Pedagogy & philosophy — ECB National Programmes getting it right

In a recent post I mentioned how, in my opinion, the ECB’s National Programmes have more to say about learning to play (by playing “games” to learn; repetition without repetition) and player behaviours (the multi-ability model, developed in collaboration with Create Development) than the mainstream coaching programmes.

I ran All Stars sessions for three years, pre-lockdown, and have delivered training for National Programmes Activators for a couple of years, now, and the more I see the more I am convinced by the underlying pedagogy and philosophy of the National Programmes.

Pedagogy — the method and practice of teaching

Philosophy — a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour

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What coaching is, and what is is not. Thoughts on the ECB’s “Unleashing Potential”, and why we need to be careful what we wish for.

We all know we are “coaches”, but what are we actually doing when we coach? Is what we do working? What is “good” coaching?

Questions we all might have asked ourselves, at some point during our coaching careers.

Idealistically, I’d look to help a player be the best version of him- or herself rather than achieving “best fit” to an “ideal” model, only changing something if it was likely to cause serious inconsistency or lead to potential injury.

But realistically, I wonder if that might limit a young player’s access to development pathways, if they fail the “eye test” by not “looking right”?

There certainly used to be tales of Test prospects having their bowling actions remodelled by well-meaning coaches, and subsequently being barely able to bowl at all. You don’t hear these stories any more…I wonder if a bowler with a non-standard action would survive the pathway with their idiosyncrasies intact (if they could even get taken into the system in the first place, that is).

And this thought has been further challenged with the publication of a pair of documents by ECB Coach Development — Unleashing Potential, Men’s & Women’s Pathway. Talent and development frameworks for “pathway leaders and coaches” (so not for the likes of me, then…).

Challenging, and informative of the thinking of “better” coaches, perhaps.

But Unleashing Potential poses more questions than it answers.

Continue reading “What coaching is, and what is is not. Thoughts on the ECB’s “Unleashing Potential”, and why we need to be careful what we wish for.”

Whole-Part-Whole — time for another look?

Back in 2014 I posted a simple page describing the “Whole-Part-Whole” session plan — play a game (“Whole”), coach a specific skill component relevant to that game (“Part”), then play the game, or a conditioned version of the game, again (“Whole”, again).

Just a description, filed under “coaching resources” alongside some more traditional session plans (level 2, back then, was billed as “learning to write plans”), with no attempt to explain why it might be useful.

Recently, the page has started to generate some more views — nothing spectacular, but as many visits in the last 12 months as in the previous 7 years.

So I thought it might be interesting to take another look at Whole-Part-Whole (WPW), and why I still think it is a useful framework for session planning.

Continue reading “Whole-Part-Whole — time for another look?”