The relationship between bowler and captain presents as many challenges as there are rewards. The equation to satisfy the intent to capture 10 wickets calls upon so much more thought power and creativity to produce the opportunities.
Calmness, clarity and an accepted plan the overall objective. This may well fall into the skills set and character of the captain. However, a rampaging, snorting quick or a moody, over aroused tweaker present their own demands at the time.
Kristen Beams , Southern Stars and Vic Spirit leg spinner, was able to deliver a tremendous insight into this complexity of the game with purpose and simplicity. Her logic all based around trust. A simple aspect to have an awareness of, but not always an easy thing to attain. I was fortunate to be able to listen to her point of view around the building of trust between captain and coaches for spin bowlers.
The first element for coaches is to understand the player, their character and temperament. What age and skill level are they at? what is their appetite, their willingness to learn?
From here, encourage the spinner to maintain ownership over their bowling, technically and tactically. Encourage them to experiment with grip, release point, angle and pace.
At practice, set up the environment for the player to practice game sense situations. Consider using coat hangers with shirts hanging from a net to indicate fielders. Manufacture targets on the pitch to aim at or to spin into. Even consider keeping a few balls wet on occasions to learn how to handle. These conditions do happen.
Moving into the match situation and relationship with the captain, key points as noted by Kristen:
- Expect the player to know what field to start with. Always easier to start defensively and adjust field positions as spell evolves.
- Captain be specific in task request. An example could be that we need 3 dots.
- Let the player work it out from here. Give them responsibility and allow the trust to flow that they can deliver.
- If the plan doesn’t work at this point, captain steps in to discuss and change. If this occurs, player can’t take this personally. Is just a time to adapt and adjust.