Excellent coaching starts with the relentless pursuit of excellence. There is nowhere that this is more important that your own development as a coach.

The world of coaching changes all the time. Theories come and go, some stick because they work. New drills are developed. Old methods are re-examined: the discussion is never ending.

That’s why "Coaching to Win" exists. It’s a place for you to learn about ideas and methods that I have tried and know to work.

It's also a place for you to contribute and discuss your own experiences with coaches around the world.

We are still putting the finishing touches on the place so I recommend you put your name down for updates because we will be regularly adding new content.

Here’s to striving for excellence!

Mark Garaway - Director of Coach Education, PitchVision Academy 

Featured Article

Change Your Format: Change Your Learning and Experiences

In a recent game, Millfield School scored 258-4 against Eton School's 107-7. Sounds like a one-sided game of limited overs cricket doesn't it? But this was far from the truth. This was declaration cricket. This was drama right up to the last ball.

Both coaches met before the game to discuss the format for the day. The pitch was a used one from a game earlier in the week. It was a good pitch, very dry and with patches of rough developing at both ends. We decided that there was potential for a declaration format to be played where bowlers, particularly the spinners, could have extended spells with no restrictions on field placement.

I was hoping that we won the toss as our spinners may have the opportunity to bowl with men around the bat; something that the limited overs a game rarely provides.

The game was on.

Let's examine why it was so good.

Wicketkeeper Standing Back Drill: Relevant, Functional and Challenging

The challenge with any wicket-keeping drill is to make it relevant, functional and challenging.

Last week, we were doing a standing back drill using the Katchet board. I was throwing the ball onto the board as hard as I could to challenge the two keepers. The keepers are both County Age Group players and in one of the cases, an England International.

It soon became apparent that both were not being challenge sufficiently by the drill and that my shoulder was getting warmer and warmer. We needed to solve a problem.

That solution was the Sidearm. Since a recent Sam Lavery article on coaching kit, I have noticed more players have purchased Sidearms. It's great to see sessions where players are practising batting in pairs against the sidearm. It’s a brilliant piece of kit.

I decided to ease my shoulder by attempting to throw the ball onto the Katchet using a Sidearm. The results were awesome.

Here's my view,

Fewer Byes: Wicketkeeping Problems Solved

If you have ever kept wicket then you will know that most of the balls that disappear past you for byes end up going under the line of your gloves, and most balls that you drop hit the end of your fingers rather than smacking securely into the palm of your hand.

"Stay Down! I’ve told you before, stay down!"

How many times have I heard this coaching input?

The answer is too many. The statement doesn't help at all. So what should we do as a keeper or advise as a coach?

The keeper needs some options that leads to her to stay down longer and ultimately, to help her to come up with the bounce of the ball.

We can take a technical approach, an intention based approach or a combination of the two to get the desired effect.

Avoid the "Moeen Ali Pickle" and Learn How to Play Spin

The ball spinning into the stumps at pace has always picked up wickets at a faster rate than the ball spinning away from the bat at pace. Wickets fall quickly unless batting methods are developed and honed.

In the England-West Indies Barbados Test, the bowlers foot holes developed quickly and the contest between spin and bat ultimately proved to be the defining factor in the contest.

Moeen Ali was batting against Permaul, the West Indies Left arm spinner, in England's 2nd innings. And as I watched I remembered something my first coach at school had told me.

What Does Success Look Like?

One of the great coaching questions is "What does success look like?"

Millfield Under 15 managed to get themselves bowled out on Sunday for 75 against Gloucestershire CCC U15s. We had a shocker: 2 silly run outs, 2 players cutting balls on the stumps when the ball was keeping low and seemingly no clue of how to compile an innings on what was a early season slow and low pitch.

Coach Frustrations: Dealing with the "We Have Done This Hundreds of Times" Problem

I'm sure you have been there: Lots of work done in the cricket halls, nets and middles practices, yet we see the same old mistakes over and over again on the field from the players.

How to Use Matches to Inspire Awesome Cricket Solutions

It's been an exceptional start.

Millfield School started the cricket season this week with two unbeaten Festival wins in the Under 15's and Meyers XI (U18's). We have seen lots of evidence of the winter work paying dividends. A number of players have hit personal best scores or wicket hauls.

However, the rigours of match play exposed a couple of glaring holes in the U15s bowling attack from both a mental and tactical perspective. This forced Steve Wilson (Assistant Coach) and me to think on our feet.

In the first game of the festival, our bowling attack conceded 22 wides in only 50 overs.

What All Coaches Learn from How the World Cup Was Won

I know you heard me say it weeks ago: The World Cup final would be played between Australia and New Zealand. It wasn't a lucky guess at all. Both nations have a whole heap of things in place to make that 2015 World Cup Final pairing almost a formality in my mind.

This is my guide to how the World Cup was won.

Ask This One Question To Better Know Your Cricket Team

I am building a new team at Millfield School this year. This is a huge challenge for the coach, captain and the players who will make up that team.

Whilst I have worked individually with a couple of the players in the one to one programme, I am starting from scratch with 9 of the group. The brutal reality is that we have a 10 week period together to form a team and to work towards playing some really good cricket together.

With that, I was searching for a way to get a deeper understanding of the players within the squad so I "borrowed" a great trick from Olympian swimmer Euan Dale.

Wicketkeeper Standing Up Drill

Following on from the positive feedback on the standing back keeping drill using the multi-stumps I thought I would follow up with another keeping drill that was given to me recently by one of our International players here at Millfield School.

Tom has developed this drill with Iain Brunnschweiler in a recent England tour to the UAE.

You'll need a Katchet Ramp, multistump, Bat or Skyer and some cricket balls.

The aim is to simulate standing up to the stumps to both medium pacers and spinners, focussing on areas such as posture, hip and shoulder turn, catching area, and the ability to react to significant deflections from a realistic "nick-distance". In other words, to push back the boundaries of what is possible when standing up to the stumps.

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