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 ConnectedCoaches.org) 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?

Grooving that stroke…does music help?

Interesting net session yesterday, working with a batsman to get ready for the new season.  Lots of work on grooving the bat path, a little on developing bat speed.

We were next to a group who had set up a (small) speaker in their net, and played music during their practice.

This could have been a distraction – we generally practice in a controlled (even slightly sterile) environment, where the only sounds are bat on ball, or ball on canvas, or occasionally the slap of skipping ropes and bouncing medballs – but I saw real benefits from having the music playing.

Continue reading Grooving that stroke…does music help?

Three years with the Legends and Masters – cricket coaching with 4-year olds

Back in 2014, I started coaching at the MCC Cricket Academy, and was assigned to support a coach delivering a “Little Legends” session for a group of 3-5 year olds.

Not really cricket, I thought – more 45 minutes of childcare, with a cricketing theme, perhaps, but not really cricket coaching.

I found out later that some of my new colleagues had directly requested not to be scheduled to work with the Little Legends, and I could understand why.  But as the new coach, I didn’t think I could get away with opting out.

Three years later, I find myself leading the delivery for 5 weekly sessions for 5s and under.  And the more I do, the more I appreciate the value of coaching the very young players in the Academy’s Little Legends and Mini Masters programmes.

What changed?

I remembered one of the first pieces of advice I was given when I first trained as a coach – always coach the player, not the skill.  And I also remembered how much I enjoy playing games.

Continue reading Three years with the Legends and Masters – cricket coaching with 4-year olds