I have just finished reading “The Constraints-Led Approach: Principles for Sports Coaching & Practice Design”, by Renshaw, Davids, Newcombe & Roberts.
A really interesting read, as it attempts to make sense of CLA for practicing coaches. Taking the concepts beyond the realm of sports science ‘pracademics’ and showing how they can be applied on the practice ground by coaches without a Sports Science degree.
And this title is only the first in a promised series looking at the application of CLA to coaching in a range of sports.
Although, if I was to be critical of anything, perhaps describing the title as “…a vital pedagogical resource for students and practising sports coaches, physical education teachers and sport scientists alike” maybe misses the point.
This is certainly not “An Idiot’s Guide to CLA”, but “The Constraints-Led Approach…” is the “how to…” manual that coaches (should) have been clamouring for!
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.
I have been trying out the ‘video game based design’ approach to cricket practices over the last month, — that the games should be easy to learn but hard to master, and that learning achievement is rewarded by the opening up of new and more challenging ‘levels’ in the game.