New close-season, new session format — play-review-play-review…& repeat

First session of winter practice with the u9s on Sunday; slightly disappointing turn-out (just 5), but possibly compounded by the soft-ball u9s being billed as “the level before you get to play proper cricket”!  I can’t imagine this helped the numbers!

I went with a new session plan, making the most of the chance to play games — essentially, we mixed free-play with “directed” review (I asked leading questions) to allow the players to have a bat and a bowl, and to think about the tactics needed to be successful.

I deliberately avoided giving much technical input, but I do now have a couple of ideas for more formal “practice” later in the winter.

We spend a lot of time coaching skills & techniques, not enough time practicing on how to win games — play-review-play-review etc. might go some way to remedying this. Continue reading New close-season, new session format — play-review-play-review…& repeat

Teesra Talks – All Stars Cricket

The latest edition of Teesra Talks : In-tournament coaching considers the opportunities for coaching during a tournament, with an emphasis on tactical/strategic and psychological inputs.

Teesra Talks are hosted on anchor.fm, and are also available as a subscription podcast from various distribution sites.

Coaching the Mental Game & Self Esteem — working with children

Back in the summer, I completed Coaching the Mental Game, the final course in the series led by Paddy Upton, from Deakin University via FutureLearn.

Since then, I have endured an enforced break from coaching, to recover from a keyhole surgery to tidy up some damage to my knee — caused by an inexpert sliding stop in the outfield to save a long chase to retrieve the ball from beyond the boundary…or perhaps it’s just that my knees are getting old…

The time out has given me chance to reflect on the course, and on how it might apply to my own coaching, especially working with children.

Closely related to the discussion around self esteem was a question about how to manage mistakes to build confidence and self esteem.  I wholeheartedly subscribe to the concept of the ‘growth mindset’, but sometimes this can come across as wishful thinking — “you will get better if you put in the effort” reeks of unsubstantiated positive thinking.

I want my players to have a growth mindset, and I want them to respond to challenge with counter-challenge; I expect them to develop appropriate focus behaviours…but if I don’t help them to develop these behaviours, I might only be setting them up to fail.

Continue reading Coaching the Mental Game & Self Esteem — working with children