They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Yet how many times after a game have we "reviewed" performance with a bunch of fleeting clichés about bowling better, taking our catches and taking responsibility as a batting unit?
How many times do we actually do something about this complaint other than hope things will change next time?
In my experience, that's rare. We think we are simply out of form and having a net will help the magic fairy sprinkle us again with the sparkling form dust.
But if you really want to stop the insanity, you need a good review after every game.
Reviews don't need flipboards
Of course, the classic image of a post-game review is a team, after getting thumped, are locked in the changing room by an angry captain (or coach) and made to under a death by flipboard rant.
That's not a review, that's someone letting off steam.
A good review doesn't need to be after a loss. It doesn't need hours of discussion and spreadsheets of data. It can be done in a few minutes and - more importantly - has some action to take away that will help in the next game.
Makr Garaway uses a very simple template of "Stop Start, Continue" to bring ideas to the fore quickly. I like that method because it can be applied at any level.
An example of a sane post-match meeting
So let's say your team have just been thrashed, and you are in charge of reducing the chances of it happening in the next game.
So you call the guys together while it is still raw. However the goal here you start to pull out actions to take into training and tactics for the next game.
Maybe a batsman wants to work on something technical (a "start" action). Make an action to cover it off in nets. Not just for one week though, give it three at least. And really make an effort to make the difference.
But mainly, it's not going to be technical changes, it's going to be about attitudes. For example, perhaps the side crumbled under the pressure of an attacking batsman. The "Stop" would be reacting differently under pressure to when you are on top. The action to take is to spend a number of practice sessions adding pressure to nets.
The take-home point here is that if discussion is vital, it's actions that make the difference. Do something with the outcome of the meeting or it's just hot air.
Remember to sing when you're winning
The other big mistake about reviews is that they are only undertaken in extreme losses. The theory goes that when everything is going according to plan there is no need to rock the boat. Just carry on doing what you are doing. You only need to review things when the plans are failing.
Of course, this is nonsense.
It's even more important to "stop, start, continue" review when things are going well because,
- It allows you to keep improving
- It allows you to prevent a turnaround of form before it happens
So review things after the game, or before a training session, or both no matter what the result.
Make is short, efficient, friendly and - most importantly - sane.