite level?
The former players are not alone in their concerns.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Bath (Elite Coaching and the Technocratic Engineers: Thanking the Boys at Microsoft) highlighted the dangers of over-reliance on technology and “systems” in coaching (specifically in professional club rugby, in this instance but the findings surely deserve wider reading).
In an article for ESPN’s Cricket Monthly, Jarrod Kimber rails against the modern coaching fetish for “process” – “They have planned the processes. They have stuck by the processes, and even when their team loses by an innings and a trillion runs, they have to believe in their processes.”
And from a recent conversation on the “Cricket Coaches Worldwide” group on LinkedIn: “Adults have a kit bag full of experience so to make a change you [the coach] have to convince them of the benefits”. Imposing a system, or a process, is perhaps not the way forward, unless you can show the player how his outcomes will improve.
So where do we go, as coaches?
Player-centred coaching: the needs of the players, the outcomes they strive to achieve, and the practice that will help them achieve those outcomes – from the latest coaching guidelines for “community” coaches, from ECB Coach Education.
How long will it take for the new orthodoxy to replace the old?
Who said that?
- Kevin Pietersen, in his book “KP: The Autobiography”, 2014 (speaking of coach Andy Flower);
- Matt Prior, during the Q&A session after the 2014 MCC Spirit of Cricket delivered by Sir Ian Botham;
- Steve Harmison, in conversation with Pat Murphy at the ECB ACO Conference in 2014.