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Challenge yourself

Posted in Disability Cricket

The England Deaf Squad's second training camp of the year took place earlier this month at Shrewsbury School with the players battered and bruised for the better.

Following on from the first training camp, I was keen to ensure my coaching philosophy of 'Success = environment + communication + discipline + enjoyment' remained the focus for the weekend. The challenge to all the players and staff was to ensure we took this to another level and the effort and commitment shown by everyone was fantastic to see.

The weekend started off by going through my coaching philosopy followed by the squad undertaking the same fielding drills as the first camp with each drill being scored. This again created some healthy competition and saw players improving on their scores from the first camp.

These scores provide the staff with some basic objective information on the squad's skill levels. We will look to bring in other drills at the next session.

My focus between the sessions was to go through each player's self reflections and the video footage taken of each player. Key things were drawn out from this exercise with players being presented at the start of the camp with feedback and footage and basic action plans for them to focus on.

The time we built into the first day for individuals to focus on this feedback was time well spent with each player being disciplined and committed to the session.

Day two saw the squad undergo some specific batting work on the bowling machines or bowling drills.

Drill one - defending and maintaining technique as the pace increases - maximum pace achieved recorded on the players review forms. Drill 2 - defending versus pace and taking a single. Drill three - moving down the wicket against spin.

The bowlers undertook three drills which were scored - hitting target areas, distraction drills and physical stress drills.

We concluded the day with a net session.

You may wish to know why I am mentioned the players being 'battered and bruised for the better' at the start of this blog.

To see the players take on the challenge of the drill versus pace on the bowling machine or the bowlers enjoying the physical stress drill tells a story.

Leading Sport Psychologists say that the four components of mental toughness are Fight, Inner Drive, Resilience and Critical Moment Toughness. It's fair to say that bowlers having to bowl under a physical stress or batsmen challenging themselves to increase the pace on the machine whilst maintaining technique, shows we have some good character within the squad. Why? Because they enjoyed it.

Along with players enjoying each session, the work-rate and commitment to each training weekend, during the training and away from it (discipline) is crucial if we are to achieve our goals. A challenging session in which players can learn and take responsibility for their own games is vital to the success of the camps and therefore the individuals and squad as a whole (environment).

It is for this reason that the players throughout the weekend were constantly asked to review their performance on paper, which will again form a key part of the feedback process.

So - a weekend where players had to challenge themselves.

One of the biggest challenges for me was the 20 minute drive out to the team hotel after the first day, down the unlit country roads in thick, thick fog. Avoiding the fields and ending up farming was a huge ask. Having to face a bowling machine in the mid-80s is nothing.

So we are two training weekends into our preperations and I am delighted with the progress so far.

Thanks for reading.

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