The final session before our first preseason game was a little more laid back from me, and customised to adapt to our last session discussions.
I did less planning and did not lay out stations this time, mainly because I was unsure of numbers and didn't want to do a huge amount of prep for an unknown quantity.
We warmed up with basic ball skills, finished with a throwing drill then did some simple Skyer fielding drills working on ring fielding, low catches, chasing and returning and catching over the shoulder. I made my focus to put the pressure on the fielders by having smaller groups (4-5 in a drill at most) and really smashing the ball at those that wanted full force.
It was gratifying to me to see the ball burst through the hands of a player who had previous told me to hit it harder! One guy, who is often pushing me for more intense work, walked away from a high catch drill after I had send on sailing up with a six second hang time. He didn't say why, but my pride wants me to assume it was because the catching was so tough (although to be fair it could also be because he wanted a bat)!
The more I think about it, the more player mindset becomes important in these moments. There is one player who almost always seems grumpy with what is happening. His body language slumps, he walks away from drills, he complains to others but doesn't say anything to me. This is not the norm at the club and his mindset is 100% on him, yet I always feel bad because I feel I must be failing him.
What I should do is realise it's very little to do with me. I can't do anything if he doesn't tell me what he wants then gets upset he is not getting the training he needs. I have no control. The best I can do is make sure he knows he can be frank with me and ignore the pouting.
Anyway, back to the session; I also had a group do a self-directed drill on the Katchet which was a challenge to them, but they got it working. Another learning point for me here is to make sure people know they can adjust, change and switch things if it's not working, then let them get on with playing about.
We finished with some outdoor bowling; always easy to run, some throwdowns and guys going into the nets.
The nets were mainly players wanting a hit, so I left them to it. They were happy to get their undirected 10 minutes each and one of the players took control of the timings without prompting.
That's good to see, although I might take the opportunity to insist players write down a goal on the whiteboard even if it's just a basic hit. Then at least I'll have an idea of what stage they are at.
Next update - weather permitting - will be a match! After a long winter, this is where the rubber meets the road.