Cricket For Beginners

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Pybus. For more informative and high quality coaching articles please visit www.MyCricketGame.Com


In Cricket for Beginners we will look at how we learn and how this can help beginners to play better and have more fun. 
Children don't need a formal environment to play cricket. Give them a bat and ball and they will play anywhere, in fact they will make their own bat, ball and game given half a chance.
So we want to tap into this desire to play cricket, in coaching we offer structure to this learning process, that is one of the key goals of coaching.
Children know what to do, they learn through copying their heroes on TV or watching adults play. Our goal is to accelerate this learning process.


In Beginners Cricket we give direction on what to pay attention to and offer stimulating and challenging drills to grow new, more advanced skills.
Beginners Brain
As we see in the sections in MyCricketGame.Com on the mental game and cricket coaching, we are working with the brain, yours and the young cricketers you are coaching.
For the cricket beginner to learn faster, to play better cricket and to have more fun it helps if we know what we are working with, so lets have a quick look at the beginners brain.


The brain is a goal setting mechanism, it is designed to set and fulfill goals, helping our cricketers to understand this, makes learning go quickly and for them to play better.
We are our brains, so whilst you are reading this, it is your brain that is reading, when you laugh at a joke, it is your brain that is laughing, when you cry at something sad, yes, you got it, its our brains that are crying.
Brains love simplicity, it helps with learning, it allows the brain to pay attention to one thing at a time which makes the learning go faster.
In working with the cricket beginner it is important to look and listen for the cricketer's potential and to have positive expectations of the players ability to learn.
There is lots of research around this, but positive expectation sets up the learner's parameters of achievement.
If as coaches or parents we believe the beginning cricketer is of average ability or below, then they they will work to meet our expectation, conversely when we look and listen for limitless potential then we open up that possibility for our young cricketers.

Connection Machines
Not only are brains goal setting mechanisms, they are also connection machines, they learn best when they are doing it without too much interference.
Brains connect everything that comes in through the five senses, what you see, how you feel and all the associated bits of info like smells, tastes, sounds.
The beginner's cricket brain wants to learn and they love to be stimulated and challenged.
Brains need direction, the mind gives this, so we need to program them for positive outcomes.
The mind chooses a positive goal and then focus's the brain on achieving it.


Repetition is the Mother of Learning
For cricket beginners to learn they need lots of repetition, not only of their technical skills in hitting, bowling, catching, throwing, but also in paying attention.
So we repeat cricket drills and skills over and over and we gently and patiently raise the level of the challenge. We continue with this and repeat again until the skills and drills are overlearnt, to the point where the player no longer has to consciously think about them.
Helping cricket beginners to be patient is an important life lesson as they start to build their skills base,
Emotional Control is another important lesson as they work on their skills, paying attention with a calm mind assists in the process of wiring in good decision making.


Cricket For Beginners: Part One
As we continue to learn about cricket for beginners, we need to understand the difference between the cricketers mind and the cricketers brain.
The brain is an organ, the mind is a function of the brain.
Another example to help you understand, the heart is an organ, the function of the heart is to pump blood.
We use the mind to choose goals and then we let the brain work out how to achieve the goal.
For the beginning cricketer, learning to use the mind to choose goals and to focus on them is essential and very powerful.
We ask the beginning cricketer to choose a goal in a skill drill:
To practice the off drive, to do this they hit the ball off a tee through two targets. The goal is the target, the intention is to hit the ball through them.
Focus on Simplicity
The mind is simple, what ever you think about and focus on, the brain and body follow, so we need to pay attention to what we want, not what we don't want.


Throw at the stumps, focus on the stumps.
Hit the ball, focus on the ball.
Catch the ball, focus on the ball.


Focus on what you want, not on what you dont !
So it is essential that players learn to pay attention, to direct their focus on the right thing at the right time.
As batters we focus on the ball and hitting it, not on not getting out.
The brain follows this literally and even if the batter doesn't get out, it makes it very difficult to score runs.
In doing this we are beginning to shape the cricket players mental game.
Kids will play and the more fun they can have whilst they are doing it the better.
This allows them to make positive connections and to create wiring in the brain that is all associated with the joy of cricket and learning to play it
The goal is to get them to have fun and to learn as effortlessly as possible.

 

Cricket for Beginners: Part Two
Following on from Part One in Cricket for Beginners, one of the key concepts is to focus the cricketers brain, their attention on a new goal, with positive intention.
To train the beginner's focus of attention on what they want to make happen when they play cricket.
Learning to pay attention to the positive opportunity that each ball bowled, brings.
In doing this, it is establishing goal orientation for each ball.
Intention and Goals
The intention is the thought behind a movement, this needs to be positive. The thought shapes the goal, so when working with young players we want to establish wiring that is setting up positive outcomes.
I am going to hit this short ball for four
I am going to bowl a yorker to hit the stumps
I am going to defend this ball
So it is essential that players learn to pay attention, to direct their focus on the right thing at the right time.
As batters we focus on the ball and hitting it, not on, not getting out.
The brain follows this literally and even if the batter doesn't get out, it makes it very difficult to score runs.
In getting the beginning cricketer to pay attention and to set goals with positive intent we are beginning to shape the players mental game with excellent wiring.
Kids will play and the more fun they can have whilst they are doing it the better, this allows them to make positive connections and to create wiring in the brain that is all associated with the joy of the game and learning to play it.
The goal is to get the beginner and all players to have fun and to learn as effortlessly as possible.
Examples of Positive Intention and Attention
Ex. The batter hits the ball and there is an opportunity for a run out.
Goal for Fielder: Gather ball, throw at the stumps, focus on the stumps.
Ex. The batter is waiting to face the next ball, the bowler is running in to bowl the ball.
Goal for Batter: Watch ball, judge line and length of the ball, decide what stroke to play, hit the ball.
Ex. The batter hits the ball in the air, there is a chance of a catch.
Goal for Fielder: Focus on the ball, catch the ball.
Ex. There is a new batter in, bowl straight to hit the stumps before they have got their eye in.
Goal for Bowler: Look at the stumps, bowl at the stumps, hit the stumps.


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What is Success and Failure for the beginning cricketer ?
Success and Failure are two sides of the same coin.
To learn, the brain chooses a goal, to achieve that goal we are either on track or off track, neither is good or bad, it is how the brain learns, so learning is trial and error.
When we learn to walk we stand up, fall over, stand up, fall over, as this continues we learn to balance and take our first steps.
And we continue to fall over, but the gaps between the falls get longer as we become more proficient in balancing and walking.
No parent in their right mind criticizes their baby for falling over when learning to walk, we need to remember this because 'trial and error' is the foundation of all learning.
They don't say 'you are failure' ..... 'you are no good' , because the child stumbled, we intuitively know that that this is part of the learning process.
It is no different in learning cricket.
Yet when the child gets older there is the tendency to start framing what they do as being successful or failing.
There is only learning, so long as we remember this and pay attention to positively re-inforcing the learning, we will be on the right track.
We are generous with our encouragement whilst the cricket player is building new skills, mental, physical and technical.This creates good wiring and keeps the beginner in a good part of the brain for learning.

 

 

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