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

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

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