I could do this with my eyes closed…

No, I don’t mean it’s just too easy.  I mean that a little blind-fold practice can go a long way to improving performance.

It is always helpful for a coach to watch other coaches working, so the other week I took the opportunity to watch a session at the Essex Autogroup Graham Gooch Cricket Centre, at the Ford County Ground, Chelmsford.  And while I was there, I got into a conversation with the father of one of the young players being coached.

He explained how his son had problems with his batting until he improved his footwork.

How did he manage that, I asked.

By closing his eyes, replied the father. Continue reading I could do this with my eyes closed…

A question of give or take

To Chelmsford, for a seminar on how to coach wicket keepers with Barry Hyam, Performance Manager at Essex CCC and Lead Wicket Keeping Coach for England Women’s team (and half a dozen other titles – he is a very busy man).

Barry talked about the modern way of taking the ball – when the keeper takes the ball, his hands stay strong and do not give with the ball.

And it was at this point that many of the coaches present, mostly ECB Coaches and Assistant Coaches (levels 1 and 2), a lot of us having only completed our most recent qualifications in the last year or so, started to look confused.  The keeper’s hands do not give.

Something new, here! Continue reading A question of give or take

Don’t do what I do, do what I say…

To indoor nets last Sunday – my first time as a player for two or three years, and hopefully a preliminary to playing a few games in the summer.

Remembering the tenets of “purposeful practice”, and everything I say to our Colts when I am coaching, I set myself a couple of very specific goals for my first batting practice.

  1. Play myself in, and adopt a very deliberate structure to the session
    1. 10 balls played with a dead bat, or left alone completely;
    2. 10 balls “looking for singles”, manipulating the ball into imagined gaps;
    3. pick up the pace;
    4. hit anything in sight (it always degenerates to this, in the end – but now I can call it “20/20 practice”).
  2. Try out the “action position” – this sounds like good advice, but I wanted to try it for myself before I suggested that any of the Colts start moving their feet before the ball is released…

I think I managed my second goal (more on this later).

But…the second ball I received was full, and slow, and pitched around leg, leg-and-middle. Did I play the dead bat, as per the session goals? Continue reading Don’t do what I do, do what I say…