On Saturday night in the bar after the game (washed out after the first innings of course) the conversation turned to coaching methods.
As you can imagine, it's a topic that pricked up my ears on your behalf. There are some very experienced players at my club so I was at the ready to pick up some ideas to pass on.
We talked about how in modern times the emphasis coaches have has moved towards less cricket specific skills and more towards developing players as athletes first and cricketers second. This is one of the key concepts behind the LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development Program).
The LTAD is a general guideline framework that explains where young players should be at each stage of their cricket development from the age of 6 until they retire.
So, while the emphasis is on developing younger players, anyone can use the LTAD to grade their own progress and improve their game.
At least, that's the idea.
Can we take that on face value and use it to improve our cricket as well as the skills of our colts and youth players?
The LTAD seems to make sense. It incorporates proven sport science methods into cricket that have not been seen before:
- Developing a base of fitness
- Having the underlying movement skills that cricket is built on
- Long term planning of training, playing and recovery
Cricket as a traditional sport has always taught cricket skills first, second and last. The LTAD aims to move players of all ages away from this single-minded approach and make them better cricketers in the process.
From that angle I would say that it is a great framework from which to work.
But as was pointed out to me by one of our youth coaches in the bar (and also here), there are limitations to how much you can use the LTAD either as a coach of younger players or an older player wanting to move their game forward.
- The LTAD, while based on good research, has never been proven as a framework itself. While it looks neat on paper, I feel you would still need very good coaches to give it a chance of working by adapting it to individuals.
- This is where LTAD may fail in the short term at least. Many coaches don't follow it as they have grown up on skills based training alone. It is still seen as quite progressive to do fitness work, let alone long term, integrated planning.
- Lastly, recreational cricket is seen as a means to an end: developing elite players. Not everyone can get to that level though and the LTAD risks alienating the vast majority of players who play for fun at weekends. There is still a place for development of players who will never play at the top level. Heck, that's what harrowdrive is all about
Overall I feel the LTAD is a good thing. It has limitations but it's a step towards using sport science theory in a practical way and helping cricketers score more runs and wickets. Not everyone in the bar agreed of course. Do you?
I'm interested in your thoughts. Have you any experience with LTAD as a coach or player? Leave a comment.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008