It’s frustrating to have your thoughts and ideas go unnoticed.
You have a brilliant tactic the captain won’t consider. You watch in disgust as the pitch preparations are poor while noone will listen to you solution. The coach forces you to train in ways that don’t work for you.
Whatever it is, you don’t know how to get out of the spiral of being ignored. It makes you feel angry and powerless.
If only these people listened!
You’re not alone.
In fact, it’s a problem faced in a world with a more deadly possible outcome: commercial airlines. If a plane crashes, people die. It’s vital that everyone in the cockpit has a say in preventing accidents, even when there is clearly one person (the pilot) in charge.
After one accident it was determined that the pilot was ignoring the advice of a co-pilot. The airlines worked out that there is a simple way of changing this. This is called PACE
Get heard with PACE
PACE is a way of gradually raising the level of feedback to a superior without causing issues. Here is the process:
- Probe. Make your concerns know as a general observation. “Looks like the opening bowler has lost a bit of accuracy, what do you think captain?”
- Alert. If probing is not getting the desired effect, step it up by outright suggesting something. You’re still being discreet and respectful at this point. “Do you think it would work if we lowered the blades on the mower to make the outfield grass shorter?”
- Challenge. At this stage, you are going to get more direct. It’s time to stop suggesting and engage the issue directly. “You keep getting out LBW no matter how hard you work in nets. Do you object to a 4 angles net session to correct the issue?”
- Emergency. In a plane, you would only go to this level if you feel life is in danger. That’s never going to be the case in cricket, but if you know for sure your solution will prevent a major failure in some way, take emergency steps and speak plainly about the solution. “If we keep trying to get this set bastman out he will win the game for them. Let’s focus on giving him a single and dismissing the weaker players at the other end.”
Does PACE work?
PACE works in planes and in medical settings like operations. There is no reason it can’t work for your cricket too.
But it’s not easy.
Plain speaking people have trouble with probing and alerting because they feel they should speak the truth immediately.
Diplomatic people feel they are challenging authority too much when using challenge and emergency.
However, trust the process and try each step in order. Even if it might feel uncomfortable at first. You’ll be suprised how often it can bring your point to the fore. Better a moment of discomfort than an obvious issue being ignored, right?
Do you speak up? How do you manage these difficult moments?