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?

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