We have had two rounds of training as I write this and things are off to a totally different start to last year. It's still too cold for cricket, even indoors, but we started earlier and with a different focus.
As I probably mentioned, we are setting out indoor training differently:
- An hour a week for 6-12 year olds.
- An hour a week for 13-15 year olds.
- Three hour long small group (3-6) session of seniors.
- A two hour session for 16 plus juniors and Development players.
And I am running one to one sessions by request.
With each session I have come up with a theme to give some focus. It seems to be working well with people taking up the cause.
Turnout has been reasonable. Numbers are still somewhat lower than ideal, with notable people missing. However, I have seen about a dozen juniors and roughly 20 seniors at various sessions. I am also doing six regular one to one sessions a week (up by three from last year). Two new players have joined. This is predictable for the time of year (sessions have started several weeks earlier than last year). I will continue to press people to come along, but also be aware that the nets can only reasonably hold about 10 people. And that's crowded!
The juniors have had one session and the theme ("Do Your Best to be Your Best") worked very well for the older kids. There was the usual shenanigans of course, but it was far more focused than usual. The younger ones are just happy to have a bat in hand and I want to encourage that "play" element as much as possible.
The small groups have been super-focused. The first week was my push for a shift in mindset, the second was a specific focus on strike rotation. In both cases I did not play any score keeping games and kept the focus on approaching nets with a "plan-act-reflect" process rather than having a hit.
I have not given up on keeping scores, and I think people are more open to monitoring as well. It's just my focus is on building a growth mindset and sometimes a challenge or scorekeeping can encourage a fixed mindset. So, I will bring these things in carefully at a later stage. Of course, we are still tracking bowling with PitchVision.
This has been a big shift for me from last year but I sense it has gone well. People are more focused on the mindset when they don't worry about games. That said, they have bought into using PitchVision so well that some are asking me how to run the software (last year only one person was interested in that, this year it's been four already).
We have also had the addition of two new coaches.
Both are currently players and both are keen to make an impact as coaches on the senior teams. One has become Development captain and so has fallen into a role of running the Development nets. He still has plenty to learn (as we all do), but he enthusiasm is well directed and I have already felt confident in letting him run sessions. This will grown his confidence and takes pressure off me in that I don't have to do it all!
As sessions get busier and more intense it will be a challenge to keep players engaged and in the right mindset. It's hard to measure this, but I will monitor it by conversations with players, and watching reactions (to thing like errors, focus, choice of goals, skipping training, and dodging hard work).