The 2017-2018 Ashes cricket series ended in Sydney this afternoon.
The 4v0 (and one drawn game) result has raised some important questions about long-term planning for the next Ashes series in Australia (2021-22).
Both teams face a Marie Kondo-like opportunity. The Konmari method encourages us to:
- organise by category rather than by room;
- consider ‘Does it spark joy?’;
- assume everything is going and choose what you will keep.
Abby Lawson and Dan Silvestre, among others, have drawn attention to Marie’s observations that “People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking” and “It’s not about what to discard, it’s what to keep”.
Decisions about what to keep in high performance sport are often taken over by the politics of discarding.
A four-year plan for a return to Australia raises some very important #coachlearninginsport issues. One that Australia has to resolve is where these games will be played in four years time … and on what kind of surfaces. (The wicket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the fourth Ashes test in the 2017-2018 series was categorised as poor by the International cricket Council.) One that England will have to face is how to optimise the performance of a team of champions.
I am hopeful that these kind of issues lead to a wider conversation about playing and coaching in different cultural contexts. For my part, I am keen to see teams win at home and compete away from home.
This season in Australia, it is anticipated that there will be 2 million spectators attending cricket games. Almost 800,000 of these will have attended an Ashes day of cricket. Whilst there has been a very significant presence of English supporters, many of the spectators are Australians who would have relished home success.
There are players who bring joy. I am hopeful long-term plans include them, particularly as they gain experience in winning, losing and drawing. This is, I believe, a great #coachlearninginsport opportunity.
Cue Marie Kondo:
By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past… It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. (My emphasis)