CRICKET COACHING TIPS

Top cricket teams have specialist coaches proficient in batting, bowling or fielding. But at the other end of the scale, a beginning coach will teach all aspects of the game as well as supervise training sessions.

Coaching kids’ cricket is a rewarding experience. For beginners, start with a mix of one on one and group coaching. Focus the energy kids naturally bring to practice and also be patient and flexible. Everyone wants to play, so each session should give all turns at batting, bowling and fielding. But kids must learn correct technique before they can develop. Keep instruction sessions short and follow them up with practice in pairs or small groups.

The best coaches are those who spend time with every player as their team will have mixed ability. Every player deserves good preparation and interesting drills to keep their session involved. For example, for a group of about 12 players, an hour long session should give 10 minutes batting each, in two nets with five bowling.

Batting: With beginners don’t spend too long for example on how to grip the bat, stance and back lift. Kids will be eager to just hit the ball. Start by teaching defensive strokes without a ball, ensuring correct technique. Demonstrate, let them replicate and demonstrate again. Place a ball at their feet and practice swinging through it, hitting smoothly but not hard. Hold the follow through for five seconds. As players progress, correct their back lift and footwork as required in the nets.

Bowling: Begin with basic one stride delivery, side on to the batsman. Teach bringing the arm over high and stiff, above the head. Never allow bowlers to throw the ball, which is illegal. Practice in pairs, bowling gently from stump to stump. Once this is mastered add a few run up steps.

Catching: Begin simply tossing the ball, as players learn to catch with soft hands. Experienced players will enjoy catching the off the bat. Form a semi-circle with a designated top and bottom. Hit the ball as hard as skills allow. Players will prize the top spot, because dropped catches mean starting at the bottom. Later, spread the circle for outfield catching practice and have them practice throwing back over a stump.

Fielding: Bat ground balls to each player. Let them practice getting the body behind the ball, preferably down on one knee and the throwing the ball in over the stump as quickly as possible. Have them gather a rolling ball and throw in, in one motion. Practice sidearm and overarm throwing styles.

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