This session was about regaining control while also continuing to develop player's self sufficiency. The way I did it was bring back the group warm up session with a couple of quick fielding drills, then move onto a focused net, with some freedoms built in.
The warm up was a quick underarm technical drill followed by a drill called 360 degree fielding. Click here to see it. I noticed from the video of Saturday that our ring fielding was busy, but not always clean. This is a minor criticism, but standards are so high I can be as granular as that.
The fielding was a slight experiment. This group tend to get fed up very quickly unless they are doing a lot of activity in a drill. This is less high volume drill and more standing waiting for the ball. People got fed up after about five minutes, so we wrapped it up quickly. I will keep it in reserve as its a much more realistic ring fielding drill than others, but perhaps keep it to six players rather than the 15 it turned into as people arrived. I could also insist latecomers don't participate and do their own warm up, although that smacks of punishment. However, it was a solid warm up.
We then broke into two groups of eight with the idea that each group had a "captain" who would be in charge of making sure everyone got a go. I chose the first and second eleven skippers to demonstrate authority this first time. This was a response to the previous session where no one ran the session well in the nets. I now had two people in charge of their groups.
We were also lucky enough to have a former West of Scotland and Scottish International come along to help out. He is retired from the game but was happy to help give some advice on batting and wicketkeeping to the guys. That's invaluable knowledge that I hope they tap into regularly. I never played a high level so he is the perfect foil to my role.
The first group, who were all first team players, went into the roll on net on the outdoor wicket. I wanted players to have freedom to do what they want, but I also wanted to stop the "have a net" mentality of last week creeping in. My compromise was to as players to write down their intention on a whiteboard. I said I didn't care what it was, but it had to be something. My thinking is that this focuses the mind a little more than going in with no plan.
To me, this is not enough. I prefer to track results and improve measurable outcomes over time. The players have not responded well to this at all, so I am learning to adapt. I will continue to sneak in measured sessions, but for now the "intention net" combined with me asking the players to review after the session will keep the dream alive.
The second group worked on some fielding. I wanted the focus on both slip catching and infielding and they set about coming up with their own high-energy drills. In this area, the players are brilliant. They make up drills, and will keep wheeling away with the occasional switch to something else when they get fed up. The challenge for me is to build in some technical work too, but the activity is spot on.
The groups swapped after about an hour and the work continued. Only one person missed a "live" net, and got some throw downs at the end. Otherwise, everyone I asked got what they wanted. This was great progress.
- The good: Efficient, well-run session with the focus on getting relevant work done and keeping enough freedom for the players to work on their individual goals.
- Needs work: More technical stuff, keep the 360 drill more tightly focused, build in some accepted measurables.