Whole-Part-Whole – a variant on session planningn

This page was first written in 2014. I had taken a level 2 coaching qualification only 3 years before, and had only just started regular (paid) coaching.

Whole-Part-Whole was presented in a post level 2 CPD event as an option for session planning for coaches, with no theoretical foundation — “it works because we say it will, so you should use it.”

If you are interested in a pedagogical investigation of why Whole-Part-Whole might be a viable session structure, take a look at Whole-Part-Whole — time for another look?

Whole-Part-Whole (WPW) describes a session outline with the emphasis firmly on playing the game.

  1. Whole – play a game
  2. Part – identify and practice a technique
  3. Whole  – play the game, again, this time with especial emphasis on applying the technique from the “part” drill(s)

The intention is that the players should first experience “skills in context” (in a game) rather than as a drill.  Hence, the initial game should be selected to encourage  and reward a particular skill, even where that skill might not yet have been developed by the players e.g. bonus runs for hitting a target zone.

Once the requisite skill has been identified, ideally by the players themselves through questioning by the coach, a “technique” drill can be delivered.  The players should understand in advance why they are doing the drill, rather than practicing the technique in isolation.

Finally, the players are challenged to demonstrate the technique from the Part practice, in the context of a game.

The “whole” game should be as close to a game of cricket as possible.  I have listed some possibilities here.

With players at the “enhanced” level, this could well take the form of a scenario-driven game-play session – a set number of deliveries to reach a target, with fielding restrictions to create (or deny) specific scoring opportunities, with batting and fielding teams in competition

Players at an earlier stage of development will (sometimes) benefit from games with more modifications and coaching interventions, right down to having the coach feed deliveries to guarantee that batters get the opportunity to play appropriate strokes, or even to abstractions of the game e.g. the Lord’s game, familiar to anyone who has completed an ECB CA Coaching course.

Importantly, the players must be allowed to play – for players of any age or ability, practice has to be FUN.

{I am told that the “Lord’s Game” has not, in fact, been part of the ECB Coach Development training for some time. It does still appear on icoachcricket.ecb.co.uk.}

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