If you ask any unbiased, knowledgeable cricket lover how fast the game is at the moment they will tell you, its faster now then its ever been before. Its no secret that the game is evolving rapidly and keeping everyone from top-level administrators all the way through to grass roots cricketers on their toes.
The basics of the game are said to becoming a lost art, not only here in Australia, but all over the world where the T20’s “sex appeal” toward young cricketers to have a bat, a bowl and a field, and to still be home in time to catch a movie, swim in the pool, eat dinner and play on the computer before heading off to bed or for a night out.
This young generation is pushing cricket to its limits, and indeed coaches to a breakdown! Coaches now have the added stress of trying to create new ways of stimulating their players whilst coaching the basics of the game.
With this in mind, challenging your cricketers around batting in the shortest form can be quite easy and explained with one of the worlds very simple analogies, the traffic light system.
Green = Go (Tempo 3), Amber = Caution (Tempo 2), Red = Stop (Tempo 1).
Self-explanatory? NOT ALWAYS!
GREEN = GO
Often the most difficult yet most expressive way of playing the game. Some refer to “see ball hit ball” (ie. David Warner). Others have a zone they are looking for (ie. Brad Haddin). And others still make something out of nothing (ie. Glen Maxwell).
When the player has a green light, they’re looking to score the maximum amount off every ball.
AMBER = CAUTION
Amber is being busy, looking for the boundary ball without being reckless (ie. Mike Hussey). Players will need to identify their strengths, get off-strike options, soft hands, positive feet, and strong balance.
RED = STOP
Get yourself up the other end with minimal risk, soft hands, often drop and run, dig out those Malinga type Yorkers. Reassess the situation at the end of the over. It is important that players are ALWAYS looking to score.
Red lights should only ever be for one over, MAXIMUM!
IMPORTANT ELEMENTS WHEN TRAINING:
BALANCE – Balance is by far the most important skill to develop and redevelop with cricketers, without it they won’t be able to do anything consistently (the aim of the game)!
TEMPO – Tempo and timing are the secondary elements behind balance to hitting to or over the boundary. Trying to hit the ball too hard results in poor striking, missing the ball and more often then not, being bowled or caught.
TRAINING TEMPO BATTING
Roll through the Tempo’s using the traffic light system initially, Green – GO, Amber – Rotate the strike, hit the ball in your zones, Red – Rotate the strike with minimal risk. Develop specific scoring zones and go to areas with your players for the different types of bowlers in different conditions. Plans are great, however they need to be constantly reviewed and often in real time.
Move the players into game scenarios, give them scores and projections. Let them dictate the terms of the tempos, a very important part of their development!
Review, Review, Review!
Keep developing your players by challenging their thoughts and their mindsets on both good and bad days. A cricketer that has the ability to learn and think for themselves is far more valuable to your team and organisation than a cricketer who can only follow orders.