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

It’s not the #£*?&@! IPL!

We have had a few discussions around the Club about a lack of discipline in the field shown by some of the junior teams – fielders wandering out of position between deliveries, not paying attention to the captain when he wants to make changes to the field, even directly questioning and countermanding the captain’s instructions.

There is an issue of etiquette, and acceptable behaviour – it’s simply not cricket to challenge the skipper…and don’t you dare move one of my fielders!

There is a question about experience, and coaching – coaches and team managers need to make very clear what is expected from the players.

There might even be questions about Generation Z entitlement – ‘my opinion is just as informed as yours’.

But there is also the matter of example – I have seen similar behaviour in senior cricket this year, with two or three players (none of them the captain or bowler) resetting the field between balls, even as the bowler is preparing to bowl.

If the U15s see this on Saturday, with adult Captains & players, of course they will do the same on Sundays playing with their peers.

Continue reading It’s not the #£*?&@! IPL!

“Knock ‘em down” & Lock ‘em up” — first attempts at ‘video game’ style activities

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.

I have settled on a couple of games that seem to meet some of the key criteria — I give you “Knock ‘em down” and “Lock ‘em up”. Continue reading “Knock ‘em down” & Lock ‘em up” — first attempts at ‘video game’ style activities