So your child has just finished their cricket season…now what?
How did they go?
Or maybe not so well, maybe they’re finishing the season with feelings of frustration after not being picked in the team they wanted, not scoring enough runs or not taking enough wickets.
First things first, whether they had a good or bad season, before they take a little break away from the game and go play other sports or just give their body a rest (both of which we recommend), they need to go through the process of reviewing their season.
Most players don’t and won’t do it but self-reflection is one of the greatest ways for a player to gain an understanding of their game and ultimately become a better player.
At the ACI, we teach our Junior Academy players and get them in the habit of self reflecting after every training session, every camp, every game….
So by the time the season ends, this process is a breeze.
As a parent of a player, I highly recommend that you encourage your child to self reflect and review their season, and even help them go through the process. Talk it out with them and help them understand the importance and reasoning behind each step.
Self reflection is a lot more difficult and confronting if they’ve had a poor season but it’s even more important then.
Photo Above: Brisbane ACI Junior Academy players self reflecting with Chris Lynn
Here’s a 3 step process to go through with your child for their end of season review…
Look At Their Stats. Compare Them To Last Season And Their Goals.
Most of the time stats are a fairly good reflection on how their season has gone. If they had ambitions to become a more consistent player, then here is the true nuts and bolts of it.
Stats don’t lie and yes they can sometimes be confronting but we want to coach players to own everything that happens to them, not just in cricket but off the field as well.
Did they achieve their goals from the start of the season?
How have they gone compared to last season?
Take note of any improvements that they’ve made, whether that is strike rate/more wickets/economy rates etc.
Take notes of any areas that they’ve not achieved their goals or have gone backwards from last season.
Once you’ve compared their stats take the time to ask them, think about and discuss with them why they improved in the areas they did and why they declined in the areas they did.
It’s really important to understand that sometimes goals may not be achieved. There are a lot of uncontrollable’s in cricket, it could be due to injury, bad form, weather, opportunity.
But there’s a lot of things you can control and that’s what we want to focus on.
Work ethic, training habits, preparation, diet, fitness, habits.
So teach them to be honest with themselves when they’re reviewing their stats and why they are the way they are.
The reality is sometimes things aren’t going to go your way, but still look at the positives. They may not have hit 500 runs or taken 30 wickets but there will be areas of their game that have improved, and that alone is still worth noting.
TIP: Don’t gloss over area’s that have declined (a lot of players do). Note these as they will be a vital part of their plan going into preseason!
Seek Feedback From Their Coach/Captain/Teammates.
Encourage them to ask a couple of players, coaches or their captain that they look up to, respect and trust to catch up for a chat and give them some honest feedback.
A great way to get reliable feedback from someone who they’ve been working with all year is to write out some questions before they meet with them so that person has a clear picture of exactly what they’re seeking feedback on and it will also allow them to give really specific answers.
Your child should send the questions to the coach/player before they meet to give them time to think about it and give detailed, well thought out answers.
Here are some examples of questions your child can ask…
What has been my most reliable trait/skill this season in your opinion?What have I really improved on?
What areas do I need to work on?
How did you view my season as a whole?Is there anything specific that our team is looking out for that I may be able to work on and fill the void for next season?
Do you see my role changing next year?
Help your child go through the process of writing out their questions but encourage them to think of their own great questions.
If your child hasn't had an end of season review I thoroughly suggest that you encourage them to set up a time to recap with at least their coach. (It’s also great to get a teammates perspective)
If it’s not a normal process for your child’s club/team, I can guarantee you their coach will be very happy that they’re taking the initiative towards improving their game and more than happy to help.
It’s really important to take notes or get their coach to email them the feedback.
Having the feedback written down means they won’t forget what was said in the review, and will make it a lot easier to then set goals and plan their preseason in the coming months.
Collate All The Information They Have Received And Agree On a Plan Of Attack.
Okay so you’ve looked through their stats with them, they’ve got some great feedback and been really honest with themselves about why they went well in some areas and not so well in others.
Now it’s time to put a plan in place with the help of their coach and that plan starts now!
How long they’re going to have away from the game.
What they’re going to do in the off season.
When they’re going to start preseason.
Exactly what they’re going to do during the off season and preseason to improve all four pillars of their game.
What specifically are they going to do to improve their technical skills? (skills sessions, drills, how many sessions a week, when will they start, how will it progress closer to the season)
What specifically are they going to do to improve their mental skills? (journaling, visualising, breathing techniques, practicing under distraction)
What specifically are they going to do to improve physically? (fitness plan, nutrition habits, stretching)
How are they going to improve tactically? (watching cricket, asking experienced players)
All four pillars provide the foundation for your child to become the best player they can be.
Neglect one and it’ll effect the other 3.
They should have a very clear picture of the areas they really need to work on as well as their strengths that they want to double down on.
Create a clear and specific plan to have them primed for round one later on this year.
Let me just finish by saying this…IT’S NOT EASY
But success, bar for a few rare exceptions, doesn’t come easy.
As a parent you’re in a great position to mould that mindset into your child.
You’ll need to explain to them that it’s not going to happen overnight but if they really want it, good habits like reviewing, planning and executing performed consistently over a long period of time will get them great results.
If you’d like the ACI to help coach these habits into your child and have their best season ever, we’ve opened up early bird interest in our Junior Academy Programs all over Australia.
Well done on a great season, enjoy the break and it’ll all be upon us again soon!
Authors: Nick Fitzpatrick and Joel Hamilton - ACI Co Founders and Coaches.