The event was described as “a workshop for coaches who want to understand and teach how to increase power for all levels and age groups”, and I certainly came away with a lot to think about…not to mention aches and pains from muscles that only rarely get called on when I am coaching!
Mark has a background in martial arts, and a lot of the ideas behind his very practical demonstrations come from this field – next time you see a batter throwing punches at a coach with boxing mitts, check out the batter’s feet and hips.
If he is really generating force, expect to see feet firmly planted, knees flexed to lower the batter’s centre of gravity, and transfer of weight into the punch.
Otherwise, what you will probably notice is that the mitts are being slapped, not thumped.
I shall certainly be using the demonstrations of the stable base position for power hitting and throwing in one-to-ones and group sessions with older players.
Perhaps not for all – I can’t see the Little Legends (3-4 years old) performing the “squat-shift”, just yet – but we can still make sure they are learning good movements patterns from an early age, so there is less need to un-learn bad habits later in life.
Across the ECB CA Conference, several of the presenters spoke about the opportunity (and need) for coaches to make a real difference at the participation level – we were exhorted to be “the difference that makes a difference”; we were told that “thinking differently [was the key to] performing better”.
Frank Dick even challenged the assembled coaches to each come up with a way to become that “winning difference”.
As a Community coach, I think I might have found one – to try to develop in “my” players what Fuzz Ahmed called “skill ability” – the ability (mental and physical) to learn new skills – and, more specifically, to help them to develop the physical competencies needed to train to participate at any level.
I am slowly recovering from a hectic couple of days at the ECB Coaches Association Conference at the weekend.
Leaving the house at 6 am, and listening to Ashley Giles talk about his career, and his journey from player to coach, at midnight…a long and fascinating first day, followed by six straight hours of workshop and presentation on Sunday.
Taken singly, every presentation contained nuggets of interest. Taken together, and with the added bonus of a group of like-minded cricket coaches to share ideas with, there was almost too much to absorb in one weekend, and I am sure to be coming up with new ideas for months to come.
However, the key themes of the weekend were encapsulated for me in the title of the opening keynote from Frank Dick: Winning Matters – and, by extension, so does the role of the coach in developing the pathway towards victory.
The word “difference” came up a lot, too – we were exhorted to be “the difference that makes a difference”; “thinking differently [and] performing better”.
Frank challenged us all to come up with a way to become that “winning difference” – I am still working on mine.