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2 Responses so far.

  1. TheTeesra says:

    The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) Coaches Association is actively encouraging cricket coaches to adopt games-based learning, both for junior and senior players. And the importance of making sessions “fun” is (very correctly) emphasised even in entry level coaching courses.

    Of course, that still leaves the challenge of devising games that offer relevant and appropriate learning opportunities and are also enjoyable for the participants…but the “challenge” adds to the fun for the coach, in my experience.

  2. Dean Holden says:

    It’s nice to see a Coaching Association encouraging game-based learning for all ages; after all, ‘fun’ is one of the most consistent reasons provided by participants when asked why they started and why do they still continue to play.

    Play helps improve intake and retention rates while participants develop skills, gain more understanding about the game and the inter-relationship between skills and performance via experiential learning. Not to mention improved fitness, health and overall well-being, which in these fast-food, digital days of youth obesity, is a critical consideration!

    How does today’s coach (or player or parent) objectively know if the participant is getting better? (Aside from the fact the players are skating, batting, decision-making etc. during practice and games; therefore there should be some evidence of incidental improvement just from ‘showing up’.) Are the practices being run effectively and efficiently? How does a coach maximize their time, space, resources, link their practice lessons to game performances, inspire participants, etc? Can they become better?

    Based on the sport, the coaches must learn ‘how’ to make their practices purposeful and ‘fun’ – sadly, ice hockey and soccer (the two sports I have the most experience with) has yet to do this. My limited experience in lacrosse, basketball, rugby and American football lead me to believe they are in the same place… which means little to no use of games in practice. The predominant coaching culture is predicated on the past cycle of drills, drills, drills… with little or no objective measures (scores) or accountability (reward / punishment). I am working on a book that does just that – providing lots of Invasion Games that allow for purposeful ‘Coaching By Objective’ – these can be adapted to any Invasion Sport; on dryland or within the sport-specific milieu.

    One can also set up competitive challenges between participants (relay races, activities, realistic games, etc.) or within individuals (in the form of measurable Personal Bests or PB’s.) “The Little Book of Talent” by Daniel Coyle (2012) is a great starting point for coaches and / or associations who want to become better coaches / teachers.

    I wish the governing bodies / coach accreditation groups would make this a priority for their teaching of the next generation of coaches – involve meaningful (fun) games and activities to help allow the coaches to make the transition from a drill-based background. This is my daily goal within my local realm of influence. I hope to take this cause to a larger audience, given future opportunities.

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