Across the ECB CA Conference, several of the presenters spoke about the opportunity (and need) for coaches to make a real difference at the participation level – we were exhorted to be “the difference that makes a difference”; we were told that “thinking differently [was the key to] performing better”.
Frank Dick even challenged the assembled coaches to each come up with a way to become that “winning difference”.
As a Community coach, I think I might have found one – to try to develop in “my” players what Fuzz Ahmed called “skill ability” – the ability (mental and physical) to learn new skills – and, more specifically, to help them to develop the physical competencies needed to train to participate at any level.
Making a “winning difference”
From a fascinating series of Conference presentations, a couple of very tempting technical developmental areas were identified:
- to take on board the biomechanical science of fast bowling, as presented by Dr Mark King, and to work with the young seam bowlers at the Club to help them to bowl as fast as they can;
- to become a champion fielding coach.
But there are plenty of good coaches with these skills already.
More pertinently, with the players I work with (juniors, mostly primary school age and even younger, with very mixed abilities), selecting a technical (or skills-based) “winning difference” might only make a real difference to the small minority of players with the ambition and ability to progress towards the “performance” level.
I am very happy to be the best “Community” Coach that I can be – helping players at Club and academy to develop from who they are today to who they are capable of being tomorrow.
And that must include building the frameworks today, both physical and mental, to support future developments – basic physical competences, and a growth mindset that practically demands self-improvement.
Physical competences – laying the foundations for the winning difference
Physical competence – the ability to Produce, Reduce Stabilise levels of force, simultaneously in different parts of the body, and at the right time, in the right direction, and with the right amount of force.
I have written before about the apparently low levels of basic athletic ability among young players, and the need to find a programme of exercise and movement to help them.
Always with the proviso “when I can work out how to do it” – but the impending release of an ECB endorsed Foundation Physical Preparation System should mean that the ambition to adopt this approach becomes more than a pipe dream.
It was timely that several of the speakers at the recent ECB CA Conference provided the inspiration to actually make it happen in 2015.
Challenged by Frank Dick (@FrankDickCoach) – become #thewinningdifference
Enthused by Chris Bodman – the competence-based programme of complete athlete development applies long before players reach maturity, and is important far beyond the confines of the game of cricket.
Enabled by Richard Cheetham (@twowheelprof) to develop the creativity required to maintain player engagement in (apparently) non-cricket tasks.