Quick Tip: How to Separate Buzz Words from Practical Advice | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Quick Tip: How to Separate Buzz Words from Practical Advice

Filed in:

Recently I threw a quick idea on twitter and got a response that got me to thinking.

After posting about two relatively new cricketing words - "process" and "outcome" - someone pointed out that these words were nonsense.


I disagreed, but I saw his point.

We are in a world of double-speak like never before. Coaches talk like business management gurus. Players are schooled on saying the right thing to the media. It's natural to look back at the good old days when cricket was about cricket things, like line, length, a high front elbow and jolly lovely cups of tea.

Neither world view is correct of course.

So how to we separate buzzwords, double speak and rose-tinted spectacle nostalgia from language that works to help improve your cricket?

Simple. Ask yourself one question:

Does the language used help you understand more clearly?

If the answer is "yes" it has done it's job.

If the answer is no, it is useless, or exists to deliberately hide the reality. Either way, it's a waste of your time.

For me, that's why "process" and "outcome" are not buzz words. We know exactly what we mean: Process is a way of doing things (like changing the bowling action), outcome is what happens (like bowling a 90mph yorker).

Simple, clear and effective communication.

Like everything else, if you are mindful about the words you use, or hear, you will avoid the pitfalls of language.

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.


If the process you're using doesn't lead to the outcome you're looking for, then one or the other needs to change!

Isn't bowling yorkers also the process of achieving the outcome of tight overs?

It goes in a loop.

If your outcome is undesirable, either your process is wrong or the oppo just got lucky. Dernbach is either incredibly unlucky or incredibly overrated.

Thanks guys for elevating the discussion. That's why PVA readers are the brainiest.

Process and outcome are helpful words, my bete noire is "creativity", as in "the All blacks are better at scoring tries than England because they have better creativity". No, its because they have clearer thinking about the exact processes required to score tries and are therefore better practiced at the key skills required to execute those processes. its also because they don't use words like "creativity".

You might as well shout "witchcraft".

Sport was created by creativity, not by people preaching about "process" and "outcome". Innovation in sports is also a product of creative thinking. Who would have invented swing bowling, or even spin bowling without creativity and the desire to do something different? If no one were creative, we would still be stuck with underarm bowlers.

Process and outcome are indeed very helpful words, but not the sole cause of success. You have to think creatively and invent your own mystery ball before you can start working out the physics behind it.

That's my opinion anyway, I'm sure most coaches would prefer "process and outcome" above "creativity and innovation".

Jacques, they are not mutually exclusive.

Umm... I really do not get it!

Without 'process', what is there?

'Process' is pure and simply the way we do things. That includes 'creativity and innovation'... not to confuse innovative thinking with artistic expression of course... still, both part of the 'process'.

'Process' [good, bad or indifferent] leads to 'outcome' [good, bad or indifferent]. How can they be buzz words?

I have been criticised for using '...maximise potential...' here in the past and told that it does not mean anything. Surely if you believe every individual has potential and that potential is unique to them and maximising it is qualitative and quantitative, then it means quite a lot... especially to the one who has had their potential maximised!

No, I am afraid that people who believe these words are just 'buzz', do not understand their meaning... in which case, they demonstrate their ignorance by highlighting the issue.

However, this is totally different to disagreeing with the hypothesis... which I do.

Process, in my opinion, is just as important to batting as it is to bowling!

I think the reason people get annoyed by cricket coaches such as Ashley Giles using terminology like this is that it appears to be deliberately unspecific. The fact that he keeps talking about in general terms about "executing skills and processes" suggests that he doesn't know WHAT skills and WHAT processes his players actually need to execute, a hypothesis which seems to be supported by recent results.

I agree AB, and that was the point I was trying to make in the article. Language is best used when it quickly communicates something specific. Saying "maximise potential" is a very simple shorthand for "get everything from this player that is genetically possible". How else could you say it in less words?

That said, I think the word "maximise" is a little ugly, I's probably try and find a more elegant word than turning a noun into a verb by adding -ise. But thats just picky and personal and nothing to do with the point.

This is the whole point. Do the words used really justify the attention?

Can it really be the case that more energy is spent on the use of the words 'process' and 'outcome' rather than on the question?

I am afraid this may be the reason the game is in such a poor state!

Having come across Ashley Giles at the 2008 Conference, I am sure he does know what he is doing and knows what skills, processes etc the players need. He may have failed to enlighten the reporters but that does not bother me at all.

Whether I believe he is the right coach for the job is another matter [in case you are wondering, I have no idea, there are not enough facts or time] but if it is magic they are after, they should have headhunted Merlin!