Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Crickett Coach?

The World Cup of cricket just finished with Australia taking another World Cup. They dominated pretty well every team they played. In general, Australia has taken an interesting approach to sporting excellence putting in significant funds to generate a strong sporting nation, but that's not what this blog is about...though I find their models for sporting fascinating.

I read an article a while ago about what a Cricket coach is [1]. The main point of the article is describing a coaches broadening role in Cricket team management. Other than the television interviewing aspect of a cricket coach, the Ultimate coach or captain has to take many of these described roles.

Pictured Above: Evan Phillips marked by Andrew Smolak (photo courtesy of Jaleel).

The most important point in the article is, "Typically a coach should be able to solve a player’s problems or, ideally, help a player solve them himself."

The strange thing is I learned this concept about 12 years ago at a basketball coaching clinic, and I forgot this simple lesson for most of the time I've been a coach. Sure, I've indirectly dealt with solving player's problems, but the key indicator that I was not satisfying all their needs was based on one question.

Players always come up to me and ask, "what should I be doing better to improve my game?" This is a complex question that is hard to answer. I was getting annoyed with this question, but no more. Relearning these coaching points has reminded me of what a coaches most important role is.

A simple goal for captains and coaches out there is to help the players on your team achieve their personal goals. You will be surprised how many of your team problems are solved just by striving for this one simple goal.



Taylor said...

very good point peter. Now, "what should I be doing better to improve my game?"

honeyhands said...

In addition to the open-ended question 'what should I be doing?', it might be a good idea for players to keep track of the situations that breed uncertainty on the field. By bringing these situations to a coach's attention, you can make sure you are making choices that fit into the team game plan.

Examples of situations where it seems like there would be a good move or decision but it's unclear what it is, like where to cut as a weakside handler or how to deal with a lot of poaching against a stack, where having the team working together can make a huge difference.

In terms of individual skills, I don't know if players need to be told when they're making errors- they should be able to figure that part out- I find I remember more of my errors at the end of a scrimmage that most other people do (and doubtlessly I remember fewer of theirs than they do). Where coaching really helps might be in where people can expand there game, be it in terms of the types of throws they look for, the types of cuts they make, or the level of intensity and/or calm they they bring to offense and defence. It's often easier to see what you do wrong than it is to see what else you could be doing right/better.