I watched two coaching demonstrations at the ECB Coaches Association Conference – a batting session with Graham Thorpe and a spin bowling one with Chris Brown.
Both deployed a range of drills to challenge and develop specific skills, but, if I am honest, I wasn’t really that interested in the cones, hurdles and baseball mitts.
I was much more interested in hearing what the experienced coaches were saying to the player.In both batting and bowling sessions, technical input was minimal – understandable, perhaps, given that the coaches were working in an open net with 50+ spectators, and the ability of the player (a young Notts Academy all-rounder).
Both coaches focused on outcomes – in his batting session, Graham Thorpe talked about developing confidence:
- against short, fast bowling;
- against spin;
- in deploying power.
He demonstrated a number of drills designed to develop that confidence, but his comments to the batter concentrated on outcomes – can you hit the ball squarer/straighter/over the top?
The outcomes in the spin session were even more targeted. No matter the drill, the coach was commenting on just one thing – the presentation of the seam.
Because, as Chris emphasised, the only way for a spin bowler to achieve consistent drift, drop, bounce and break is to present the seam at the perfect angle, with the spinning finger(s) moving over the top of the ball (for most deliveries).
I’m sure that Chris was scanning for much more than just how the ball was leaving the bowler’s hand, and storing up additional feedback in case the outcomes were not consistently achieved.
But all the player heard was “good presentation” or “good seam”.
So – feedback during drills was pretty much entirely on outcomes, either challenging (can you do this?) or affirming (you just did it).
Keep it Simple, Stupid…