Iain Brunnschweiler knows his stuff. He is England Development Programme Coach and runs Inspired Cricket. What coach or player wouldn't want to pick his brains?
That's exactly what PitchVision Academy did recently. In frustration at seeing net sessions wasted, I turned to Brunchy for some advice, and his answer was so simple it shocked me.
Turns out you don't need professional cricketers, ECB Level 4 coaches and a backroom staff that can fill a bus to have more focused net sessions.
You just need a whiteboard.
Having a whiteboard at nets is a brilliant tool, Brunchy revealed, because you can write down the focus of the session.
If you want to get better at dancing down the wicket, write it on the board. Then, everyone knows what you are trying to achieve even if you twinkle your toes every ball. It's there on the board. And the same applies for the bowlers. Where are you trying to land it today?
This alone gives you focus and purpose, but you can take it up a notch too.
Before the session begins, take time to work out your goals. This doesn't have to take long. You can do it alone or you can discuss it with a coach, captain or team mate. Take a short term view (what are you doing in the next session) and a longer view (where do you want to be in two months).
Then, once your session is done, look at the whiteboard and decide how you did. Perhaps you measured it. Perhaps it was more about feel. Talk it through with someone about what went well, and what went badly. From there, decide how you will adjust and approach your next session. You can do that by answering the simple question: "What will I write on the board next time?"
So, focus is really about three simple things:
- Plan before sessions
- Focus during sessions
- Review after sessions
Anyone can do this from an under 10 to an established first team player. The only difference is how much is driven by the coach, and how much is personal responsibility. With young players, the coach might find out what they want to improve from them, but then spend the rest of the session helping them remember that was the goal. Older players can be totally self-sufficient.
So, follow Iain Brunnschweiler's lead and break out that whiteboard at the next session. Turns out it's super useful.
For more advice, videos, drills and fun, check out Inspired Cricket on PitchVision Academy