Not many answers…but learning to ask better questions

When I first started posting to this blog, the strapline I chose was “in search of innovation in cricket”. I believed (hoped) that it should be possible to find novel solutions to coaching and technical issues.

Over the years, it has become apparent that there are probably very few absolute answers. “It depends” seems to be the standing response from researchers and experienced coaches. Even when an answer is correct today, new research, new knowledge, might mean that by tomorrow that answer might no longer be true.

So perhaps the best I can hope to do is to learn how to ask better questions.

How small is small enough? A (partial) answer

“Striking/fielding games such as cricket, baseball, and rounders share:

the concept of scoring by striking a ball into open spaces;
fielders being placed strategically to prevent runs from being scored”

quoted in Kirk, D. and MacPhail, A. (2002) ‘Teaching Games for Understanding and Situated Learning: Rethinking the Bunker-Thorpe Model’, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 21(2), pp. 177-192.

So this might be the starting point for a minimal cricket(-like) game:

  • perhaps 3-4 fielders (“must have one foot on your mat”), with the batter trying to hit the ball between & beyond them;
  • coach feed, to start with;
  • fielders can stop & catch, then throw the ball to the coach;
  • batter can score runs (I have scored this in (high)fives – run to the coach and get a high five; run back to the batting crease; repeat) until the ball is returned by the fielders.
Continue reading How small is small enough? A (partial) answer

Game awareness – how small is small enough in cricket SSGs?

I had a couple of interesting conversations with parents over the weekend.

One, with the mother of a young player who really wasn’t seeing the connection between the skills we practice and the wider game of cricket.

Another, with a dad from another group, who commented on how the players were starting to show good game sense. We play a lot of games with the latter group — they have been the “guinea pigs” for the “play-review-play-review…” sessions, in fact.

Could it be that what we are assuming too much of  young players who don’t actually know that much about the game, or their role in it?  Very few play in the park; I doubt any of them ever play any street cricket, or backyard.

The only time they play cricket is during our coaching sessions.

Do we need to include (even) more gameplay in the “curriculum”?

And if we do, what is the smallest small-sided game that we could play to introduce more “game awareness”?

Continue reading Game awareness – how small is small enough in cricket SSGs?