Coaching for girls (and boys…and beginners…and everyone…) — half-term review

I have just completed a 6 week block of work visiting schools to deliver cricket-based PE lessons for secondary school-age girls.

With only three lessons with each class, there wasn’t going to be time to coach skills in any depth (even if this was appropriate for a PE lesson), so the emphasis was on introducing an understanding of the game of cricket (what is cricket? what skills are needed? what tactics might be needed?) and on engagement with the game (playing for the sake of playing).

Hence I aimed to play games in every lesson, and we finished with a “games-sense” session.

What follows is a look at the course structure — skills & games — and some of the thinking behind it, and a summary of how the lessons were received.

Continue reading “Coaching for girls (and boys…and beginners…and everyone…) — half-term review”

Game sense — more than just “common sense”?

I like games; I enjoy modifying games; I do believe in the power of cricket games based learning to develop cricketers who are technically competent, tactically wise and mentally prepared.

But in truth, I do still struggle to understand the many different flavours of games-based coaching.

So I was very interested to listen to a recent podcast* from Risto Marttinen & Stephen Harvey with Shane Pill, of Flinders University, in which Dr Pill explained some of the key features of the Games Sense Approach (GSA) to coaching, and how it differs from Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and the Tactical Games Approach.

I won’t go into a detailed review of their conversation — listen to the podcast! — but there are a few points that have started to make (more) sense of the various approaches to games-based coaching, for me.

Continue reading “Game sense — more than just “common sense”?”

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”