All coaches have their “go-to” drills – basically, an activity they continually come back to. One that consistently gets results or a guaranteed buzz from the group!
However, familiarity can breed contempt. And a good drill can become dry if over-relied on. This problem strikes at the heart of a key challenge for all coaches. How can you convince children (or adults) to perform drills that are good for them, without losing their interest.
One useful tactic is creating variations on your games….or “games withing a game”. By simply changing the emphasis a bit, adding a competitive element, or using incentives, you can sometimes trick players into doing what’s good for them.
“Games Within a Game” no.1: The Triangle Drill
The triangle drill is a cricket coaching staple! Most cricketers have done it at some point in their lives.
It is such a useful drill because it ticks two key boxes for coaches – a) keeping a whole group involved, and b) covering multiple fielding skills in one go. But nevertheless, it can get dry after a while.
Just in case you’ve never seen the triangle drill before, this is how it goes! The aim is to improve a fielding team’s throwing accuracy and backing up.
Divide the groups up into 2 or 3 teams (4-6 players in each).
In mini-triangles, your team’s aim is to get all your player’s back to their start point
Instead of “following their throw”, players stay at their station (simply going to the back of their own queue) until one of the team hits a stump.
When this happens, EVERY PLAYER moves to the next station – in a clockwise direction.
How to win
The winning team is the one to:
a) complete a designated number of hits – about 10 is a good number
b) to get their group back to their start point – ie/ 1 “team lap”
c) complete a designated number of laps
Set up a regulation triangle drill….but with one slight change! In front of the keeper’s stumps, make a semi circle (radius about 3-4m) out of cones.
We call this semi-circle the “No Go Zone”. All throwers must prevent the ball from bouncing inside the semi-circle.
This rule is in place to force fielders to TAKE CARE when they throw – avoiding “half-volley” throws to the keeper at all costs.
SCORING: Points are awarded/deducted for the following:
Stump hit = 5 points
Completed lap (no large errors) = 3 points
Ball lands in semi-circle (No go Zone) = minus 3 points
Ball goes under hands/through legs = minus 3 points
Ball goes over boundary/hits perimeter wall or fence = minus 3 points
Impressive stop (eg/ when ball deflects off stumps) = 3 points
Hesitation (eg/ everyone stops when stump is hit) = minus 3 points
Berating a teammate = minus 5 points
RACE TO A SET NUMBER OF POINTS (EG/ 35). Measure them by time or by “laps” (number of times the ball has completed a circuit of the drill)
Instead of lumping every player into a single group, create two rival teams.
This often works well as a “toss decider” for a match. The winning team’s captain will get to decide whether they bat or bowl first.
a) Give each team 3 minutes – to score as many stump hits/laps/points as possible
b) Give each team a points target – for example time how many minutes and seconds to get to 35 points?
- DISTRACTION – eg/ players are allowed to put off the other team during the last minute
Have you ever noticed that players always perform the triangle drill in a clockwise direction? Why not flip it round?
We don’t always turn left to throw, do we? Nor do we always run to out right to back up?
At any point of the drill, the coach shouts “REVERSE!”. When this happens, the ball will travel anti-clockwise instead of clockwise.
For this to happen, the backing up group must switch to a new cone. A new cycle can resume from whichever station had the ball when “reverse” was called!
The coach can shout “REVERSE”, whenever they like, and however many times they like!!
Find out more…