Over the last month we have been running specialist fielding sessions for an hour a week at a local sports hall.
The basic idea was twofold: Hone throwing and catching before we get outdoors in April, and get brains out of the net mentality. The latter is not a hurtful thing, but it is a restriction we face at West with the tiny two lane indoor school.
We also have two guys working hard to get their coaching qualifications, so the sessions gave them scope to do some sessions outside of nets.
How did it go?
The sessions have been run by our budding coaches and, although would not have been the same as I did, still contained plenty of good coaching on getting world-class at the basics.
We have focused on simple things like throwing, ready position and catching. There was lots of activity and energy. Balls have been thrown, caught and picked up a lot.
For those who came, that is.
Numbers have been low. We booked a big space and have only got between four and 10 players turn up. I was hoping the core of the first and second eleven would be there alongside some keen youngsters and a couple of developing players to make a good size group. This has not happened despite my pestering of people individually to come.
It also put the brakes on people coming to nets, so had a negative effect on overall attendance.
It's clear to me the culture at the club is not ready for these kinds of session to be taken up en masse yet. I have some work to do on that front.
So the next step is to get feedback from the guys as to why they came, and why they didn't come. Not to judge, but to get an insight into what stopped us from succeeding.
Once I know this, I can plan ahead for next year and try to work out how to do fielding again with better attendance and better skill development.
One idea is we have our first three outdoor sessions dedicated to fielding. That's six hours of work (one more than we did indoors). I like this as it solves the attendance problem. Plus if people really truly want to bat and bowl they can use the indoor nets. (Great idea Lucas).
Another idea is that we have the hall sessions dedicated to juniors. It's easier to get commitment from young players and we can do more fun and useful stuff in a hall than we can in nets.
Whatever we do, the important part for me is not the failure, but the attempt and what I can learn from it.