I had an article ready to go for you this week, but last night we had an session with the 1st team squad here at Millfield School that I just had to tell you about.
Around 5pm, the coaching team grabbed a coffee in-between squad sessions.
I asked a simple question, "Could either of you two inspire me ahead of the last session of term please?" and my two brilliant assistants came up with a innovative session plan which led to a great session:
The Wilson/Thompson 40 run consequence net
What were were trying to do?
- To build batting and bowling disciplines
- To create pressure and develop effective coping strategies.
- Develop speed between the wickets
- Explore different turning techniques
- Develop extra speed between the wickets
- To get very sweaty!
Each batting pair has to run 40 runs in 15 minutes of batting against 3 bowlers: They can choose to run 1's, 2's and 3's at any time and are encouraged to relate the shot quality to the number of runs that are called and run.
But here is the kicker: Running was timed. A coach or fellow player clicks a stop watch at ball contact and stops it as the last player crosses the crease on the final run. Failure to achieve minimum standard results in a consequence of 10 burpees on a thick crash mat for each batting partner:
- Single in 3.75 seconds
- 2's in 8.25 seconds
- 3's in 12 seconds
Although this was an experiment, the results were outstanding:
- Everyone ended up covered in sweat!
- We explored different turning techniques and methods on 2's and 3's (in line with Laurence Houghton's research)
- No ball incidence dropped significantly over the course of the session.
- Everyone had fun.
- Bowling teams started to work with each other, particularly when a fatigued batter is on strike. The lines improved and we recorded more balls being in the "playing zone" when batters were most vulnerable.
- The batting group have decided to review the running between the wickets minimum standards as they found the existing ones too easy!
- The bowlers didn't look after the balls well enough.
Of course I could not have been happier with the session, but it also got me to thinking of possible future progressions:
- Video the turns by the batters at each end then analyse technique.
- Record the times for each set of runs and objectively set targets for future sessions.
- Wides as well as No-balls to result in a bowling consequence
- Players to review their pre-delivery routine effectiveness when under the most physical/mental pressure. Use a whiteboard to rate them out of 10 and follow up with review conversations around the fringes of the practice.
- Set fields and incorporate contextual decision making.
- Increase physical demands to become a 50 run net.
So, what started as a throwaway question resulted in a great session with potential for even greater progressions in the future. So share your musings with your mates and see if you can grow a session like this one.