Chappell - cricket has become obsessed with coaching

3 January 2004

Greg Chappell and Ian Fraser run a company, specialising in cricket coaching and development. In Greg's year-end newsletter he contributes some interesting thoughts, that we reproduce below.

  This year has been amazing. Ian and I have continued our cricket education as we travelled the globe visiting people from cricket in the Caribbean, USA, Pakistan, India, UK and Australia. We also met people from a variety of other sports in our travels. What we found is that most sports are struggling to come to grips with the demands of the 21st Century. Cricket is no different and faces one of its biggest challenges over the next few years.

Australia is leading the world in most aspects of game administration and game development and yet it has embarked on a coaching path that is not yet proven but early signs suggest that these new methods are flawed. The world is following in this direction in the hope that it is the panacea to all ills in the development process.

What Ian and I have found during our research over the past 3 years suggests that Australia is leading cricket on a wild goose chase. The development process is a lengthy one that requires the individual to be challenged at all steps along the way. If those challenges are not encountered at each development phase then the individual is less likely to reach their full potential. This process can not be short-circuited or circumvented by constant interference at an academic and intellectual level at any time, particularly in the early stages. Individuals need to be put in an environment in which they are challenged with a variety of tasks that provoke them to find the most appropriate responses to the problems presented. This environment will release the creativity of each individual to allow them to find their best method. Coaches should administer the program, offer advice at appropriate times and otherwise stay out of the way of the students as much as possible. This is true coaching.

Cricket has become obsessed with coaching at all levels. The results that I am seeing from beginners to elite players is that this process is not working. At the elite level John Buchanan appears to be doing an excellent job with the Australian team because he has taken a subordinate role to the captain as he acts as a facilitator for the group. In all other cases the coach has taken the dominant role and is trying to run all aspects of the game from selecting to game plans and one on one technical coaching. I believe the Buchanan model is the blueprint for the future of cricket so therefore cricket needs to look at the whole process of coaching accreditation to move the game away from the process that I call 'coaching interuptus'. This one-size-fit-all process is stunting the development of the individual and is killing the creative spirit that is necessary to make the game exciting.

Next year will be another exciting and challenging year for Ian and I as we try to stimulate discussion within the cricket community about the best way for cricket to move forward in these demanding times. We do not claim to have all of the wisdom in this area but we are not constrained in the same way that many of the games administrations are so we have more freedom to experiment with thoughts and ideas.