Why Your Club is Driving Players Away | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Why Your Club is Driving Players Away

The captain scratched his head as he examined the team sheet. He had 8 names written on it.

“Who can we find to play?” he muttered to himself, scrolling through his phone contacts.

He was already coming up with creative ideas like asking Fred if his brother still fancied a game because he “played a bit in school” and expressed some interest a couple of seasons ago.

If you have ever captained a team below the professional level you will recognise this game. You hunt for numbers, beg for favours and scratch around to raise enough players.

A 3rd team captain of the club I played for back in the early 90s once told me that he did not consider selection finished until teatime midway through the Saturday game.

We put it down to other reasons, but could it be just as much to do with the culture of your club?

It’s often the case that we inadvertently put players off, and then assume that it’s them that are “unmotivated”.

While you will never have a club fill of cricketers who put the game before every other priority, you can drastically reduce the number of flaky players.

Become part of the solution

It’s just a matter of understanding why you are part of the problem and doing something about it.

People are motivated to play cricket for many different reasons: combined with that are several other priorities in life. It all goes up to make an individual set of motivations.

But all we do is ask a player if he or she is available next week.

We can’t analyse every player of course, but we can do more to understand individuals. The player who just enjoys a run around in the sun and a good tea is very different to the youngster trying to become a professional.

Take time to find out what a player enjoys about playing, what he doesn’t enjoy and, crucially, what else he could be doing with his Saturday afternoon.

You will find that just expressing an interest is enough to motivate players.

You’ll also discover things you can do to ease the path to availability. Some of it will be cricket related, like well-defined roles. Some of it will be practical stuff.

It’s also about making the club a fun place to be.

It doesn’t matter if someone is playing cricket for recreation or with a bigger aim, everyone wants to enjoy it. That happens when:

  • They feel an important part of the team
  • They have good friends in the team
  • They win

Without that tie back of a basic need being met, you will struggle to get players to come along consistently. So, no matter how serious you take your cricket personally, never forget to do everything you can to make it inclusive and fun.

Laying the groundwork now means you do less scrabbling for names on a Saturday morning. Save yourself some pain and start chatting to players about these things next time you see them. 

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