I have been catching up with the winter programme of iCoachCricket Live, the webinar series for ECB Coaches Association members. Not all of the presentations resonate with me, but there are some nuggets amongst the chat.
In the course of a discussion about the ECB CA’s new “Unleashing Potential” framework, there was some mention of how coaches might make more better of “games-based” practice, by modifying the playing conditions to challenge the batters’ tactical (and technical) development.
Of most interest (to me) was the concept of the “reset button” — if a pre-specified shot or tactic fails and the batter is dismissed, she can “press the reset” and have another go.
I am just about to embark on my second season of Seniors (60+) cricket with Essex in the National 60+/70+ County Cricket Championship.
We were winners of the 4th XI competition in 2021. Possibly stretching it a bit to claim we are “national champions”, as only 6 Counties field a 4th XI in the “national” comp (compared with 36 that are represented at 1st XI level).
But we were in it, and we won it!
The 4th XI section will be competitive again in 2022, with Kent looking to regain their title. COVID has not been invited for 2022…
And the 3rd XI competition has expanded to include 14 teams, in West & East sections, so there is the prospect of post-season play-off rounds in 2022, and trips to new locations beyond the South East Home Counties.
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.