“Effective training needs focus”
Average practice maintains average cricketers.
By "average" I mean the default net session: Every one gets 10 minutes to bat against a variety of bowlers. There are a few fielding drills.
It becomes the default because it's easy for a group to understand and follow. That's why it perseveres as the most popular way to train. There is nothing bad about this kind of practice. It certainly won't make you worse and is better than nothing. It is the default for a reason!
That said, default practice is more about what's comfortable than what is effective. We know the default is not helpful for developing skill and form. There are many more useful ways to train if you want to do more than maintain.
Most players sort of know this so try to defeat the default by sheer volume.
They face as many balls in the nets as they can. They bowl their arm off. They want the ball hit at them hard in fielding drills.
The trouble is, volume doesn't overcome the tyranny of the default.
"How much" isn't the problem.
When we are talking about improving some cricket skills (the point of training), effective training has to have a focus beyond intensity. This focus changes between sessions and players but it needs to be there otherwise we are just wheel spinning.
A focus might be playing in a realistic middle practice, improving timing with the bat, bowling accuracy, fielding under fatigue, decision making, or one of a dozen other things.
Default nets very rarely tick these boxes, yet we often find ourselves using them as the easy option.
(In fact, it is possible to have a default net and a focus but - as I tell the Western Warriors players I coach - it's much more difficult than most people realise and it doesn't happen automatically as many assume.)
What do you need to do to avoid this pitfall at training?
Be vigilant agains the tyranny of the default:
- Be aware of what you are focused on, and hold yourself accountable to do it the whole session.
- Be aware of others slipping back to the default and hold them accountable.
- If you do find everyone in the default, stop and ask, "is there something better we could be doing?" Then do it!
- Have fun making up drills and games to focus on your goal, and enjoy when the coaches makes them up for everyone. It's all for a reason!
If we can work together to defeat the default we will show we are better than average.
Updated 15:17 - 4 Mar 2018 by David Hinchliffe