Using Analogies in Kids Sports
I had a question from a parent a few days ago, who is to coach his sons cricket team this summer. I thought I’d share it with you;
“Hi Steve, I just wanted to ask you how much technical information is too much to give to the players in one hit?”
It`s an excellent question from an inexperienced coach, who like many coaches want to make sure that their kids are learning something every session without too much information being over kill for the players.
Honestly for kids, less is best. If every session your players can walk away from practice having learned just one thing about the game then that should be enough to satisfy you. My belief is that sessions are firstly safe, then fun and if the players can learn just one thing you’re going well as a coach.
Now that said we all want to get our players to understand a shot type, a bowling action or a fielding skill completely. It’s extremely common for a coach to have a pre session goal for his players to understand the whole skill rather than just one aspect of it.
Yes I’d probably agree that perhaps that goal is a little unrealistic, however much depends on the delivery of the skill to the group, as to how highly you could expect to reach your goal.
Since becoming a serious coach back in 1992 I’ve loved to use analogies. Those of you who have worked with me in the past know that I love to use clock face cricket. I imagine that the pitch is in the middle of a clock face with 12 o’clock always in front of either the batsman or the bowler depending on who I am talking to.
The use of analogy cuts away much of the technical stuff that the coach often tries to deliver to a young player and allows them to imagine what a certain range of or type of movement looks like. Studies have shown that children as young as 7 yrs old learn much faster this way.
Check out a few of the advantages for the coach when using analogies when coaching the players;
- Avoid having to use big or complicated words that will often confuse the child meaning much of your delivery will be lost whilst the child tries to figure out what that word meant in the sentence
- Your message is nearly always understood
- An inexperienced coach`s technical knowledge of a particular skill doesn’t have to be too in depth
- Delivery can often be kept short meaning the players don’t have to listen for long periods of time. Remember kids want to do not hear
- Players will remember an analogy better than they will a technical analysis
So back to my clock face… If my batsman is facing the bowler from 12 o`clock with the wicket keeper at 6 o`clock, it’s much easier to ask my batsman to hit certain deliveries towards clock face numbers rather than fielding positions (again as the inexperienced junior coach – as many junior coaches are, do you know all of the fielding positions? But you know clock face numbers right!!)
So for instance I’m asking my right handed batsman to hit a certain delivery towards 2 o`clock rather than extra cover and so on.
Have a think about how you can integrate the use of analogies into your coaching, I’m sure you`ll find them fun to use and you will definitely enjoy coaching skills you don’t really technically know but can coach through use of an analogy.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask!!
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