Coach Sam Lavery talks us through his perfect cricket coaching kitbag, and what's most essential when space is at a premium.
Imagine taking a current kit bag back 20 years.
Not only would some pieces of kit be questioned, but others would be completely unrecognisable. So what are the options that coaches carry in their modern day kit bags, and what do they have tucked away in the store cupboard back at HQ?
I’ve spoken to 10 coaches ranging from a few at First Class and International level, through to school and club coaches. Here's what they said.
Most popular coaching tools
Balls. Every coach I asked had plenty of cricket balls: Old and new. Red, white, orange and pink. That's obvious. They also had a bit of a variety to keep players on their toes: baseballs, weighted balls, reaction balls, incrediballs, tennis balls, squash balls, "nerf" and even table tennis balls made the list.
Catching mitt. The mitt has become almost as common in the bag of a cricket coach as it is in the locker room of a major league team. Whether you're catching for the bowlers, running a fielding drill, or giving throw downs, keeping a mitt within reach is almost essential.
Medicine balls. The ability to generate power is as important as being able to catch. The med ball has established itself especially for the quicks. Meanwhile The mini med ball is versatile, a little easier to transport and still mighty effective.
Skyer (or half bat) The Skyer is dynamite in half a bat, and will help test the catching skills of even the most reliable of hands. A half bat will still do a more than adequate job.
Katchet boards Wicket keepers, slips, or just for general fielding drills: The unpredictable characteristics of the Katchet are great for training sessions as well as pre-game preparations.
Spring stumps or Fusion multistumps. The spring stump became a staple part of any warm up or training session years ago. Now the Fusion Multistump is an upgrade on its original wooden counterpart that reduces injuries to the hands and fingers, while also eliminating the 50 yard chase after the ball as it ricochets away to fine leg during your bowling warm up.
Tablet or Laptop. Capturing data, taking notes, filming, checking stats on lines, viewing old footage or simply checking emails. Having a tablet or laptop, ideally with an internet connection, is becoming an essential part of everyone's life, player or coach.
High frame-rate video camera. Capturing practice or match footage for analysis is an everyday part of the modern coaches game, so having a decent camera and tripod is extremely useful. Just remember that there's no point capturing footage it you don’t analyse it.
Stereo or iDock. Creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere with a bit of music seems to be a regular thing these days. Just keep your latest gadget away from the new ball!
All the above kit was used by most coaches, whatever the setting. The below is more specialised but if you are into your coaching you won't want to miss out.
Pugg nets. A game of football in the warm up, or a series of fielding and throwing drills. The Pug nets are a great way to stop balls flying to far away.
Crazy catch. Test your players’ hands and their reactions at the same time. The Crazy Catch now comes in a few different forms, with the hand held portable version being a good way to offer variation whilst still fitting in the boot of your car.
Therabands or tension bands. Developing power must work hand in hand with injury prevention. Tension bands can be used for all kind of strength work, and they're particularly useful for developing stability around the shoulders which endure high stress levels when batting, bowling and throwing.
Rubber floor strips. Ideal for alignment drills, they can be used inside our outside, and provide a great representation of the direction of movement. Plus, they don’t take up too much space in a bag.
That's a lot, so what are the essentials? What are the things that you can get along with as a bare minimum?
Balls, a mitt, a side arm, and something to carry them in.
With these 4 things all our coaches seem pretty happy getting a session up and running.
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