I have been trying out the ‘video game based design’ approach to cricket practices over the last month — aiming to create games that are easy to learn but hard to master, and where learning achievement (acquisition of skills) is rewarded by the opening up of new and more challenging ‘levels’ in the game.
’Knock ‘em down’ is a team bowling game, based on the bowling relay drill.
Teams have multiple sets of stumps to aim at, and progress to higher (harder) levels as they win a round — targets get smaller as stumps are removed as the team progresses up the levels.
I have tried this with our Club u9 softball squad, and it seems to have gone down well with them. Their intensity goes up massively from a standard relay bowling session, and the players do seem to engage with the activity.
I have even had them setting up the game at the start of an evening’s practice session, without even asking them to, so I think they must enjoy Knock ‘em down!
’Lock ‘em up’ has developed from an idea shared by @imsporticus — batters are rewarded by “locking up” fielders and creating more space to hit the ball into.
I have played this game with several different groups, from the u9 softball squad who took so readily to ‘Knock ‘em down’, via a couple of yr5 (u10) Chance to Shine classes, to a small u11 group who are probably all in the ‘development’ phase.
They all ‘got’ the game, but I felt that only the u11s really engaged with it. With hindsight, I should probably have expected this — the younger players haven’t had the time or opportunity, yet, to develop the skills (technical & tactical) needed to succeed in this game.
That said, all of the groups seemed to understand the concept, and took some enjoyment from ‘locking up’ their school- or team-mates.
I shall be persevering with these games over the summer, and, no doubt, modifying them further.
If you fancy trying them out, do let me know how you get on.