As a coach the clichÃ©; is my best friend and my worst enemy. The easy to digest truism slips of the tongue when working with players, especially groups. But are they doing more harm than damage to players?
Let's take a look at some common clichÃ©s and decide.
- Never run on a misfield. Richie Benaud still maintains this as gospel truth. The reality is less clear. If the ball goes straight through a players legs you can probably take another run safely. On the other hand it's often best for club players to avoid getting suckered by a fumble. If you are particularly fast and a good judge of a run you can run off a misfield but it's a risky business so if you decide to go only every put yourself at risk of getting run out.
- Turn facing the ball. It's set in stone that when you turn for another run you turn with your body open on the side you can see the ball to avoid a run out. However, very alert batsman can choose to turn blind if it means he can push off with his stronger leg. If you are fast you will only be looking away for a moment and unless that is the critical point you will be fine. Kids should still learn to turn facing the ball though.
- Catches win matches. If you catch everything that comes you will win more games than you lose right? It's one of those common sense things that is impossible to prove. Generally I would agree as a way of getting players to work on their fielding but what also wins matches is good batting, bowling and ground fielding too. There is no magic to catches.
- Sacrifice accuracy for speed. I have seen many a bowler with good pace try and improve accuracy by slowing down. Biomechanically, slowing down also changes your action making it harder to go back to bowling with pace. As Ian Pont says, it's better to develop accuracy and speed at the same time through working on a powerful action with a good coach.
- You can’t be caught if you hit the ball on the ground. This is another great tool for coaching kids that many adults can apply too. If you spend your whole career aiming to hit the ball along the floor you will do well. That said, there are some situations where hitting the ball in the air can work too. There is always a gap behind a fielder to hit the ball into and there is nothing like the satisfaction of clearing the rope. Your judgment needs to be excellent
- The tail needs to be fired out. How many club games have you played in where the seamers have been brought back to take the last couple of wickets? This might work if the bowler is particularly nippy or the conditions are poor for batting, but most club bowlers are quite easy to block out for a lower order batter with a reasonable defence. A better strategy in most circumstances is to have spinners (especially loopy spinners) tempting the worse players with easy to hit stuff. Chances are they will hit one straight up in the air in the end. It's too hard to resist for most.
- 200 is a decent score on this wicket. It's funny how often 200 is seen as a decent score on most afternoon games. It's nice and round and easy and seems so much bigger than 190. A good captain will not look to round numbers but will try and judge a good score based on several factors: par for the ground, weather and pitch conditions, knowledge of the batting available on both teams and educated hunches. It's amazing how low a score you can declare on with a bit of confidence and forward thinking.
What clichÃ©s do you use? Which ones would you like to have struck from the lexicon?© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008