Could the Black Caps batsmen gain from Game Sense?
18 November 2014
Success in the 2015 World Cricket Cup will require far more than good technique for the Black Caps, UC's new head of sport and physical education Professor Richard Light says.
Success in the 2015 World Cricket Cup will require far more than good technique for the Black Caps, University of Canterbury’s new head of sport and physical education Professor Richard Light says.
To succeed at this level, batsmen need to be creative, aware, adaptable and intuitive. Former Australian captain Greg Chappell has reportedly criticised the inability of many of the top Australian batsmen to adapt to different conditions. Professor Light will lead a game sense workshop and seminar for teachers and coaches on campus next month looking at sport and game sense. He is one of the leading academics in the world working in research on game sense and its development.
"Chappell lays the blame on over-coaching and a system that produces batsmen like a cookie cutter – all too similar. Chappell argues that in Australia intrusive coaching approaches have replaced the creative learning environments that foster the creativity, flexibility and effective decision-making needed by top cricketers and in which the country’s greatest batters developed their expertise,’’ Professor Light says.
"A decline in creative, flexible and adaptable batsmen in many cricket countries can be linked to the demise of the natural learning environments like games of cricket on the beach, in the backyard played in challenging spaces and conditions.
"Instead of sharpening the instincts of young cricketers, the money spent on lavish facilities, career coaches and academies has dulled them. Instead of coaches seeing themselves as being all-knowing, Chappell suggests they should be, managers of creative learning environments, with minimal invasion from others.
"A drop in creativity is not restricted to cricket or to sport more broadly. The desire to control and determine learning is also a problem in our education systems. Voicing the same concerns in the United States, Bill Gates outlines how one state in the US has developed a 166-page physical education evaluation instrument holding teachers accountable for meeting performance targets.
"These include correct skipping technique with smooth and effortless rhythm and being able to strike consistently a ball with a paddle to a target area with accuracy and good technique.
"New Zealand cricket needs creative, adaptable, intuitive players to succeed in the 2015 World Cup and should be working on creating creative learning environments. Players at any level should be challenged, given responsibility for their learning and have the opportunities to take risks, experiment and learn from their mistakes through reflection and working as a team.
"Applied to batting the Game Sense approach offers a framework for addressing the challenges of developing creative, adaptable batters who consistently make the right decisions. It involves the coach setting up a physical environment that presents problems for the batters to solve both individually and collectively as a team. In this approach the coach works with the players guiding them to develop knowledge and skill that can be adapted to suit different challenges.’’
This approach is equally as effective for physical education teachers and school sport coaches and will be the focus of a Game Sense workshop and seminar offered by the School of Sport and Physical Education at the University of Canterbury on December 8.
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