Cricket coaching has come a long way since the master "tell" coach shouted orders at you and expected you to follow blindly along. Now it's a two way relationship.
That's because no one coach has all the answers for all the people. Good coaches have great knowledge and experience, and they also understand that every player is on a different journey. They are open to questions, feedback and ideas.
It's your job as a player to ask questions, respectfully challenge the ideas of the coach and develop a relationship of trust, even if you are just part of a squad with no one to one time (especially then, in fact).
Here are 5 ways you can open up discussion with your coach in a friendly and open manner.
1. What's you coaching style?
This is a fun question that will also show you a lot about how your coach thinks. Some coaches like to be in your face and push people hard, others like to be more friendly and laid back. All coahes love to talk about their underlying philosophy!
It's not just personality either. A good coach defines everything by his or her philosophy. When you know this key point, you can work out how to make it work in your situation. You can also decide if it's worth continuing with this coach if you have other options that better suit your needs.
2. What's my problem?
Coaching is a lot about solving problems. It stands to reason that you should know what your coach thinks the issues are with your game.
This also tells you where the coach is focused and how much you agree or disagree with the analysis. It can open up a wider discussion about where you want to focus your training.
3. What's your solution?
A natural follow up question that tells you even more about a coach. Chances are that if you ask the previous question you will probably already get the answer to this one. If not, feel free to ask it.
4. Why is that important?
This is a cracker. It's hard to pull off a question like this without seeming to give push back, but a good coach will be happy to explain her reasoning with you. You are looking for agreement, but there is a chance that you will find areas to further discuss.
Approach this question with care for coaches feelings - especially if you disagree - and treat it as the cornerstone of your development as a player.
5. What am I like?
We know how important personality is to cricket performance. Your coach knows this too and will adapt his coaching to your personality. So, it helps to know what he thinks of you.
This might hurt a bit, especially if your coach is a plain talker and points out some of your personal weaknesses! Be ready to wince at the answer, and always be ready to ask it upfront to prevent confusion. Imagine if you are an introvert who's coach thinks you are extroverted but you never discuss it. It's going to slow your progress.
There are many more things you can ask - like your role in the side, how your coach deals with player frustrations, or what gear they find to be essential - and you should feel confident enough to be open with your coach. The idea is to open individual discussion while showing respect for the coaches position, general experience and knowledge.
With this culture of two way discussion in place, your development will surge forward. It's a no-brainer.
image credit: matso