Last man standing – another game for the coaches’ kit bag

One of the games we play with the Colts at our Club is ‘Last Man Standing’ (not to be confused with Last Man Stands). It’s a lot of fun, with batters and fielders fully engaged, and in spite of the very simplistic rules there are a number of learning opportunities embedded in the format.

Batters come to the crease in rotation (as in racing/relay/carousel cricket) – if they get to the bowler’s end without being dismissed, they return to the line of waiting batters to have another go; if they get out, they join the fielding team; Last Man Standing is the winner.

Players quickly come to appreciate that there is more to batting than a perfect forward defensive or a reverse sweep.

[aside – no, I don’t directly coach either stroke.]

  • Placement into gaps and fast running are as important as technique, very often more so.
  • Players have to develop (and refine) tactics – do they block and run, or hit out for the open spaces? The latter can work well early on, when there are fewer fielders; less so as the outfield fills with a dozen or more of their team mates plus coaches and parents.
  • The game introduces competition (and can be brutal – we generally play ‘if you are out, you are out, no ‘first ball grace’, no ‘three chances’).
  • Fielding can be especially fierce – fielders enjoy trying to dismiss their teammates, and, with no penalties for overthrows, players are encouraged to (try to) throw down the stumps from any angle.

Continue reading Last man standing – another game for the coaches’ kit bag

GAMES FOR UNDERSTANDING: cricket penalties – from Robin Maslin (mazzacricketcoach)

Great little game from Robin Maslin.

I really like how it rewards bowling skills in a tangible way, so that the fielding team are not “just” stopping the batters from scoring runs.

I shall certainly be trying this out with one of our Colts squads when we move outdoors in a couple of weeks.

One slight (philosophical) concern. Is there any risk that, by giving points for bowling straight, we might develop bowlers who _expect_ to be rewarded for “doing their job”? Who, if they don’t get their reward, might be dis-incentivised from carrying on?

mazzacricketcoach

“Cricket Penalties” is a game I have invented to promote the following skills in young players:

  • BOWLING TO A TARGET – eg/ not necessarily at the stumps. This game emphasizes that a) sometimes it is better to aim outside the stumps, and b) wherever you bowl, aiming and driving to that target is essential
  • DEFENDING – the concept of “stopping a penalty” can encourage batter to be watchful, and make sure the ball comes right to their bat
  • BODY MOVEMENT – proving how important it is to move into line with a ball, and avoid dangling the bat away from your body
  • SHOT SELECTION – picking which balls can be attacked and which have to be defended

HOW IT WORKS

  • 2 TEAMS (1 BATTING, 1 BOWLING)
  • EACH BATTER FACES 2 BALLS (IN A ROW), EACH BOWLER BOWLS 2 BALLS (1 BALL EACH)
  • SET UP A CRICKET PITCH, BUT PLACE A…

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Simplicity and focus in 1-to-1s – ECB Coaches Association Conference review, part 1

I watched two coaching demonstrations at the ECB Coaches Association Conference – a batting session with Graham Thorpe and a spin bowling one with Chris Brown.

Both deployed a range of drills to challenge and develop specific skills, but, if I am honest, I wasn’t really that interested in the cones, hurdles and baseball mitts.

I was much more interested in hearing what the experienced coaches were saying to the player. Continue reading Simplicity and focus in 1-to-1s – ECB Coaches Association Conference review, part 1