Many parents that are interested in Cricket are often the parents that played it at school, and I have found that the parents that are more involved in their child’s cricket, are often the parents that played at a high level – first class cricket, or played for their province in their school years. And the irony is that you would normally suspect that those children are better off because they have a dad that knows a lot about cricket.
Funny enough I have seen the opposite, I have seen children play because it’s what dad wants, I have seen drops in performance because of the added pressure of “not letting dad down” and I have seen the coach and dad disagree with the athletes’ development and poor “Johnny” gets caught in between.
When cricket has come so naturally to someone they struggle to relate, their super technical terms become unrelatable to the athlete.
Leave your Jargon in the trunk
Now with regards to coaching preschoolers, coaches are generally the least effective because they are too technical and have no understanding of how the child’s mind works. This is one of the reasons I started this brand, CricketHERO seems so simple to so many and yet over years and years of hiring different coaches, I have come to realise that the better qualified they are, the longer it will take to get them good at what we do. Our coaching training has become a 3-week internship program, because the technical minded people struggle.
Parents are often as bad if not worse at this, they were coached by the old guard and have maintained that cricket is the same. When a parent tells me they are working on getting the elbow up, I cringe every time. That coaching technique was used in the 80’s and is the most ineffective method to date, tensing up the elbow affects the backswing as well as blocking your leading shoulder at release of delivery.
Those same people also focus on getting the block/ forward defence correct, which was great in the old days, it is a pity that T20 has been introduced for those folk, which has seen a far more aggressive display of cricket arise and not just in T20, but all formats of the game have a faster run rate because of it.
I’m not saying technique is irrelevant, I’m saying that the technique being taught in those days is redundant and the game has changed since then.
What can I do then?
When you are coaching your pre-schooler at home, remember that a simple term like hands together in the grip is far more beneficial than explaining the V’s lining up down the middle of the bat. Hold the bat in the middle of the bat handle and then showcasing what it looks like is all you need to do.
And if their grip is a little off, just physically tweak their hands until its correct – bearing in mind you may have to do it every time they pick up the bat which is fine, they will get it eventually.
Focus on 1 element at a time, 1 task, 1 piece of information. Ensure you present that information in a basic way that your child can understand.
All you want at this age is for them to stand sideways, and hit the ball hard… as they develop you can correct the step, explain the stance more, enhance the backswing angle and so forth. Keep it simple otherwise you will lose them, and they will lose interest.