Development of junior batsmen

1990crow

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Am curious to know of the process at the moment. Every time you hear of our modern great batsmen you hear of their time at the cricket academy in Adelaide (Punter, Hayden and co). I might be wrong it seems that doesn't exist in that form any more. The batting overall in this country has become exceeding disappointing and I can't quite understand what's happened, somewhere along the line standards in coaching have slipped. Bowling and keeping stocks are looking super. Get the batting right and another great Australian side looks likely.
 

Howard Littlejohn

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western royboy , your time to shine I feel.

From what I can make out (bear in mind I have no coaching knowledge):
- a focus on scoring quickly from a very young age, defence is no longer regarded as the pillar that supports everything else
- the move to ensure mass participation through equalising involvement. there is no incentive to learn to build an innings, as a batsman will just get retired anyway, and are only playing short form games

I overheard a story on the bus to work a couple of weeks ago. Apparently (and I can't vouch for the accuracy) Golbourn juniors were prevented from playing in the ACT because they can't make it to mid-week T20 games after school, being an 80 minute trip each way or something. CA's approach was "all or nothing", so CA refused to allow them to take part in other competition.
 

western royboy

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western royboy , your time to shine I feel.

From what I can make out (bear in mind I have no coaching knowledge):
- a focus on scoring quickly from a very young age, defence is no longer regarded as the pillar that supports everything else
- the move to ensure mass participation through equalising involvement. there is no incentive to learn to build an innings, as a batsman will just get retired anyway, and are only playing short form games

I overheard a story on the bus to work a couple of weeks ago. Apparently (and I can't vouch for the accuracy) Golbourn juniors were prevented from playing in the ACT because they can't make it to mid-week T20 games after school, being an 80 minute trip each way or something. CA's approach was "all or nothing", so CA refused to allow them to take part in other competition.
Correct on all counts.

Milo starts kids off a bit too young, few have the skills to be able to catch, let alone bowl or bat. I played my first game of Colts at 11 - in preparation I had played a million backyard or school games prior, but each one helped me get ready for the day when I started playing. Starting at the bottom, my job was to defend to allow the big boys to score. As you got older you pushed up as your game expanded. There was no modified games, no coming back in if you were out, no retiring once you had made your runs. It was real cricket.

In response to Milo, junior cricket exploded out of nowhere, given two years is about the limit at milo. Partication levels exploded, but there aren't the requisite coaches or the time to teach kids how to play.

So they start playing games before they are ready, with little or no coaching. Worse still, games are played for points, the need to win takes over, kids get a limited amount of time to bat - you must score - but most aren't physically ready to do it playing drives, so the default way to score is the slog.

I have kept some stats which basically suggest 75% of runs are scored on the leg side and of those another 75% are from mid wicket or behind.

Once you start playing modified Mickey Mouse games, it doesn't end until you progress to senior cricket which in most cases is too late, because technique and habits have been formed. Many struggle and leave the game because they can't compete at senior level, thinking they have played heaps of cricket and they know what it's all about.

In fact they know next to nothing, they have never actually played the game.
 

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The Passenger

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There's a bit of everything, right from junior level through to senior level.

I can only speak from the experience of seeing my nephew at junior level, but they are playing a lot of different competitions now, and all the new competitions are T20 comps. Funnily enough T20 is not a huge reduction in overs, given the regular junior cricket competition in Sydney is 36 overs each for one day games, and 52 overs a day on two day games. But it's a reduction nevertheless and it's more so the junior T20 games I watched came with that T20 attitude of just try to smash everything after you've been in for an over or so.

One of the other things is most of the games are one day games now. in SEJCA (Sydney) u/16's there are 3 2-day games and 10 1-day games. We used to play about 50/50. On the plus side almost all games are on turf.

Moving into senior levels the standard of grade cricket and shield has gone down. Nothing against the guys playing it, most are fine cricketers in their own right, but there is a combination of things which bring down the standard:
- additional professional cricket being played such as the BBL, those players have to come from somewhere and that pool of players has to come from grade cricket
- The lure of T20. A first grader who can strike at 130+ might snag a BBL contract. A guy averaging 50+ striking at 60 won't (although he should jag a state contract depending on a few variables).
- lack of availability of test and FC players at the level below and not playing on after retirement from the higher levels. These guys not only provide a higher standard of cricket but can pass on invaluable knowledge. This is a big issue for mine.
- injuries to quick bowlers has put further strain on the bowling stocks which in turns lowers the test for batsmen

Every now and then I get a chance to watch a bit of first grade in Sydney, and there are guys playing who genuinely would not have got out of third grade 10 years ago.
 

western royboy

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There's a bit of everything, right from junior level through to senior level.

