Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Get Kids involved in Sport

I was listening to Geoff Boycott yesterday, giving advice on how Holland can improve Cricket standards, and he was suggesting that they need to get it played at School level.

Well, for sure it would help, but Schools have their own pressures. I think involving Kids in Sport is down to the parents.

Sport is good for Kids. It teaches so much:

- How to work hard for achievement
- How nothing comes without effort
- That effort IS rewarded
- That sometimes you need to lose
- How to handle defeat
- How to play in teams
- How to accept advice and help from the coach

And that's just a short list. In short, I think every parent has a duty to help their child develop by involving them in playing sport. Not just by joining a club, but by making sport a part of home life too. Play ball in the Garden. Get a cheap Cricket set for holidays. Play Catch. Take them swimming on Sundays, or even get an Above Ground Pool for the garden and swim on hot days.

Whatever it is, children gain so much from sport, and some of them will fall in love with the sport, and go on to achieve at an elite level and inspire the next generation.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cricket World Cup is too long

The Football World Cup is amazing. The whole world gets excited and starts imagining that their country will win, no matter how unrealistic. In the end, The Germans or the Brazilians are in the final, and you can watch the closing stages without the need to worry about your own team. Its a true World Cup.

The Cricket World cup, just started is different. Mostly because not enough countries play at a high enough level.

There are only 10 Test playing countries, but two at least are not good enough. SO, the ICC really wants to encourage more countries to play at a high level.

Consequently there are many small nations in the World Cup, who do not have a chance, but are there to help grow the sport in their countries. Admirable and necessary, but it produces too many one sided unattractive games. There is much less chance of an upset than in Soccer.

So, for the next World Cup, the ICC have decided that the number of smaller countries allowed will reduce to only 2. That will make the World Cup much better entertainment, but still leaves an absolute necessity to bring on more countries to the top table.

So, I suggest an associated tournament, before the World Cup, as a qualifier to the main event. the small countries play a B World Cup for the right to play in the Main event. It provides excitement, interesting games, and a really big prize.

Any more suggestions on how to boost Cricket?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Olympic Tickets Tips

As details of the Olympic London 2012 Tickets are published, what are the tips and tactics for making sure you get the tickets you want.

Simply forget the high profile events like the 100m Athletics finals and most swimming finals is the simple answer. They will be massively oversubscribed and your chance of getting one is very slim. Sure pitch in and apply, but don't apply expecting to get one.

Rather, first work out what you want.
Is it an event with a chance of seeing a British Gold? Or an atmosphere to never be matched, or true world class expertise in a sport you don't get the chance to see at a high level very often.

Bear that in mind, and here are our tips:

1. Don't forget the Marathons. They are free, a great atmosphere, with incredible athletes, and a fund day on London's streets assured.

2. Archery. Lords will be transformed from its normal Cricket mode to a superb outside stadium. It will look amazing and there will never be a chance like this again. Plus Archery is a minor sport and 5500 tickets means you should be able to get one. Plus, there could be a British medal, Simon Terry got a Bronze in 1992, and is a prospect again. Or five times Olympian Alison Williamson.
3. Water Polo. Its a minor sport and you should get a ticket. No British medal, though, and its not even sure we will compete. GO for the Hungarians, Serbians and Croatians. If Serbia play Croatia, expect fireworks, and it could be the highlight of the games. Seriously, get a ticket if you can.
4. Canoe Slalom. Again a good chance of British medal, or perhaps more. Plus a purpose built Lee Valley White Water Centre will be spectacular. Should get a ticket if you apply.
5. Triathlon. In London's Hyde Park, a great outdoor venue. Lots of action over a long period, and a good chance of British success. Alistair Brownlee is current World Champion.
6. Canoe Sprint. The British team are targeting 11 medals from 12 events! Power, excitement and British Medals and a great venue. Get a ticket!
Shame there is no Rugby, Netball or Rounders. Still, don't forget to enter the ballot when it opens in March.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Arsenal need a Leader

Was Saturday a normal Premiership day? Well it seems unusual results are normal these days, but there will not be a stranger result than Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4.

Realistically it was all over after 26 minutes at 3-0 up. At 4-0 it should be take the stars off, put on 3 reserves and relax. Until a moment of madness.

The atmosphere was incredible. When Arsenal went to pieces, the crowd and the players picked up on it. They knew it was possible.

I saw an incredible game some years ago when Oxford came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3. The crowd knew it would be happen and willed it. It was the same Saturday.

But, the question is why did the players let it happen?

Arsenal can pass for fun. They move, pass, move all day and make fools of the opposition most weeks. With one player down, and not even the most influential, the normal response is to take off a striker, and play with a normal midfield and defense. So what happened?

Well they panicked. What they needed at 4-2 with only 9 minutes left was a captain. Someone who could call a mental time out, and generate some calm. Now we play keep ball for 3 minutes, enough for the crowd to realise we are Arsenal. Enough for them to think we can do this all day. Enough to get Newcastle breathing hard and doubting.

Hoe many games do you see peeter out to nothing for 15 minutes because no one believes it can be differnet? 3 minutes of hold the ball would have been enough. Tony Adams would have done it. Rio Ferdinand would have done it. I would have done it. But Arsenal do not have a calm leader who can control the team.

They desperately need one, and will not win the league without one.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Liverpool - Sports Performance of the Week

So, sold Torres for £50m. But traded him in for two players, not one. And Suarez looks a great buy.

Made Torres and Chelsea look bad, greedy and out of touch, and got themselves two in-form good players, who want to play for the club. Got rid of an out of form, sulky, irritant who has not performed for over a year.

Good luck Chelsea, I think Liverpool got the best deal.

Second in the whole episode is Newcastle, who got an enormous amount of money for a prospect rather than the finished article, and the they have some good players waiting to come through. I think they can buy well in the Summer too.

Well done Liverpool.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Murray needs a Tennis Major too much.

I think that Andy Murray needs to work on his aura. Nadal projects calm, power and can be intimidating. Federer projects total control, feeling of expertise and 'I've done it all'. I think they both have an intimidating effect on the opponent.
Murray gives of a tense , 'stropy teenager' aura. His opponent always feels that he could get under his skin and set off his internal demons.

More work to be done yet.

But, having lost in the fianl in Australia, I was disapointed by all the talk of 'I am sure you will win a major one day'. His opponent said it. The tournament Director said it, and Murray talked about it.

Has it become too important? Like Colin Montgomery in Golf, is it too much of a mental hurdle, so he will always trip himself up at the last minute?

I fear he will never be able to strike the Tennis Balls true in a final if it weighs so heavily on his mind. Monty always was close, but not close enough, have we another nearly great Scotsman?