There was a strange energy about this session, but a new coach to help me kept things going.
As it was a wet day (although a dry evening) I decided to have some fun in the warm up and get people throwing themselves around. We did some warm up stuff that was slightly silly but also useful for diving skills. My idea was scuppered when several people flatly refused to do it. Reasons ranged from "I'm here to play cricket" to "I've got a bad back". Nonsensical in my mind, and also disrespectful to the coach. I wasn't happy.
After a short stand off where some people insanely stood still and watched others warm up, I gave in and tried something else. It was equally silly yet everyone did it and enjoyed it. I will have to think how to deal with this petulant nonsense. I'm all for people doing their own thing, but when they decide their own thing is nothing, something is not right. Perhaps I will reiterate that if people don't want to do my warm up, they could do something else. After all, "standing about" is seen as a major sin usually.
Fortunately, I had a new coach to help me this week. He is a senior player and talented cricketer. He took the pressure off me quite a bit by making sure a group got a good batting and bowling session in the indoor nets, then ran some high intensity fielding drills. I trust his skills and it allows me to do other things.
I would like some better planning done with him, but I sense he is not the planning type. This is probably a good thing as I tend to over-plan. However, we barely got the chance to speak at all and I would have at least liked him to understand my focus for the session. We may have to do that via WhatsApp in future as setting time aside to meet is not an option. Nevertheless, that is a minor point. The fact he is there to hit balls and advise on batting tactics is plenty awesome.
We split into two groups. One indoors to bat and bowl and one outdoors to field. I stuck to fielding while the other coach did some batting. I asked the guys to write down their outcome for the session. This is the lightest touch I can possibly ask for focus during a session. Here's what I got (I smudged the names):
As you can see only eight people did it from a group of twice that. I'm less concerned with some of the third team level guys doing it - although they still can and should - but was again disappointed by the approach of some senior first team players who didn't even bother to write down a word or two. Additionally, no one wrote down if they succeeded.
I appreciate habits are hard to change. Yet, this was so easy, the gains are so good and was even under the supervision of a coach. I must admit this - combined with the warm up - got me down a little. I am supposed to be there to help people, but how can I help them if they won't even do the absolute least they could do? I realise this is a bit of my ego talking so shouldn't let it get to me, but last night it certainly did. I'm compromising on my measuring outcomes mantra severely and I am getting about 40% success back. Work needed.
I will persevere and ask players to keep doing this until we get it right. It's not hard, shows people are listening to me and will help them improve. I'll draft in my new coach to help with this. And try to not let my pride feel hurt.
Meanwhile outside, we worked on requested skills of pick up and throw in the ring, stopping the firmly hit ball and high catching.
We had a set of stumps with the middle stump half height to aim at for the throws. I coached trying to hit the middle stump and drilled the guys from both the right and left hand side. I let them know that this drill is tough because there is a high failure rate, but if one person gets in right one in the season, it's worth the effort.
We had another minor "weird energy" moment during this drill where a player missed his throw and had to get the ball. Everyone else had run quickly to get out of the way but he decided to walk like it was a thousand mile journey. I tried to energise him to go quickly, which seemed to slow him down further. So we had to stop the whole drill while he sauntered past. I could have kept the drill going (it was safe) but I wanted to make the point this was meant to be high energy and he was the opposite.
Other odd moments: One player not taking part in the fielding section after having a bat. One player claiming he had an injured arm for throwing nicks to a team mate but was fine throwing at the stumps in a drill. One player complaining a drill should be more high energy when that wasn't the point of the drill. Like I said, an odd feeling. Maybe all these things had valid reasons, but from the coaches' viewpoint it looked like a few people were half-hearted.
Still we finished with some ground fielding and high catching work while three guys did some throwdowns on the outfield. That was all energetic, especially when run by the new coach. One upgrade I must remember to a fielding drill is to combine a volume section (lots of hands on the ball quickly) with a focus section of the same skill (less volume, more realistic). This should keep people moving but also get the realism in.
Overall, despite the lower energy and lack of focus, we had a session where people got things done. We have a great opportunity to keep this improving this season if we get out processes right. Today was not that day, but it gives me hope that even a low session can be productive.