The proof of any cricket system is how well it works for real coaches and players. SAQ is no different.
That's why I was delighted when Matt got in touch with me to tell me his experiences with adding SAQ to his coaching.
Here is what he told me:
I used the SAQ for was with a group of 11/12 year olds last year of mixed ability. In terms of the skills required in some of the phases within SAQ such as Mechanics (hurdles) , Innervation (ladders) and Explosive movements there was a vast improvement from the start of the 10 week course to end in terms of running technique and quick multi directional fast foot movements which are vital in all aspects of cricket.
It also worked for professional player Steffan Jones who went from an 86 mph bowler to 92 mph as clocked when taking 4 wickets against Leicestershire at Lords.
Ultimately the ECB is big on LTAD and producing the athlete as well as the player by using the ABC's (Agility, Balance, Co-ordination) which I agree with.
As far as I can see or know there is no real structure or model in place to train this within at youth level so it's pretty much down to the individual coach to formulate his own methods/sessions. My personal feeling is that SAQ covers these areas and more.
For example SAQ uses the following techniques that can be adapted to the cricket pitch:
- Fast foot ladder work: As a batter you need to firstly make quick decisions that trigger your foot movement back or forward. This is particularly important against spinners.
- Correct running mechanics: Seam bowlers approach to wicket needs to be rhythmical and balanced and mechanics makes this possible.
- Explosive movements: A fast bowler hitting the crease and in the follow through potentially has to make multi directional movements diving to catch or save runs. A fielder will also walk in with the bowler and have to make a similar movement to stop, catch, chase or retrieve the ball.
All these skills have to compliment the other skills that develop a good cricketer. Technical, tactical, mental and lifestyle all play a part too.
Additionally, SAQ has been used with most of the UK County Championship teams including Somerset, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Essex.
I'm interested in your feedback. Have you used SAQ training as a coach or player? How have you found it?
Image credit: Hashmil© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008