Game Sense: Cricket

Now this, from the Drowning in the Shallows blog by @imsporticus, just might be the model for future coaching programmes. Strongly in the “game sense” mould, with the players taking a lot of responsibility for their own learning.

Not that the coach gets to sit down and do nothing for an hour – there will be a lot of observation and analysis, followed by questioning and appropriate feedback; there will be an increased need for imaginative game design, with appropriate progressions planned.

But the potential upside, of developing thinking cricketers, must surely be worth the effort.


As a department we have over timed moved away from ‘sport as sports technique’ method of teaching sports within our curriculum to ‘sport as tactical concepts’. This is in the belief that:

  • The game sets the context of learning and gives that learning some meaning.
  • Play is the true environment within PE and results in improved and sustained motivation.
  • Technique cannot be separated from decision making if we want to help create confident and competent movers within sport.

This process started over 6 years ago and whilst buy in for rugby and football was immediate and has been slowly refined, cricket was resistant to any change. All of us had been taught and have taught cricket in the traditional way and found it difficult to conceptualise a very technical game taught through mainly through games. We were addicted to ‘Grip, Stance, Backlift’ and giving up seemed impossible. This year though…

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Jail-break cricket v1.1 – dynamic zones

Quick update on jail-break cricket – try moving the JBZ during the game.

  • To challenge shot selection
  • To differentiate a session (hit a more or less accessible target).

This can be done manually (pick up the markers designating the JBZ and quickly move them somewhere else…get the youngest, fittest coach to do this, not the oldest…), or by setting out multiple zones and calling out “straight hit” or “mid-wicket”, as appropriate, before the next ball is delivered.

This could probably work with YPA, as well as the original, coach-fed version of jail-break.

Thanks to Simon Stevens for this idea.

A Constraint-Led Approach – a new addition to the coaching toolkit?

I am (I call myself) a cricket coach – I work with people who want to play “better” cricket, however “better” might be defined.

In that role, I try to help players to develop their playing techniques, and, along the way, to build individual motivation and resilience.  Occasionally, I will talk with them about (appropriate) physical development – play other sports to develop all-round physicality; don’t build so much muscle in the gym that you lose flexibility.

But I am also interested in how to become a better coach, which has led me to follow a range of conversations and blogs on coaching pedagogy.

I am not going to pretend that I understand the concept of nonlinear pedagogy (yet), and my exploration of socio cultural constraints within coaching probably missed any number of (academic) points.

But a series of posts (including this, and this, both from on applying the Constraint-Led Approach (CLA) in coaching has piqued my interest.  Coaches are encouraged to modify the drill or game to force the player(s) to develop enhanced responses.

Continue reading A Constraint-Led Approach – a new addition to the coaching toolkit?