This is a guest article by Daniel Maddocks of T20Kids.com: Promoting Cricket for Kids. Daniel is an ECB Coach with experience in coaching young cricketers in the North West of England.
When the bowler runs in and the batsman is ready to face the ball they are on their own. So why should cricketers worry about team spirit?
Because, despite appearances, team spirit is essential in cricket.
It can be used to psychologically intimidate the opposing side.
More importantly it encourages the individual to do their best, as they want to do well for their team.
It's that aspect of working together to create a common goal that makes team spirit an important part of any cricket team with league-winning ambitions.
So what are the signs of a good team?
Critically, when every single player feels like they can contribute towards the success of a team, you have good team spirit. But you can also see it in the behaviour of players:
- Batsman calling well between the wickets
- Fielders encouraging the bowler and backing up
- Players praising each other, captains and coaches praising team efforts, not individual performances.
This kind of attitude comes over time with the right balance of personalities and leadership.
But, when younger players are called up to a squad, they may or may not adopt the sense of camaraderie as quickly as they could.
So, how do we build team spirit in younger players?
It starts before players even make it into the senior side at junior level:
- Make sure everyone has a role in the side.
- Provide club kit, t-shirt or cap with badge. They will feel they belong to a team.
- Introduce team-building exercises to training, but make them fun!
- Praise the team as a whole, not individually.
- Encourage a winning celebration, song or dance.
Then as players start to move towards senior sides:
- Allow talented youngsters to train with adults (safely) and build rapport with new team mates.
- Avoid picking junior players for fielding purposes only. They may get fed up or lose interest in the game.
- Encourage new players to encourage others on the field.
- Recognise successes in a way the player will appreciate.
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image credit: Gary_T_W