I can only speak from the experience of seeing my nephew at junior level, but they are playing a lot of different competitions now, and all the new competitions are T20 comps. Funnily enough T20 is not a huge reduction in overs, given the regular junior cricket competition in Sydney is 36 overs each for one day games, and 52 overs a day on two day games. But it's a reduction nevertheless and it's more so the junior T20 games I watched came with that T20 attitude of just try to smash everything after you've been in for an over or so.

One of the other things is most of the games are one day games now. in SEJCA (Sydney) u/16's there are 3 2-day games and 10 1-day games. We used to play about 50/50. On the plus side almost all games are on turf.

Moving into senior levels the standard of grade cricket and shield has gone down. Nothing against the guys playing it, most are fine cricketers in their own right, but there is a combination of things which bring down the standard:
- additional professional cricket being played such as the BBL, those players have to come from somewhere and that pool of players has to come from grade cricket
- The lure of T20. A first grader who can strike at 130+ might snag a BBL contract. A guy averaging 50+ striking at 60 won't (although he should jag a state contract depending on a few variables).
- lack of availability of test and FC players at the level below and not playing on after retirement from the higher levels. These guys not only provide a higher standard of cricket but can pass on invaluable knowledge. This is a big issue for mine.
- injuries to quick bowlers has put further strain on the bowling stocks which in turns lowers the test for batsmen

Every now and then I get a chance to watch a bit of first grade in Sydney, and there are guys playing who genuinely would not have got out of third grade 10 years ago.
The standards of all 4 levels have dropped significantly since Milo was introduced. The pyramid system has been eroded, possibly beyond repair.
 

western royboy

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Excellent thread and contributions.

What can be done to solve the problems?
Reduce the levels of junior cricket - there is simply way too much to the extent where kids burnout, try and integrate the kids with talent and aptitude for the game into senior cricket as early as possible.

There are simply not enough coaches with the knowledge to go around. A two day course does not make you a coach.
 

The Passenger

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The pyramid system has been eroded, possibly beyond repair.
Good call. I forgot to add onto my post that the strength of cricket has to come from the bottom up with good juniors and grade cricketers breeding international cricketers, rather than good international cricketers breeding good juniors.

What you mention about burnout is true and that just comes down to playing too much cricket. And as I said above all the new competitions that have come out of the woodwork are T20 comps. There's Friday after school games, T20 summer holiday comp, your normal club comp, T20 club comp, representative comp, school cricket. It leaves you spinning.

The system was fine when I was playing
- normal club comp on Sunday, 50/50 split of 2-day (52 overs) and 1-day (36 overs a side) games.
- half a dozen representative games on Sunday's
- school cricket on Saturday which obviously not everyone plays.

IMO there should be no T20 cricket until you've reached senior cricket. Yeah it's fun to play. It's great for numbers and participant levels, and in turn gets young eyes watching the BBL ($$$$)... But it does SFA for your batting.

But the horse has bolted and kids wanna play T20. Ultimately they should be playing to maximise their fun. It's junior cricket after all. But cricket is a game of high skill and not developing those skills has consequences in the long run.
 

western royboy

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Good call. I forgot to add onto my post that the strength of cricket has to come from the bottom up with good juniors and grade cricketers breeding international cricketers, rather than good international cricketers breeding good juniors.

What you mention about burnout is true and that just comes down to playing too much cricket. And as I said above all the new competitions that have come out of the woodwork are T20 comps. There's Friday after school games, T20 summer holiday comp, your normal club comp, T20 club comp, representative comp, school cricket. It leaves you spinning.

The system was fine when I was playing
- normal club comp on Sunday, 50/50 split of 2-day (52 overs) and 1-day (36 overs a side) games.
- half a dozen representative games on Sunday's
- school cricket on Saturday which obviously not everyone plays.

IMO there should be no T20 cricket until you've reached senior cricket. Yeah it's fun to play. It's great for numbers and participant levels, and in turn gets young eyes watching the BBL ($$$$)... But it does SFA for your batting.

But the horse has bolted and kids wanna play T20. Ultimately they should be playing to maximise their fun. It's junior cricket after all. But cricket is a game of high skill and not developing those skills has consequences in the long run.
Due to time constraints all junior rep cricket is short form. The need to win means the sluggers are selected over the kids who might actually make it.

