Joys of Coaching
As some of you might know I`m over in the UK finishing off after 2 very successful cricket tours of young players from the Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association. Anyway whilst I have been back in the UK I have spent all of my free time back home at Crook Town CC in the North East of England helping look after the ground and coaching the kids, just trying to put a little back in whilst I can.
The club U15 team played its final game on Monday evening and whilst our lads won quite easily the night was much more memorable for one of our players bowling his first over in a competitive game. At the start of the season Luke had never really played, certainly couldn’t bowl and the prospect of him doing anything other than fielding on the boundary was quite daunting, in fact terrifying for him.
Cricket clubs have to recruit new young players each season and as coaches we regularly encourage young players to get involved and have a try. With this particular young fella the game was `done’ as a contest when he bowled, yet he was more worried about how others would think of him rather than if his over went for lots of runs. Typically as young players do when faced with `their turn’ in front of his team mates, he smiled and pretended to be the joker to hide the extreme nerves he must have been feeling.
Personally it was really satisfying to see this young lad have his first bowl after working hard at practice and great to speak to the parents after the game that were equally as keen to talk about his experience. He was very much marked as a kid who couldn’t bowl and despite this tag once he actually got the ball in his hand and tried, his first over was completed in 9 deliveries, much less time than the predicted;
“He`ll never complete the over because he can`t bowl”
Afterwards I wondered what experiences other coaches have had introducing new players to the game and presenting them with their opportunity to bat or bowl. I think we must be very careful not to pigeon hole junior cricketers as non batsmen or bowlers just because they don’t seem to be able to outside of the game at practice. Sure it`s not fair to expect a new cricketer to perform miracles such as first time he tries, but you will be surprised how many young players only require an initial opportunity to drive them towards working hard on their cricket in the hope that the opportunity might well present itself the next time the team has a game.
Without going over old ground young players have to be given opportunity in competitive cricket if our game is to not only survive but to thrive. I can tell you there were many shared smiles between father and son after the game and indeed amongst other parents. It was a really good way to complete the season.