Bowling coach Tucker explains his role
Let me start by saying Merry Christmas to one and all, may you enjoy your holidays and please keep safe.
Many of my recent articles have been highlighting the negatives within the walls of Bermuda cricket, inclusive of the Board, players, executives, clubs, and umpires. As is customary by us as Bermudians we are quick to criticise but slow to praise, a trait that we shouldnt be proud of.
With all of the faults that have been highlighted, I am pleased to report on a few positives happening through the Bermuda Cricket Board this winter. It is great news to see that a winter Academy has been running for the last month with the elite players from the U-13, U-15, U-19 and our womens teams. The wicketkeepers and spin bowlers are mastering their craft at the indoor facility at BHS, while the fast bowlers are training outdoors at Berkeley.
This is great news, especially regarding the fast bowlers, as it is a skill within the game of cricket in Bermuda that has practically diminished. In an effort to regain the potency that we once were accustomed to on our local soil, the Bermuda Cricket Board has a new fast bowling coach in Lorenzo Tucker.
Lorenzo has been the national cricket teams analyst for several years now. Some in the cricketing fraternity want to know how this is possible when he has never been a bowler. My answer to that is in the form of two questions. Has every great cricket coach or football coach been a previous player and how many great players make poor coaches?
The following is a Q&A with the new fast bowling coach of the National Cricket Academy, Lorenzo Tucker:
Q: What exactly is your role within the cricket academy?
A: I am currently the fast bowling coach for the cricket academy. We are currently running a winter specialist camp where the skills of batting, wicket keeping and spin bowling are offered, along with fast bowling.
Q: How did you go about becoming qualified to teach such a highly skilled facet of the game?
A: I was fortunate to gain valuable experience working with some of the top coaches around the world during my role as match analyst for the National Team. I have attended workshops presented by former Australian great Dennis Lillee and former Nottinghamshire fast bowler Andy Pick. In September 2011 I attended a course held by the WICB to specifically cover the area of bio mechanics (how the body works) during the fast bowling action. Dr. Paul Hurrion, who specialises in technique, and injury prevention for the ICC, and ECB for fast bowlers, presented this course. Otis Gibson, the former England fast bowling coach and current West Indies coach also presented. The material covered in this course was of a high level and educated me on how speed and accuracy are affected when the body is in incorrect positions during fast bowling. The second part of the course covered bowling workloads, fitness, drills, mental skills and bowling strategy — so all facets of fast bowling were covered.
Q: What one player, if you can single out one, have you most enjoyed coaching and why?
A: At the academy we have over 25 players so its difficult to single one out as they all bring energy and a willingness to learn. These players are keen to improve which bodes well in producing quality fast bowlers in the future. We are currently working on the initial phases of the bowling action trying to get the fundamentals ingrained.
Q: Which age groups do you work with within the academy?
A: The academy consists of players selected from the U-13, U-15, U-19 and womens National squad and I work with them all.
Q: How is what you are doing significant to the betterment of Bermuda cricket?
A: During my tenure I have had the opportunity to videotape and analyse over 50 fast bowlers. The flaws in technique are common and across the board so there is now a blueprint to address these issues. Once the issues are identified and worked on, fast bowlers will see an improvement with their speed and accuracy, which will lead to better performances on the field. As these players work through the academies and eventually reach the mens National team more effort can now be placed on bowling strategy rather than technique.
Q: Do you have any words to say to those who may feel or wonder how you can coach bowling when you were never a bowler?
A: This question came up often after my appointment as fast bowling coach. I certainly do not fit the traditional fast bowling, coaching mould. However, once the doubters have a conversation with me about fast bowling they soon realise I do have some understanding on the subject. Things have improved in this regard as I recently just finished doing a presentation to coaches to teach them the material I know. There are still some who think its impossible to teach something you have never done, but I feel thats a traditional way of thinking about it in a modern and technical era where the game has changed so much. To put it simply — you dont have to be Dread to be Rasta.
In closing, I dont want to put any pressure on Lorenzo, but the pressure is already there. He definitely has a major task ahead of him, and hopefully we will keep building on it for many years to come. I know he is ambitious and very keen to make a difference, and us cricket lovers are hopeful that in the long run this will be the beginning of the answer to our prayers to improve Bermuda cricket from both a local and international standpoint.