I take zero notice of kids cricket, other than to identify kids who might make it. I take notice of kids who perform well in senior cricket.
 

Damon_3388

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Am curious to know of the process at the moment. Every time you hear of our modern great batsmen you hear of their time at the cricket academy in Adelaide (Punter, Hayden and co). I might be wrong it seems that doesn't exist in that form any more.
It was relocated to Brisbane in 2004, and renamed the Commonwealth Bank Centre of Excellence.
 

The Passenger

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Due to time constraints all junior rep cricket is short form. The need to win means the sluggers are selected over the kids who might actually make it.

I take zero notice of kids cricket, other than to identify kids who might make it. I take notice of kids who perform well in senior cricket.
by short form do you mean 50-over or 20-over?

Trying to think back to when I played and I think it was mainly one dayers. 50 overs. T20 wasn't a thing then.

U16's Green Shield was 60 overs. Not sure about now.

But you're right it's the kids who are playing green shield (or equivalent in their state) but can also step up and play third grade (and in some cases higher) are the ones you should be watching. Third grade mightn't sound great to those who don't follow grade cricket, but as an example in Dave Warner's final Green shield season (02/03) he floated between first and third playing about four games in each, and doing OK in each without great.
 

western royboy

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by short form do you mean 50-over or 20-over?

Trying to think back to when I played and I think it was mainly one dayers. 50 overs. T20 wasn't a thing then.

U16's Green Shield was 60 overs. Not sure about now.

But you're right it's the kids who are playing green shield (or equivalent in their state) but can also step up and play third grade (and in some cases higher) are the ones you should be watching. Third grade mightn't sound great to those who don't follow grade cricket, but as an example in Dave Warner's final Green shield season (02/03) he floated between first and third playing about four games in each, and doing OK in each without great.
That is why NSW will continue to supply a huge % of all first class and international players, because the system is still in tact to an extent compared to other states. Victoria will continue to rely on imports, because we have totally rooted our 3rd and 4th tier cricket and try and identify talent from T 20 rep games and then retro fit the basics. It doesn't work.
 

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Damon_3388

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That is true, but their is no Cricket Academy as such in terms of a live in set up like it was in Adelaide.
What we have now, the Bupa National Cricket Centre (which began in place of the Centre of Excellence in November 2013), arguably provides a wider support and development base for all Australian cricketers than the Cricket Academy did. The NCC still conducts and supports AIS development programmes (along with a number of other high-performance camps for a variety of players), which is what the Cricket Academy did, too. Probably just doesn't get spoken about/heard of as much, because we're just not developing and producing as many good players as we once did.
 

1990crow

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That is true, but their is no Cricket Academy as such in terms of a live in set up like it was in Adelaide.
I think this is something I'm really interested in. We had something that worked really well (a large percentage of its graduates went on to become stars). Why fix something that isn't broke? There are obviously very talented juniors coming through every year. You only have to think of Maddinson, K.Patterson, Lynn, T.Head, K.Smith, Agar, Beaton, Bancroft etc. The talent is there, I'm just not liking the development of the more talented players we have at our disposal.
 

western royboy

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That is why NSW will continue to supply a huge % of all first class and international players, because the system is still in tact to an extent compared to other states. Victoria will continue to rely on imports, because we have totally rooted our 3rd and 4th tier cricket and try and identify talent from T 20 rep games and then retro fit the basics. It doesn't work.
Any junior rep cricket that involves T20 as part of it is flawed. Doesn't matter whether you have a mixture or not. Big kids will always dominate, the sides picked always skew towards the leg sides sloggers.
 

1990crow

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What we have now, the Bupa National Cricket Centre (which began in place of the Centre of Excellence in November 2013), arguably provides a wider support and development base for all Australian cricketers than the Cricket Academy did. The NCC still conducts and supports AIS development programmes (along with a number of other high-performance camps for a variety of players), which is what the Cricket Academy did, too. Probably just doesn't get spoken about/heard of as much, because we're just not developing and producing as many good players as we once did.
That's all fine, but it sounds like the development is focusing on too many, and not the genuine elite.
 

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Just looking at the players coming through the season and Victoria seems to be struggling the most.

