What should I coach at a beginners training session?

What should I coach at a beginners training session?

Im coaching an under 9's team ( GOD HELP ME!) and all though i have played extensively i have not coached such a young team before. Can anyone advise on a training plan designed for beginners / young players. Some ideas on how to make it fun and keep them interested would be great... thanks in advance.

Cricket CoachCoach
Ian MarshCoach, England

Here's some starting ideas:

  • SKILL: Small groups where they can practice and groove the core skills - turning, catching, throwing and batting. Ensure everyone has an equal turn at all these areas.
  • TECHNIQUE: Try to develop correct technique but be aware that for many this will be the first time they are playing the game so be patient.
  • SAFETY: Of course, focus on safety (always have a phone for emergencies and have players wear the appropriate protective clothing).
  • RESPECT: Start them young and teach them to lose any bad habits they may have picked up from other sports (such as football). No questioning the umpire's decision
  • FUN: Most imprortant of all ensure they have fun. Yes, they're here to learn but they're here to have fun, not be lectured. Try to finish sessions with a fun competitive drill or free play game.

Cricket CoachCoach

I always start by having tennis balls or wind balls laying around.  There's nothing that will put children off more than being told "Don't touch the equipment!" 

Once you have them all there, start with a familiar game - perhaps stuck in the mud or tag to get them energised. 

Then try a fielding warm up - I created a game called 'Catch Volleyball'.  It has the same rules as volleyball, but instead of hittinng the ball up over the net, it's a tennis ball caught and thrown.

Why not play a pairs game?  It's the kind of cricket they will be playing and gives plenty of scope for learning 'cricket sense'.  Plus, there are plenty of natural pauses for you to intervene and give out advice on running between the wickets, backing up in the field, or other points. 

Let them enjoy it.  Don't overcoach them.  Put the tees away and get them used to playing with a moving ball.  Let them feel as though they are playing cricket rather than having anything administered to them.

Reggie Coach, England

I use very soft sponge balls and get them throwing then at each other as they run through channel. It never hurts them and they usually want to play this for the whole session but then I sit them down while they are having a drink and set out the rules of us working together.

1. they have to have great listening skills.

2. I dont care how good or bad they are I just want them to "have a good old go at it"

Then I give them small bats "the mini bats of power!" and get them to smash it off tees. They want to have a bat in their little chubbies as soon as they can otherwise they dont think its cricket.

Then I end with Caterpillar cricket and they go home from the first session buzzing and want to come back. 

If they dont come back you dont have a team.


Games based learning. Zero coaching. 

ABCs. Agility, Balance, Cordination and Speed.

At the moment my Under 11 girls are training indoors so I take my ipod and play songs during the warm up and game. I found music is great because it has a rythym and its the soundtrack of their current lives and gets them bouncing about. After a couple of weeks I give them a silly questionaire, whats their favourit food, drink, singer, lesson at school, why their joined the team, what do they want to get better at, etc. I log this profile away and use it to keep an eye on their progress,make sure they are achieving and succeeding in thier own way, the fun they are having and what restaurant to take them too after the season.

This site has loads of useful drills and fun games. Adapt them to your needs. There are apps too that will give you ideas. Stay away from the coaching ones, look at the multi skill ones. Thats what cricket is after all.

Lastly listen TO THEM. Get them talking. Although they are only 9 they will still have ideas about what they would like to do. They may be crazy but thats part of the madness of it. I'm coaching 5 and 6 year olds as well and they are bonkers but delightful.

Make sure you have fun too.

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