Monday, March 26, 2018

Sunday Cricket Lessons - You Can Either Be a Coach or a Father

We were discussing the young 12 year old boy P who comes with his father for practice. I was surprised to hear the father sit next to Baig sir and shout out instructions to the boy - it is not his place nor his job. I left early that day and when I went on Sunday I heard that the father took the young, polite and soft spoken kid to the backyard and slapped him for some cricketing transgression. I was shocked. Baig sir shook his head.

'You can either be a coach or a father,' said Baig sir. 'You must choose. They will hate you later for what you put them through. And if you are not qualified, its worse.'

Truer words have not been spoken. I have seen so many father - son duos go that way. You lose the spirit of the relationship once the father turns coach. Agassi's autobiography 'Open' clearly talks about how much he hated his father.

I hope that these parent coaches realise that it is not for them to coach. They need to step back. Facilitate and leave it at that.

How Challenge Arouses Interest
The younger kids were doing their own thing as usual - knocking and drilling. I thought I would spend some time with them and walked across to the three - Aarav, Sandeep and Anish. Let's take catches I said. They made a face and lined up. After taking a few catches I thought we'd devise a game. 'Ok, if you drop a catch you get a D,' I said. 'Whoever drops the first six will progress to a Donkey.'
The boys were ok with the idea and the engagement increased. But still not as good as I thought.

So this time I made them all into one team.
'I will hit 12 catches,' I said. 'If you catch 6, you win. But if you let the ball go through and it hits the net, I get a boundary. If I get 20 runs I win.'

Ok, said the kids.

I noticed they were too far apart but said nothing. I started to hit the ball in the gaps and picked up runs easily. As I started picking up runs, they automatically closed  the gaps and started playing like a team. I did not have to tell them anything. They lost the first game and wanted to play another.

This time they were diving all over, falling over one another and stopping the ball. They beat me one game. And then Aarav wanted to field in the middle. We discussed who should be fielding where and why. The concept of a left hander at point and a right hander at square leg was explained. Aarav agreed to the logic - Sandeep was the best fielder and he was better off in the middle where most catches were aimed. But just to see what happens we made Aarav stand in the middle and I won easily.

The kids would not let go. Now they dd not want to play bat and ball. They wanted catches all day. The way they were diving I worried that they would get hurt.

In the break we discussed team work, how the team was most important and how only team players get selected. We discussed how to support one another and perform better as a team.

Good session.

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