I ramped up the self-sufficiency in this session, looking to encourage players to take control of their own development and also realise that I can't be everywhere so they need to work together to get better.
I started by asking someone in the group to run the warm up of 15 players for me. It was a bit of a surprise to him and he blanked on it, but we got something done and I'll keep pushing players to have a warm up ready in case I ask them. They all know how to do one, after all.
To settle them back down we did 10 minutes of skill work, working on throwing technique for power. We then set up three fielding areas where throwing was the focus. I took the lead from some recent advice from Sam Lavery in my delivery. I let the players work out the drill for themselves with only minor prompting. I also let them work out the groups and the rotation times.
The drills were,
- A simple catch and return working on throw accuracy.
- A pick up and overarm throw drill from three positions, working on strong and weak side throws.
- A diving drill where a player has to defend a goal from two throwers.
They sussed out the drills quickly enough, but the self-organisation is still lacking a little. It worked fine, but I feel the general idea is the coach leads and if he is not about then things drop into default busywork modes. My long term aim for this strategy is to see groups turn up and just start warming up and drilling unprompted from me. This is the first step.
We then added a controlled net. We used the indoor nets for throwdowns and a "live" net with three bowlers and a single batter. I again generally left people to work things out themselves and again it defaulted to having a hit and waiting for coach instruction. I can't fault the guys as this is what they are used to doing, but I will keep pushing the self-reliance mantra.
Not everyone wanted to go indoors, so I left batters to get throwdowns outside. I was pleased to see - despite the lack of the square to use - a group had an impromptu middle practice with bowling, batting and fielding. This is exactly what I was after.
This also gave me time to do throwdowns to a couple of batsmen and do some basic technical work (back foot play and power hitting) with them. I think that's my first chance in a group session to do this work. It was limited in time but it felt productive.
I'm still thinking about how to track performances in training better. We had PitchVision set up, which is a good start but I may need to develop a "testing day" where skills are monitored just for that day. There is not quite the take up for day to day tracking I had hoped for.
I also want to have a clearer end to the session. People drift off early while others stay late. I think I will have a set time to quickly summarise and remind people of the importance of reflection and plan in for the next session.
- The good: Balanced my time better, got some technical work.
- Needs work: Encoraging players to have a plan, performance tracking.