James Nixon | 01 Jul 2013
It's mid-June: halfway through the English summer. As per usual, It's hammering it down outside, England have just blown it in the final of an ICC tournament, and coaches up and down the country are trying to explain to 11-year-olds why they're not about to learn how to play the reverse Buttler scoop, as the simple Compton forward block remains currently beyond them.
Unlike many summers past, however, the vast majority of parents around the boundary edge are equipped with iPads and camera phones, and - rather than simply being able to reminisce about Jimmy's first run for the Under-11s in years to come, the 21st century parent will be able to replay the outside edge or Chinese cut in all its glory.
Beyond the potential for embarrassing your offspring in years to come, however, there are positive implications for the plethora of modern technology. Anyone involved in education will tell you that children are some of nature's great mimics - but there's little good in copying a bad example, and it's this issue that CricketCoachApp seeks to address. For a non-specialist - a parent hoping to set their offspring off on the right track, or a volunteer helping out with their club's junior training nights - this app provides an excellent bank of resources. The videos are simple and clear (although as a specialist wicketkeeper, I'd argue with some of the posture shown in the glovework drills), there is an invaluable library of common faults, their symptoms, causes and solutions - bread and butter to the serious coach but far from obvious to the newcomer - and ideas for drills to add variety to a practice session.
One feature which could be improved is that the video playback doesn't take advantage of the iPhone rotate feature, so the user doesn't get as large a viewing area as possible. Additionally, some commentary accompanying the videos would be helpful. Finally, in the shot zones the text on the diagrams is very small - you might have to get your kids to read it for you!
This isn't an app that any serious coach is going to use: there is no analytical mode to speak of beyond a simple side-by-side photograph comparison - the frame-by-frame playback, commentary or annotation present in a more coach-centred app such as Coach's Eye is absent - but for what the App seeks out to achieve, and for a very reasonable price, it more than does its job.
CricketCoachApp is available on Apple's App Store in three editions:- Cricketcoach Batting (reviewed above), Cricketcoach Bowling and Cricketcoach Fielding each retailing for 1.99.