New Tricks: What Kids Taught This Old Dog Over the Summer | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

New Tricks: What Kids Taught This Old Dog Over the Summer

The Millfield School cricket season has come to an end and my work is not yet done.

Each year I undertake a review of the team performance; the effectiveness of the programme and my effectiveness as a coach. I think reviews are vital for the players and for myself if we are to develop.

So, what have I learnt this year?


Create opportunities for youngsters

The U18 National Finals day was played at the beautiful Arundel Castle ground. Spin bowlers have dominated proceedings in the last few finals days that have been held at the venue. There was a need for a 3rd spin option.

We gave a debut in the semi-final to a 14 year old off spinner.

This raised a few eyebrows amongst observers. Tom is a good bowler, yet his biggest asset is his maturity and ability to read a game of cricket. He is incredibly aware of what is going on around him. I had every faith in him to perform.

Tom took 5-20 in the semi to secure a place in the final.

Even though we ended up losing the final to an excellent Woodhouse Grove School team, the experience galvanised my view on creating opportunity and helped build another stepping stone on Tom's promising development path.

Opportunity knocked for Tom and he took it with both hands.

Perception trumps reality

The first half of the season was tricky. We lost a load of matches in a row. Most worryingly, we kept making the same mistakes.

During one game I asked a 15 year old - David Scott - to give me his views on why this was happening.

He spoke for about 15 minutes and kept stating that we were fearful of making mistakes, hesitant, and lacking confidence.

I asked him what I could do to shift our thinking and our performance.

'Scotty' told me that I should spend more time telling the individual players what they are doing right rather than what they were doing wrong. My perception told me that I was doing that anyway, but his reality challenged that perception.

I reflected on the feedback and decided to make a concerted effort to draw out more positives in our performances, to spend more time with each individual when doing this and to sustain this approach for 2 weeks.

I could then assess the subsequent results in terms of player behaviours, decision making and performance.

As a result of David's feedback the team started to make decisions more quickly and effectively, the runs started to flow, the spirit started to rise and the results started to turn. The team progressed through the National Cup rounds against some excellent teams and ended up at finals day.

When was the last time you asked a 15 year old his opinion on how you can get better as a coach?

David challenged my coaching in the same way as I challenge his cricket. I just hope that my influence on him is as strong as his influence on my performance this year.

Thank you Scotty.

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I am a level 2 coach at Warminster cricket club in Wiltshire.

Currently head of youth coaching u11, u13, u15.

I am always looking for new ideas, new coaching methods and thoughts from other coaches aswell, as using new equipment.

Any help and advice is very much appreciated.

Welcome Doug, there is much for club coaches here on the site, so feel free to explore. If you have a specific issue, question or comment, drop me, Garas, Lavers or any of the team a line!

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