Ed: In the BanglaCricket forums, there was recent
discussion on a Matrix program that the BCB has been working on for their
cricketers to identify their strengths and weakness in different situations
and from different perspectives. The Bangladesh Under-19 coach, Richard McInnes
was kind enough to share his own matrix program.
I will try to explain the matrix system that I am using with the players. It
is not as complicated and mystical as many people are making it sound. It was
developed by a group of coaches in Australia about 4 or 5 years back. Throughout
this time, we have constantly been reviewing it and remodeling it for best effect.
A research project was even conducted last year to test the validity of the
questions and the rating systems. I think they were testing retest validity.
Moving forward, think of the many ways in which you, as a fan, assess a batsmen.
Some might say a player is good against pace, but poor against spin; quick between
wickets, or a poor judge of a run; is able to convert starts into hundreds or
gets starts but never goes on with the job, makes runs in second innings when
game is over, or makes big first innings scores. In essence, what we have done
is to identify many areas that contribute to each element of the game. To simplify
and classify it a little further, we have broken it down into 5 key areas:
- Performance Analysis - runs scored, partnerships, 1st
v 2nd innings runs, etc
- Technical skills - back lift, grip, balance etc.
- Tactical skills - shot selection, reading game situation,
decision making etc.
- Mental skills - concentration, body language, pain tolerance
- Physical skills - speed between wickets, endurance, ability
to bat for long periods, power, ability to hit over the top, ability to dominate
When we initially began working on it, it was aimed to quantify the many components
of each element of the game, but in reality many of the components can still
really only be evaluated subjectively. This is a weakness of this system.
However, it must be noted that the idea of the matrix system is not to compare
two players to each other and say, we will pick him because he scores more points.
I use it more for players to gain a greater understanding of their own game,
to undertake an honest assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and over
time to strengthen their weak areas and reinforce their strengths.
It is all about accountability. If a players say that his balance when batting
is poor, and 6 months later his balance is still poor, then I have to ask questions.
Initially of myself: was what was I doing to help him? Secondly of the player:
did he do the work to improve that area? If he didn't do the work, then you
can question his desire to actually get better. Maybe he is happy with his standard.
On the other hand, if I could see the players was making an effort, than I need
to try a different technique to help him. Hopefully I would have noticed a lack
of progress earlier than 6 months.
In summary, we have broken each aspect of the game (batting, pace bowling,
spin bowling, keeping and fielding) down into those 5 areas. In total, there
are over 250 assessment criteria.
Some of you may have seen a handout that I gave at a press conference some
time back. From all of this information, you can produce a pentagonal area graph.
The better the player the more even and the larger the size of the pentagonal
area of the graph. It does not mean that to be great player you have to be super
fit, but all the factors contribute to make the player great. An example might
be Shane Warne, who technically, tactically, mentally and performance wise is
excellent but physically he his not. At some stage in his career, he has been
good and at others not so good, but given the outstanding ability he has in
many other areas, he can carry that weakness.
Given the current status of Bangladesh cricket, we need to work on improving
as many of these areas as quickly as possible, in order to be successful sooner
rather than later. Many aspects of the game are able to be fixed simply and
quickly, such as running between wickets, fielding, throwing speed and accuracy,
fitness, strength and agility, basic technique floors. The elements that take
longer are generally the mental aspects of the game, such as decision making,
shot selection, ball selection and patience. However, if we get a lot of the
smaller simpler elements correct, we will have more mental capacity to apply
to the major decisions to be made during a game.
I hope that explains the system in a manner that you understand If you have
any questions, mail them in. As for the usage of the matrix system, I will be
using it with the squad I work with. If Dav is keen to use it with the national
team that is fine, I am more than happy to provide him with it, but that is
his decision. Coaches all have different styles.
I was once told about coaching that there are not rights and wrongs, only consequences,
and I think that is very true. There is not one perfect way to coach, but I
am working to a system that I think will get the best results in the shortest
possible time. I just had to add just cliche.
Look forward to your feedback
On another topic, I went to the BNS today, as I do quite regularly and
I see many people there watching the games and many people do say hello which
is great. I am always wondering though, if some of those people are the same
people who read these posts. If you are than come up and say hello and introduce
yourself. I don't bite, despite what some journalists might tell yo.. haha.
Unless I am running late for something, I am usually happy to talk cricket Anyway
keep up the interesting dialogue.