This week things were typically spring-like. It was cold (as low as 5 degrees) and murky. The rain stayed away mostly.
We focused again on the basics. We did some fielding based around ground work, hitting the stumps and low catching. It was cold and dank so we did what we could there to stay focused. I'm still pushing the idea of moving beyond volume and into quality.
My master plan for nets was "first 20 balls".
In nets batsman get four overs to bat and must play in a match scenario of their choosing. Bowlers bowl in pairs, two overs each to each batsman. The other bowler acts as umpire and run-decider.
It broadly worked because it had a combative element.
We split into two groups of comparable standards. I put the scores on the board as an quick external motivation, but it wasn't needed as the guys looked to take each other on with the added frisson of wickets and runs counting for something.
It was fun, engaging and useful. All positive.
That said, there were a couple of minor less positive moments.
One player decided to slightly undermine the activity by doing his own thing. He is the type to not train with much focus.
Another player turned up over 20 minutes late and said he just wanted to bat. When I told him he would need to wait until later, and he would be better off doing some fielding while he waited, he went home. This is a senior player who I would hope would be a leader in setting the standards. Instead he claimed (afterwards) that no one had told him what to do. Even if this was right (it wasn't) there were four coaches to ask. That was a plain fixed mindset excuse.
I need to get better at reminding people to stay in a growth mindset.
To help me get the message across, I have decided to use the phrase "game head on" to denote when someone is not leading, being self-sufficient or taking training as seriously as they take a match. For me, this focus is essential to growth. I'll see how it goes.
Also, there is still precious little reflection after the net. People tend to do their thing and walk away. I'd like to see more discussion between players, and guys approaching me. This is tough in group nets but not impossible. I'm reluctant to formalise it too much but may experiment with asking guys to write down goals from time to time as a reminder.
These things aside, the general approach is more focused and based around specific goals and needs. Standards match up and players compete with each other with intensity. It's as good as it has ever been.
The next challenge is switching to grass pitches, which (sadly) is happening as close to the season as always. We won't have much time before the season to get into full run ups and balls not coming on to the bat. Fortunately, the guys are experienced and we have a lot of early season games lined up so should be able to deal with this quickly.