Take A Cognitive Apprenticeship to Enhance Your Cricket Skills | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Take A Cognitive Apprenticeship to Enhance Your Cricket Skills

Imagine a net session where the coach just gives you feedback from the bowling machine by showing you videos of what you are doing and videos of how things should be done.


You are never going to learn why you are doing it.

You are never going to learn what context of a game that skill needs to be used.

You will become a robot who has perfected an ineffective skill.

This is the dictatorial teacher way of coaching. The player will learn how to look fantastic in the nets, but wont score runs because they don't know in what situation to play what way.

They also will not understand their game and what works for them, as they are just skill perfected robots.

Now imagine a situation where you are a fast bowler and the coach sets out a line of cones, tells you to bowl as fast as you can.

All that will happen is you practice bad habits and stagnate in development.

This is the apprenticeship style of coaching, and is equally ineffective.

Use the coaching tools

Combining these methods when coaching is imperative. Imagine similar scenarios to the above but in the following ways:

When facing the machine, you start working on picking up ones on the off side. The coach shows you videos of how successful batters do it for some ideas. Then, practice the various shots and getting into the various positions for yourself and find out what works for you. The feedback comes from what is done well.

For example the coach might let the player know that they are continually finding the third man fielder in the deep with ease but opening the face of the blade. They will be working this out for themselves but that reassurance will cement the point.

Similarly afterwards, when reviewing the footage, compare ways of playing with others and explain what has developed and where are the strengths. The coach only interjects to guide the conversation.

When bowling, explain why you feel you should be hitting that certain area.

This will enhance theoretical understanding of the game.

Similarly, explain to the coach what stage of the game a particular line and length should be used.

You still need to run in and practice hitting those areas, but the coach will ask what the outcome would have been. For example if you miss the good length by dropping short, the coach might ask where the most likely scoring zone would be and ask you to explain how you will put it right. Similarly after a good ball, ask why it was good and explain the feeling of what was going on and why it would have troubled the batter.

The impact that this style of teaching or coaching will have is great.

Guided discovery is the best way to enhance understanding and knowledge: If you find something out for yourself, you would have had to go down a certain route to get there. That route naturally explains why something works and why it is good for that situation.

The pressure free "cognitive apprenticeship" environment is perfect when thinking about cricket coaching and is already used in some ways with basic scenario play. However more can be done when breaking things down further technically to still allow players that element of self-discovery and theoretical understanding.

The coach needs to create that “equal” persona whereby the player is comfortable discussing ideas and what they are feeling. Putting that persona into drills becomes easy once it is perfected.

This is a guest article from Jordan Finney, cricket coach and sport psychology degree student.

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