The Coaching Kitchen: Create Better Cricketers by Becoming a Chef

Are you a cook or a chef?

I was asked exactly that at a recent symposium on talent identification. Weird?

A cook follows a recipe and ends up with a result that looks and tastes as intended.

How Kumar Sangakkara Used Hideous Batting Form to Win the World Twenty20

Kumar Sangakkara signed off his Twenty20 career with a Man of the Match performance steering Sri Lanka to World glory.

Yet entering final Sunday, Kumar was experiencing something every batsman feels: hideous batting form.

Sri Lanka had progressed to the final of the tournament despite Sangakkara scoring 19 runs at an average of 4.75. He was horribly out of form and couldn't buy a run.

We all know that feeling!

For most players, the downward spiral tends to continue, our scores remain low, our confidence is eroded on a daily basis and our emotions shift between dejection and desperation.

But this cycle did not happen to Kumar Sangakkara.

How Learning the Doosra Started a Cricket "Arms Race" Between Batters and Bowler

I love it when a spin bowler comes along with something different.

And not just for the reasons you think.

One of the spinners at Millfield School has gained so much confidence from his winters practice sessions that he felt it was time to bowl his "doosra" against batters in the nets for the first time.

The young lad has been working on developing his own version of the ball in his technical sessions, and also down the corridors of his house. He has been delivering tennis balls into an upturned bucket in order to master the release position and now is letting the delivery go in nets.

Key Coaching Lessons from my Time with Graeme Smith

I have known, worked with and admired Graeme Smith for many years. Over the years he taught me some valuable coaching lessons.

I first met "Biff" when he was a 18 year old lad straight out of school. He played some club cricket in the UK and was in my Hampshire Board XI for a few games. I was impressed with his maturity and sense of fun; less impressed with his "grubby" technique.

The key lessons that I learnt from the great man are:

Get on with it: Outdoor Cricket Training in the Cold and Wet is Possible

Weather often keeps us training indoors, but why not think outside the box this year, or perhaps more aptly, think outside the sports hall?

There's still a lot that can be achieved from getting out, even in the wet.

How to Play the Short Ball

This is a guest article from Gary Palmer, batting coach.

Without a good ability to bat against the short ball, you will never make the step up to a higher grade of cricket. It's the stumbling block that finds out many talented players. It's the difference between making it and not making it.

But, it's also counter productive just to go and practice against fast, short balls. You have to build a foundation of technique first. It's not about being brave or "having bottle", it's about eliminating technical errors to build confidence.

How an International Cricketer Used a Simple Trick to Instantly Boost His Batting Average

I'm working this week with an incredible tutor group on the ECB Level IV Batting module at the National Cricket Performance Centre. Matthew Maynard, Tony Middleton (the Hampshire CCC Batting coach) and myself are heading up the course.

"You'll be a Lesser Coach if You Don't Have Technology", Toby Radford Reveals

There's no doubt that technology is transforming the way we prepare as cricketers. Analysis tools have never been easier or cheaper so even club players can get in on the game.

When I interviewed Glamorgan Coach Toby Radford, I asked him about how he uses technology to help him coach, and his answer was emphatic:

Are You Damaging Batsmen with "6 Balls Left"? You'll Enjoy This Solution

Have you ever said to a batter "you have 6 balls left!", then they change their mode and just slog?

The damage that this does is immeasurable.

Any progress from the session is diluted or reduced. The batting shapes and thought processes evaporate.

Arguments ensue about whether it was 4, 6 or caught at deep mid on

The batter starts the next opportunity to bat with this poor experience running through their veins.

It's one of my biggest bug bears, and for years I have been trying to figure out a way around this.

Here's a Creative Way to Get More Young Cricketers

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Does your team need more young cricketers?

Many clubs are feeling the pinch these days. Kids have more choice of activity than ever, which is making the pool smaller every year. It's tough to compete with football, PlayStation and iPads.

You can't sit back and wait for a new intake of 11 year old players to arrive. You have to start early and make cricket as entertaining as all the other distractions. That's why it's time to rethink how to bring youngsters into the game.

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