Q: What is “better coaching? A: It has to be more than new drills & games, more than techniques & affordances.

There have been some interesting conversations recently around the perceived weakness of the current player development pathway in England & Wales, whether looking at the excessive cost (to parents) of inclusion on a County pathway or the impact of the relative age effect on access to and inclusion in the pathway.

The highly selective structure of the pathway works against players born later in the (age-group selection) year. Several suggestions to offset this unintended bias against the younger players have been proposed.

  • County Age Group & District squads could be larger, and de-selection later.
  • Parallel development squads be maintained for those born later in the year.
  • Delaying selection to rep squads, with greater reliance on clubs to develop younger players (coincidentally removing the additional costs associated with County or District squads).

Any of these approaches would require more coaches, and probably coaches with different skills.

Possibly “better” coaches.

But what is better coaching? I have had several attempts at defining what training might support (better) coach development, without really looking at the skills that these “better” coaches would want.

Continue reading “Q: What is “better coaching? A: It has to be more than new drills & games, more than techniques & affordances.”

Simple net game, revisited

I have been delivering an after-school club this term. As happened last year, we have been evicted from the newly built sports hall to accommodate exams. Unlike last time, we have been able to carry on with the weekly club, but in the much smaller and very crowded old sports hall.

So small and crowded, in fact, that the only safe option has been to roll out the nets to keep the players away from table tennis tables, rowing machines, badminton nets, benches and other clutter.

Rather than a basic net session, I wanted to utilise the simple net game format, with a points system designed to reward specific behaviours beyond just “having a hit”!

But, as I can’t resist tinkering with games, the points scoring system was modified, in an attempt to make the practice a little more realistic.

Continue reading “Simple net game, revisited”

What can we learn from “…a fast slow-left-arm unorthodox orthodox bowler…”?

A fascinating look at Axar Patel’s startling bowling successes, from Jarrod Kimber’s presentation based on data analysis by Himanish Ganjoo.

I do enjoy this type of analysis, partly for the insight into exactly what is going on in the professional game (“we’d hit him all over the park if he bowled like that at us”…), but mostly for the opportunity to consider how the relevant skills might be coached, and how they might be counter-acted.

Continue reading “What can we learn from “…a fast slow-left-arm unorthodox orthodox bowler…”?”