Performance goals (2) – putting some numbers against the targets

There has been an interesting discussion on the LinkedIn group “Cricket Coaches Worldwide” about the use of fielding analysis data recording at club level.  The (mostly full-time?) coaches are collecting more and more detailed data about every aspect of the game, and using it to inform training and development planning.

But one of the challenges that the coaches identified was that of data quality – you can spend your day (or allocate someone else’s day) to collecting all manner of match-day stats, but they can only be as useful as the analysis that you perform (and the insight drawn from the analyses).

I wondered if there were any simpler numbers that might help to drive personal and team performance goals.  So here are my back-of-an-envelope metrics for “good cricket” – by which I mean “winning cricket”.

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The chimp paradox…can you ride tandem?

One of the books on my reading list after the ECB CA Conference 2013 was Dr Steve Peters‘ “The Chimp Paradox“.

This came with ringing endorsements from exceptional athletes – Dr Peters is cited as “…the most important person in my career…” by one multiple-Gold medal winner – and I can see why.

Sometimes, an athlete can be his or her own worst enemy.  What start as little doubts or upsets can easily develop into major issues.  Dr Peters identifies the “inner chimp” as the source of (some of) the problems, and describes techniques for managing the chimp’s behaviour.

And yet…if that chimp really is five times stronger than “me”, and five times quicker, surely it would be better to co-opt him to pedal the bike? Rather than exercising and boxing our chimps, perhaps we could try working together?

Can you ride tandem?

Performance goals – what do you want?

An interesting initiative at our Club this year, in the form of a self-assessment form for all players – strengths, weaknesses, objectives and training needs.

I don’t know yet how many senior players have actually completed their forms, yet (two weeks into our 18 match League programmes) and I do wonder if there will be a need for the Captains to provide a little direction, but I can see a lot of (potential) positives.

In the absence of a Coach working with the senior Club, players will need to rely on self analysis and feedback from team mates.  But I suspect that the main benefit of the exercise will be a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses.

It does not need to run to complex statistical analysis or psychological profiling; just a look at the stats on the Club website will show if you are bowled more often than caught, or if you really are LBW more often than anyone else in the Club.  And from that can come at very least a resolution not to keep hitting the ball in the air.

This is definitely a project I would hope to be able to implement for the older Colts, maybe not now the season is under-way, but perhaps when we start winter nets, in October.  A little self-awareness is probably a good thing for a young player, if it is supported by a well thought out training and development plan.  More work for the coaches, to design group sessions that support multiple development needs (we won’t have the luxury of individual coaching), but a rewarding challenge, I hope, for coach and players.

Continue reading “Performance goals – what do you want?”