I have posted previously on my conversion to games-based learning, and on the challenges of designing games that are both “representative” (of the real game, and that therefore require the players to develop transferable cricket skills) but at the same time not so constrained and artificial as to no longer be fun to play (the “game” element is important, because we want the players are to come back to it again and again).
Over the summer I finished reading the best book I have ever read on non-linear pedagogy (“Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition – an Introduction“, Jia Yi Chow, Keith Davids, Chris Button and Ian Renshaw, 2015; ).
OK, this is probably the only book on non-linear pedagogy I ever expect to read, and it gets a bit dry in places, but it describes the theoretical basis of representative games, and Renshaw is very good on games for cricket training.
I was still struggling with creating truly representative games, however, until I came across the concept of Principles of Play.
Principles of Play, for any sport, can be defined as those fundamental strategies used to effectively adapt to any tactical situation during a game.
More simply – the actions taken by the winning team.
For cricket, the Principles of Play might be defined as follows:
- Bowling & Fielding:
- take wickets
- deny the batsman run scoring opportunities
It really is that simple…except, of course, that the balance between the two, not always mutually compatible, objectives, whether batting or fielding, is infinitely nuanced by the match format, the current state of the game, playing conditions (both match regulations and climatic), opposition strengths & weaknesses etc., etc.
But having identified the non-negotiable principles, game selection becomes easier. Does your game challenge the players to display appropriate behaviours to deliver on the Principles?
No? Then look for another!
Yes? Then you have found your game.
Continue reading Making sense of games with Principles of Play