A question for coaches who also play — does coaching improve your own play?

I have had an odd experience, recently.

Coaching a very competent cricketer, finessing his bat path for an on-drive. And somehow, the work with my client seems to have transferred (positively) to my own batting technique.

Can coaching someone else improve the coach’s own playing technique? Is “subliminal skill acquisition” a thing?

I would probably be a coach’s nightmare client.

As a coach, myself, and I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I really don’t enjoy practicing.

I should qualify that. I don‘t like practicing batting.

I’ll happily bowl in an empty net, for an hour at a stretch, just trying to hit a target on the pitch. It’s almost a meditation, not “practice”, although I will change targets, or bowling angle, or try out some variations.

But I have never liked batting in the nets.

If it’s a good session, I worry that I’ll get overconfident, or that I’ll use up all my luck. More likely, I’d mishit (or miss completely) so many deliveries that any confidence I started with would be shattered.

But I do spend time coaching, stood on a bowling machine and observing, analysing, generating feedback.

I have scored 140 runs for once out in my last two knocks. No “wagon wheels” for these innings, but at least 50 of those runs, probably more, have been scored between midwicket and straight past the bowler’s end stumps, mostly on the ground. And I haven’t had any sledges from keepers or bowlers about slogging to leg, so I have to assume that the strokes have looked reasonably controlled, and something like an on-drive.

A stroke I have never previously been able to play well. And certainly haven’t practiced, recently. But have coached, extensively.

Is “subliminal skill acquisition” a thing?

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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