Here’s a kids cricket game for eight or more players I came up with recently, inspired by a football game. Here’s how it works:
Set up two games (game one and game two). Outdoors or in a decent size hall works.
Any format of soft ball cricket works fine, although I would encourage “rotational” batting to ensure no one is waiting for a hit for too long. As you will see the other details of the game are not crucial.
The aim of the drill is to be the team without opponents.
Fielding teams have the following ways of achieving the aim,
Game one: If you take a catch, execute a direct hit run out or bowl someone out in game one you join the fielding team in game two.
Game two: If you take a catch, execute a direct hit run out or bowl someone in game two you send the batsman to the game one batting team.
Batting teams have the following ways of achieving the aim,
Game one: Hit a straight hit (on ground or bouncing) in game one and join the batting team in game two.
Game two: Hit a straight hit (on ground or bouncing) in game two and send a fielder to game one fielding team.
As soon as you run out of opponents, you win.
If are fielding and you get all your team into game two, you win. If you send all the batsmen to game one, you win.
If you are batting and you get all your batsmen to game two, you win. If you send all the fielders to game two, you win.
Players can swap fielding and batting roles once you have a winner, or after a set time.
Why this format?
I enjoy this format because it allows kids to play freely but still work towards a goal, like you would normally drill. For me this is a sweet spot of fun and development.
This game rewards core cricket skills performed in a match environment. When the game is being played it looks a heck of a lot like a proper game of cricket, yet it is also affords the chance to play straight, bowl straight and field well as you would attempt to do in a traditional drill.
Of course, it’s not perfect. The clever kids start to work out it’s pointless to run. There is a lot of noise within the signal (no technique work, plenty of wides bowled, arguments about run outs). It does take some getting used to, so there is plenty of initial confusion. It’s certainly not as controlled and neat as a drill. It is chaos by design!
Once they get the hang of it, they self organise and the game runs itself. It’s very useful if you have a large group and only one coach.
I have run this drill with ages between 9-12 and it has run well with kids enjoying it. Time will tell if it develops skills, but I like to think it has a good shot!
It does require kids understand the basics of how to play a game of cricket, so I would not use it with total newbies, but if kids have played a game or two previously they will get this format quickly.
Could you apply it to hard ball and older players too? I have not tried it but it is perhaps worth the experiment. If nothing else, it spices up a session that too often defaults to “drills and nets”, which I find less helpful in most cases.
Give it a try!