It’s just not cricket (coaching)

It’s the time of year when my cricket coaching begins to kick into action.  There are always bits and pieces that continue year round, but with the season approaching the hours increase.  Over the past couple of seasons I have started to take on the challenge of coaching the seniors at the club at which I play.  A club with a rich history, but one which had now found a level more akin to the resources and population available to us. (More of this in coming weeks)

Coaching and working with the juniors is always a real pleasure.  Since we re-focused our efforts in this area six or seven years ago I’ve been integral to this and so I feel there is a respect and appreciation for my abilities as a coach.  Results have been good, but more importantly the retention of young cricketers seems to be on the up.  Long term this has to be of huge benefit to the club.

I’d like to think I have a good grasp of where the majority of the colts are in terms of their development, with many well aware themselves and in the process of addressing a variety of issues – a long term project.  The problem arises at this time of year.  As the senior players return, and the see the older colts (who we’ve integrated into senior training) they instantly pick up on technical imperfections, and begin to “coach” them.  By coach, I mean highlight the problem and tell them to stop doing it.  And then continuing to do this with increasing volume and exasperation.  I can compare this to going to a mechanic and them telling me my brakes don’t work.  No matter how many times they tell me, I still don’t have the tools to do anything about it.  Eventually, I’ll leave my car there and walk home!

I have to find a way to stop the senior players – who in fairness are trying to help – from making the colts walk away!  The problem as I see it, is two fold.  Firstly there is no personal relationship in place, therefore no amount of “coaching” is going to have a positive effect as this cog is locked in place. (See )  Secondly, if you tell someone not to think about a blue elephant, they think about a blue elephant – it’s how the brain works.  Knowing what someone is doing wrong is not enough.

The more I think about it, the more I view coaching as an art form over a science.  Knowing the facts is one thing, presenting them is another.  I now need to find a way to present this to the senior players.  Best get my paintbrush out.  Or, I could keep telling them they are wrong…louder and louder!

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About the Author: Stephen Pritchard

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