I posted a Teesra Talks podcast on this topic a a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t think it had many listens, and the format doesn’t really invite any responses. If you have listened, there is not much new in this blog post. But for everyone else — some thoughts on making a game more relevant.
I do love playing games, but I worry that sometimes the skills developed don’t always transfer obviously to “the real thing”. And I want to enthuse youngsters (and anyone) to actually want to play cricket, in any of its formats.
Hence my attempts to tweak cricket-based games and gamified drills to make them more like cricket (or, at least, to teach skills, tactics, or general awareness, that might transfer to the game of cricket), and less like games for the sake of games.
I have been experimenting with the 360° Challenge from Chance to Shine (see below), but with a couple of modifications intended to make the game more competitive and to try also to teach something about actually playing the game of cricket.
If you haven’t seen it, 360° Challenge is a batting game where the batter is challenged to hit deliveries “around the clock”, scoring points for each of the clock segments they hit.
First round, I had batters hitting balls into designated goals, as described in the original 360° Challenge. If the batter hits her target, the fielder in the goal has to sit down. Points are recorded in “sit downs”.
Fielders were passive — all they had to do was retrieve and return the balls; if they fielded a ball that was on target, the batter was still awarded her “sit down” point.
Seated fielders stand up with each new batter, and everyone rotates to a new position — backward point and cover might not get a lot of work, until the batters develop their offside strokes, so move the fielders around before they get completely bored.
Every player on the team has a bat, then the teams swap over; total up the “sit downs” and compare scores.
Participants experience and (hopefully) enjoy competition.
Second time around, fielders are active, and can “save” themselves by stopping the ball from going through the goal they are defending.
Batters score runs; fielders try to prevent batters from scoring.
Final tweak, as suggested by one of the yr7 players I tried this game out with — if the batter hits the ball into a segment that has a player already sat down, the fielder can stand up again. The batter loses her “sit down” point.
If you hit the ball to the same spot, time and again, in a game, your scoring shots will eventually be blocked; learn to hit to different areas.
I have run this activity in PE lessons, and it does seem to work, in terms of engagement and developing games sense.
There are probably more tweaks needed to use this in a coaching setting, but I can see this running with our softball u9s.
I like this game. Not played it yet but will do when I start C2S next month. Some thoughts:
1. Everybody fields instead of teams. Maybe 2 players in each leg side zone if too many OR have 2 games running.
2. No runs for a zone already hit to encourage the 360 element.
3. More points for difficult to hit zones.
4. Maybe only 6 zones. Seems easier to setup and explain.
5. Maybe try hitting the zones in sequence for higher ability players.
It is a good game — do try it.
It does assumes that batters can hit the ball with some control (or the game fails when they first try it); we started with a cooperative feed from a teammate, a soft (foam) ball, and a playing area of just one badminton court.
Zones _in sequence_ is a challenge I occasionally use with competent batters against a bowling machine (seen this referred to as the “Shivnarine Chanderpaul drill”), but there is absolutely no reason not to try it out with the more competent C2S kids.