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

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