More thoughts on the coaches’ toolkit – what’s in yours?

I have been coaching with the current ECB Coaches’ toolkit for nearly three years, now, since I was introduced to the components on the Coaching Children CPD workshops back in 2014.

I had a relatively quiet August – just 5 days’ active coaching  over the last month – so I have had quite a bit of time to think about how I coach.  It was interesting to see how many of the tools were in regular use, and how my own kit has changed over time.

The ECB Coaches’ Toolkit comprises the following elements:

  • Instruct
  • Demonstrate
  • Observe
  • Analyse
  • Intervene
  • Praise
    • maybe better – Affirmation
  • use Silence
    • NOT stand-alone – must not be an “absence” of engagement
  • Question
  • Feedback

So – what still works?

Praise vs. Affirmation

Reading around current best practice in education suggests that Praise, after a successful play, might be more effective if delivered as Affirmation – see Stephen Rollnick writing for Player Development Project on Praise vs. Affirmation, for example.  Rather than “well done, that was good; now, can you do it again”, it might be more effective to say “you just did X; why did you do that/why did it work?”, first confirming a (successful) action or decision, then affirming that action or decision taken by the player as a sound one.

The sound of silence

I have realised that sometimes, especially when working with players for the first time, that my Silences can appear a little intimidating – players expect something back from their coaches, and Silence by itself can give the impression of an absence of engagement.

So now I might try to offer a running commentary on what I am doing (“just looking at your bowling action/how you play on the front foot”) whilst Observing and Analysing (silently), but still withholding any Feedback until later on.

Anything new?

I also like to utilise the Cs

  • Challenge (“can you do this?”/”how would you do this?”)
  • Constraints (“can you still do this, now I have made it harder for you?”)

Does the modified toolkit work?  For me, yes, it seems to.

What’s in your toolkit?

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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