Last Man Stands – is this the way forward for recreational cricket?

One of the challenges for ECB Coaches working in the Club sector is the constant turn-over of players, especially after they leave the established Colts’ set-up, generally after U16.

At my own Club, we have more than 70 players in the junior section, from 8-years old upwards.  If we are lucky, we might see four or five join the senior Club (and probably fewer than that stay with the Club into their twenties).

I am sure that there are complex social reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest challenge for Clubs, County Associations, and coaches is to provide a form of the game that is accessible and enjoyable for the younger players before they are lost to adulthood.

With support from County Boards and local councilsLast Man Stands might just be that format.  Offering competitive cricket, played at local venues, for players not able (or willing) to commit to a full day of competitive league cricket on a Saturday or Sunday, LastManStands could be a bridge between Colts cricket and the senior Club game. Continue reading Last Man Stands – is this the way forward for recreational cricket?

Making practice fun – games-based learning

We have belatedly started outdoor practice for the Colts, after the wettest start to a season many of us can remember, and we are now racing to make up time.

Inspired by the 2012 edition of the ECB CA’s “Wings to Fly” DVD, we are very keen to introduce more games-based learning to our practice sessions. We are lucky to have the Colts together for two hours a week, and access to a large playing field – no restrictions on time or space, just our imagination!

We have adopted the street20 format for our games (see the inspirational cricket4change site for more information on the inspiration for this game), with “tactical” modifications to bring in extra skills and learning opportunities. Continue reading Making practice fun – games-based learning

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…