Over the last few months, I have been working my way through the new ECB CPD courses for level 2 coaches.
The new courses are presented in two distinct streams – Coaching children and Coaching Young People & Adults (YPA).
Interesting, though, in the light of my experiences this year coaching players aged 3 and 63, that the “Coaching children” workshops all look to be just as important for the YPA environment (13 and older) as for children.
The new courses (more accurately, the diploma awards that are available after completing the workshops, e-learning modules, and formal assessment) have been described as the pinnacle for “Community” coaches – essentially, those of us working mostly with players outside the ECB’s Performance pathway, with School and Club players of all ages.
- Game based learning
- Skill development
- Creating the learning climate for children
Coaching young people & adults:
- Performance and video analysis
- Coaching teams
- Training interventions and methods
CGBL, in the form of scenario-based practice (field or nets) helps YPA to develop technical and tactical skills in simulated match contexts. We have used games more during indoor practice this autumn, for all ages, and we are starting to see positive outcomes, in the form of enhanced “game sense”. It has been very encouraging to see 8 year old batsmen who can switch between hard hitting and drop-and-run, depending on the bowling and field placement. Players genuinely developing holistically, not just technically.
Once again this summer, I shall be encouraging our u19 and u16 squads to abandon nets in favour of open field practice, such as the “Oakfield Game“.
Holistic skills development
The great thing about games is that they automatically help to develop technique in context, alongside tactical awareness and the confidence to play according to the needs of the game and not be dictated to by the opposition. And by making the sessions as competitive as possible, the players get a physical work-out without being sent to the gym, or to run round the boundary.
But other practices can be designed to develop technical, tactical, physical and mental skills at the same time – not so simple for the coach, but very rewarding when it works!
The learning environment
Perhaps most important is the lesson to create an appropriate learning environment for the players, of any age. Practice needs to be challenging (without challenge there can be no progress), relevant (to the needs of the players, not the coach’s “curriculum” or the expectations of parents) and FUN, or they won’t come back next week!
Not just for children, then
I shall certainly be recommending the Coaching Children workshops to any of my coaching colleagues, whether they work with children or older players.