I like this quote from Rainer Martens, one of the great coach educators.
When young people are left to themselves to learn sport skills-without coaches, peer pressure or spectators-they have an ingenious way of avoiding failure. Each time they do not obtain their goals, they simply lower them slightly, learn from their mistakes and try again. A few practices and adjustments like these are success is virtually guaranteed…children tend to keep their goals near the upper limits of their current ability (Martens, 2004, p.129).
What are the implications of these thoughts for coaching cricket?
The importance of providing learners with opportunities to demonstrate success is vital in developing intrinsically motivated players. As such, we should design learning tasks that are matched to the ability level of the individuals in the group. A good example, would be developing catching. Ask the players to get a partner who they they think is about the same standard as they are. Get the players to face each other about 2m apart. Then ask them to try and make 10 catches (you can give them a choice of tennis balls, incrediballs or cricket balls). If they get 8 out of 10 or more, then they each take 2 steps back and repeat the exercise. If they succeed at the new distance, they take a further 2 steps back, if they score 5-7/10 they stay where they are, but if they score 4 or less then they take two steps closer together. The level of difficulty for each pair is therefore always matched to the current ability level of the pair.