Club coaches not doing enough
With the Twenty/20 qualifiers over, there have been many comments and opinions floating around and after a few conversations with some of the local players some valid points and suggestions have surfaced.
Collaborating ideas is the best way to tackle our cricketing problems and just maybe we can eradicate a few of the major hurdles standing in the way of success.
The community cricket clubs should be the first place where our cricketers learn to love and master their trade. However, the consensus is that this is not the case.
Club coaches in Bermuda are being paid to run a cricketing programme, but the question is, are they coaching or just supervising? I guess the term coaching needs to be defined because to some coaching is simply running a few drills and holding net sessions to have a bat and bowl with the occasional speech in preparation for the game on the weekend. Is this enough?
If you represent a club in Bermuda I want you to ask yourself, when was the last time your club's coaching staff did anything to upgrade their skills? Has anyone from your club been overseas for courses/workshops related to coaching? Are you still doing the same drills that you learned 10 years ago when you first started playing?
One of the positives at the club level is that we are still attracting the youth and have many youth teams. As said before, training should not be a babysitting service but a place where the kids learn the right techniques and fundamentals of the game, building on their skill level every year.
There is nothing wrong with parental assistance within the club but assistance is the key word here. Quality coaching must begin at the youngest age possible or we run the risk of formulating bad habits that are difficult to break.
Not learning the correct technique for forward defence becomes irreversible the older you get and this lies true for many other technical forms for batting, bowling and fielding. Flaws in technique are rarely exposed at the youth level because everyone gets excited at how fast the child may be bowling, how far he can throw from the boundary or how many sixes he can hit . . . . forgetting that he needs to learn to bowl to a specific field setting, have the right technique when fielding a ball and understand that fields and boundary lines increase as they get older and slugging will have a negative effect.
So Bermuda here is the reality. At club level we are producing more and more mediocre players year in and year out, sprinkled in with a few exceptional players who are simply naturally gifted. Our naturally gifted players find ways to produce the goods internationally, but not consistently enough.
Here are a few thoughts of local players regarding coaching at the club level:
Ryan Steede (Bailey's Bay)
You ever heard that saying, “Need to expand your vocabulary”, well in my opinion club coaches need to expand their knowledge of the game as the game is ever changing and some are stuck in their old ways. At club level we do not do enough game scenarios, pressure situations, running between the wickets or strength and conditioning.
Jacobi Robinson (Somerset)
It is hard for coaches to teach basics in two hours when they only train on Tuesdays and Thursdays, especially as they are preparing for a game. There is no way a player should be getting to the Under-19's and we still have to teach him how to hold a bat or a ball, but this happens. We need a plan from the Board that every coach has to follow when coaching youth cricket from age 11-17.
Dean Minors (St. George's)
We are truly in the dark ages with a lot of our coaching methods. We are more concerned about winning than developing. Anybody can go online and get drills but when was the last time a club sent their coach overseas to England to a workshop? At the workshops they can network with coaches from around the world and keep in touch via e-mail so they can get the inside scoop on common trends in the game. I truly suggest that our coaches go into the classrooms and look at the teaching methods used to get through to our students, whether it is via technology, hands on, motivation etc . . . It is a whole new world! We are just way behind.
Stephen Outerbridge (Bailey's Bay)I don't think coaches at club level prepare players properly for national duty; however, there are other factors too. How many clubs have adequate training facilities (i.e. practice wickets, bowling machine, balls, stumps, etc.)? How many clubs have a progressive performance programme for all youth age groups that later lead to a performance based senior programme. What I would really like to see is a more cohesive decision made between the Bermuda Cricket Board, local clubs, and players on the direction and performance level we want to achieve within this Island.
Lionel Cann (Warwick)
Unfortunately, our cricketers are not taught properly from a young age. We need former players who have been exposed to international cricket, and know what it takes to play at that level, to come out and help coach. However, they can't just get a piece of paper and say I have a coaching certificate. They must educate themselves on the modern day methods of coaching.
My solution The time has come for Bermuda Cricket Board to put together a national coaching panel. On this panel should be a batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, and a catalyst. Their job should be to service every school in Bermuda and be available to clubs who wish to utilise them. This same panel should identify five or six players in each age group from our national academy for extra one-on-one coaching to ensure we get quality, first class cricketers filtering into our senior programme consistently.
Lastly, until clubs realise they are not just a bar but hold a massive responsibility to the BCB and BFA by having sound, productive, youth programmes we will always continue to struggle on the international stage.
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