Coaching View: Have Pakistan Proved You Don't Need Structure to Win at Cricket? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Coaching View: Have Pakistan Proved You Don't Need Structure to Win at Cricket?

Pakistan won the Champions Trophy. They did it, in the words of one supporter, with "no home cricket, no money, no structure. No problem!"


The result has sent the media reeling. In a world of structured coaching, from ODI to club and school level, what place is there for a team who win like this? As the The Guardian put it:

"Rip up the ECB blueprint. Ditch the talent‑pathway, bin the nannying selection policies... a victory not just for Sarfraz Ahmed’s wonderfully balanced and skilful team, but also for the idea that success in sport can emerge from a less managed environment, from talent, perseverance and the sheer nerve and craft to seize the moment in front of you"

Is it true?

Actually, it's not an either/or choice.

Pakistan have done the best they can in unique circumstances. They had to be driven by pride, passion and determination because that is all they have had for years (compared to almost every other top nation).

But you can't create an environment like that.

What you can create - whatever level you play - is a bunch of players who have those same skills.

You can develop grit. You can learn nerve under pressure. Perhaps you can even coach talent (you can certainly always improve, no matter what your talent).

The best way we know to do all these things is to build them into a structure. That structure borrows words like "pathway" and "blueprint" and can be applied at any level of the game where you want to improve.

Sure, if you make a structure that is too rigid and focused on telling players what to do, you lose the freedom that Pakistan players had to develop their game in their way. And what a result they got!

But that is not what modern coaches do.

A modern structure is driven by the players so they have freedom to fail, learn and develop. A modern structure is based around a culture and mindset, not dogma.

Saying Pakistan prove "modern" cricket coaching wrong is looking at things in the wrong way. Pakistan have shown modern cricket coaching what is important.

Well played Pakistan! Let's all learn from your pride, passion and skills.

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