This week saw us fully emerge from indoors to start some outdoor practice. Weather permitting, we have a good long run before the season starts.
The session mainly focused on fielding skills as we have not had the space in the nets to do much. I set up stations for:
- Warm up
- High and flat catching
We also tried a new drill on the outfield for tip and run. We used soft balls and a target area and got guys trying to run each other out.
We finished with indoor nets for those that wanted it.
This year my focus for training is:
- Track bowling, catching and run out drill stats to show improvements.
- Develop a culture of coming to nets with a specific, measurable goal.
This week we only focused on tracking catches vs. drops. The guys wrote down on a whiteboard this information and I have transferred it to a spreadsheet to pin up a leaderboard in the changing room.
I plan to bring in other measurements and goal setting in the next few sessions, and keep on the case with guys to have an intention at every net. Simplicity of message is a key thing I learned from last year.
To better manage players win different goals, I am staggering start times by half an hour and rotating players through the drills as they arrive.
Last night this didn't quite work as intended. Some players arrived early and just joined in. Others cancelled last minute (meaning we had a big group and a very small group). As we were mainly fielding, this was not an issue. When we have actual outdoor nets, these issues can be tweaked away as long as I stay flexible. The key will be to ensure later arrivals don't just join the current group and start at the right place.
So, still some work to do to develop those self-sufficient cricketers, but we have started the process and are miles ahead of this time last year.