BanglaCricket.com: Article


Thursday, November 27, 2014
Updated: Friday, May 14, 2004
The Matrix

Richard McInnes
 

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:

  1. Performance Analysis - runs scored, partnerships, 1st v 2nd innings runs, etc
  2. Technical skills - back lift, grip, balance etc.
  3. Tactical skills - shot selection, reading game situation, decision making etc.
  4. Mental skills - concentration, body language, pain tolerance etc.
  5. Physical skills - speed between wickets, endurance, ability to bat for long periods, power, ability to hit over the top, ability to dominate bowlers etc.

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.