Handscomb will be a very good player but it's pretty lean picking otherwise from Victoria.
 

western royboy

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I think this is something I'm really interested in. We had something that worked really well (a large percentage of its graduates went on to become stars). Why fix something that isn't broke? There are obviously very talented juniors coming through every year. You only have to think of Maddinson, K.Patterson, Lynn, T.Head, K.Smith, Agar, Beaton, Bancroft etc. The talent is there, I'm just not liking the development of the more talented players we have at our disposal.
Many, many factors.

The professionalism at the top two tiers, international and first class had been met with a significant drop off at the next two, grade/ district and community. The gap is now massive. Once the third tier was the testing ground because tier two was only semi pro, now tier 1 & 2 hardly ever play consistently with tier 3. Talented youngsters don't get the tough grounding that they used to in tier 3, thus they take longer to make it at the higher levels as it takes time to get up to where that more experienced players are. At tier 1 & 2 level, the talent is roughly all the same, just the technical and mental skills separate the good from the great.
 

Damon_3388

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That's all fine, but it sounds like the development is focusing on too many, and not the genuine elite.
You don't get to train there unless you're among the elite of your particular age group, or whatever the selection criteria for a particular camp/scholarship is, to begin with.

Still, you don't want to just develop a few and discard the rest. You want to develop as many good players as you can.
 

The_Reaper

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Many, many factors.

The professionalism at the top two tiers, international and first class had been met with a significant drop off at the next two, grade/ district and community. The gap is now massive. Once the third tier was the testing ground because tier two was only semi pro, now tier 1 & 2 hardly ever play consistently with tier 3. Talented youngsters don't get the tough grounding that they used to in tier 3, thus they take longer to make it at the higher levels as it takes time to get up to where that more experienced players are. At tier 1 & 2 level, the talent is roughly all the same, just the technical and mental skills separate the good from the great.
And this is why we get all these young players with very low career averages.

Which makes career average even more of a useless metric for selections
 

Damon_3388

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Just looking at the players coming through the season and Victoria seems to be struggling the most.

Handscomb will be a very good player but it's pretty lean picking otherwise from Victoria.
Focussing on winning cups (particularly limited overs cups) rather than blooding/developing younger talents coming back to hurt them a bit?
 

western royboy

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Just looking at the players coming through the season and Victoria seems to be struggling the most.

Handscomb will be a very good player but it's pretty lean picking otherwise from Victoria.
Last year I went to a coaching update where the CV 17 year old wunderkind came in to give to give us his thoughts on captaincy:eek:.

It was pathetic, the lad had hardly played any senior cricket, he had no idea, it was embarrassing on all fronts.

This year he was drafted by the GWS after walking away from the game, talk about getting it wrong!

Meanwhile we have spent significant $$ on a player who I doubt has the tools to make it and was recently overlooked for Dan Worrall in a T20, meanwhile our young potential leg spinner has moved to Perth in a swap with Michael Beer for the Big Bash - "Houston - we have a problem!" FFS.
 

The_Reaper

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Focussing on winning cups (particularly limited overs cups) rather than blooding/developing younger talents coming back to hurt them a bit?
Possibly and in part the talent might not be there so they have to import from interstate.

Stoinis looks like a good pickup and has gotten games. But he's also a product of the WA junior system.

Over the last decade and a bit the main young Victorian batsman to emerge and be talked up are Cameron White, Michael Hill, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb, Alex Keath and now Matt Short.

I haven't seen Short at all but only Handscomb looks like a really good prospect.

The fact that our second biggest state is underperforming is really damaging the national stocks
 

The Passenger

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Once the third tier was the testing ground because tier two was only semi pro, now tier 1 & 2 hardly ever play consistently with tier 3. Talented youngsters don't get the tough grounding that they used to in tier 3, thus they take longer to make it at the higher levels as it takes time to get up to where that more experienced players are.
The lack of first grade games played by first class cricketers is a major issue IMO.

In the 60s and 70's, first graders in Sydney (most aspiring NSW cricketers) would come up against the like of Bob Simpson, Doug Walters, Len Pascoe, Jeff Thomson (before moving to Qld), Allan Border, Brian Booth, Allan Davidson, Norm O'Neill, Ray Lindwall, Jimmy Burke and that is just players off the top of my head. And they also came up against them when they were test cricketers, as well as in their post test careers.

Even Greg Matthews, for all his issues, played grade for 15 years after his international career ended. He even went down and played third grade cause he had a morning radio show that meant he couldn't get to first or second grade games on time.

That sort of stuff is very very rare now. But I don't know how you can solve it.
 

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