Six Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Cricket Coach

Six Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Cricket Coach
Six Things
You Should Know
Before Choosing a
Cricket Coach
There are many reasons why a family could start looking to find a cricket coach for their child and as many things
to consider when identifying the person who is to have the privilege of coaching their child bestowed upon them.
One thing that will become very apparent very quickly is that there a huge number of cricket coaches available;
coaches of varying levels of skill and experience. So how do you find a coach that will help you reach yours and
your child’s objectives and goals within the game? Just because a coach is a good coach it doesn’t mean that
he is the right coach for you or your child. Here are a few things to consider as you start the process of looking to
identify the coach who will become the guiding light for your child throughout his sporting career.
I believe the perfect starting point when considering using a cricket coach for your child is to work out why you
think you need one. Most parents I’ve dealt with are simply looking for some professional guidance for their child
as they make their way through the current season. It’s not unfair to say that quantity and sometimes quality of
coaching available in club cricket is enough to satisfy either the child or the parent and, as such, forms the basis
of most of the enquiries we receive.
The most obvious question parents should be asking themselves regarding sourcing a coach and a coaching
program is what are they looking for in terms of guidance for their child? Usually the answer is one of the following
three options...
1.A quick fix – maybe a coaching session or two to help resolve an ongoing technical problem with the player.
2.A coaching program – perhaps a 6 or an 8 week course to build foundations of a playing technique, learn some
new skills and drills and improve overall confidence.
3.Find a coach to be in charge – to assume overall responsibility of the player development and indeed their
coaching program for an ongoing period of time.
Whichever of the above is the most appropriate for you and your child, be clear when discussing a program with
a suitable coach as it will have a significant bearing on the template he will build for your child.
It will help you significantly to go with your child and watch a coaching session or indeed allow your child to be
involved in one or two trial coaching sessions. You can observe the quality of the content and listen to what
the coach has to say to your child or the group. Is the feedback delivered in a way you are happy with hearing,
using a tone your child will respond to? Does the feedback seem balanced between positive in terms of being
constructive and negative? Does your child seem comfortable in the session receiving the feedback and do the
other players respond well to the content of the talk? Good coaches won’t always be talking constantly so don’t
be surprised to see periods where nothing is being said. However, it is important to watch how much time the
coach spends interacting with each child in a group session; is it a balanced session between all participants?
In every session that your child is involved in there should be a warm up at the beginning of the session. At the
completion the coach should spend some time talking to the group reiterating the coaching points highlighted
throughout the session. Throughout the session watch out for opportunities for your child to have a quick drink
or rest especially if the session is a two hour one.
From afar take note of how the coach encourages the participants to work hard but ultimately enjoy their practice.
The aim of any coaching session for a coach is to provide an environment which is safe, enjoyable and lastly,
offering players room to learn. Use this time to perhaps chat to parents of other children involved in the session;
ask for their opinion of the coach or coaches, find out how long they have been involved with the coach and what
their child has gained by attending the sessions.
Start with the simple stuff... there are a number of coaches around appropriate without accreditation or suitably
certified to leave your child in their care. Feel free to ask to see a Working with Children Card from a coach and
indeed ask if the coach has a current First Aid Certificate. There are a number of important things that can be done
by a qualified First Aid person should an accident happen at practice – and let’s face it, it sometimes does.
You need to find a coach who is accredited for a couple of reasons. Firstly, for your piece of mind, it is important
that you know you are spending your hard earned cash on someone who has been approved by the governing
body of the sport or an equivalent governing body for example the ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board) or the
ACB (Australian Cricket Board). Secondly you need to feel sure that what your child is being coached 100%
correctly – for many young players they have the dream to play the game for a career. Coaches realise (or they
should) that the information they are giving cricketers can help (or hinder) their journey towards their dream.
Finally in terms of accreditation (coaches are usually qualified Level I, II or III) if your child is a bowler then a suitably
qualified coach can offer specific technical information to help safeguard against serious back injuries such as
the dreaded stress fractures. Whilst there are never guarantees that bowlers WON’T fracture the right advice and
coaching can be vital in reducing the risk.
The final question you might ask revolving around accreditation is how long a coach has been qualified for and how
he keeps his coaching ideas fresh. Newly qualified coaches will have the newest of coaching ideas and the most
recent information relating to coaching technique. It’s worth asking the question how an experienced coach with,
for example, 10 or 20 years coaching experience keeps his ideas and coaching methods fresh and up to date.
It’s absolutely ok to talk to the coach about what you and your child would like to get out of the coaching sessions
or coaching program. After all, it’s your hard earned cash paying for the coaching. It’s important you know and
understand just what to expect in terms of how the coaching can develop or improve your child. Be prepared to
ask specific questions and tell your coach of your child’s dreams within the game. He will be happy to listen to get
an idea of how motivated your child is to do well.
Please be realistic when you are chatting to the coach. Of course everyone wants their child to play for their
country but the reality of it is the vast majority won’t. There are a number of reasons why parents seek out
additional coaching for their children but I think it’s wise to talk to the coach about your expectations prior to the
coaching starting so everyone is clear about why they are involved.
The most common reasons I find children come to coaching is to overcome fear of some sort, usually of the ball
and, as players get older, fear of failing. Often parents just want their children to gain confidence to be able to
contribute more on a weekend to their team and of course there are those who would like their child to prepare
for higher level cricket matches or trials.
Always find out the cost of a specific program for your child before you start. Private individual coaching can be
expensive compared to group coaching sessions where lessons are shared; normally this would average to up
to 8 players per coach. As a word of advice many coaches would charge the same hourly rate for coaching one
child as they would for private coaching two children. If you can try to get another player involved in the program
you will find very little content is lost in the delivery of the lesson to two players instead of just one.
Remember in looking for a coach you are essentially looking for a professional person with a proven track record
of coaching players to an elite level to oversee your son or daughter’s development for hopefully as long as is
logistically possible. It is imperative that you are aware of how much experience a coach has in working with
cricketers of all ages and abilities but more specifically with players of a similar age as your child. I have listened
to many experienced cricketers with credible playing careers behind them talk to young cricketers and in all
honesty their ability to coach has been extremely poor. It is commonly said that the best players of the game don’t
necessarily make the best coaches.
Look for a coach with a diverse range of coaching experience both with adults and children. The aim is to find
a coach with both the experience and knowledge of good level cricket who understands the pathway from club
cricket through to professional cricket. As your child develops and progresses through different levels of the
game, at either age range or indeed representative level, they will need a coach who can offer advice of how to
deal with the associated fears and pressures that your child with be experiencing. A coach who can communicate
well is essential, of course in particular with your child.
Building trust in the relationship is an essential fundamental of any relationship. You will need to be able to build
a strong relationship with the coach yourself as there will be questions arising which you will need his guidance
on. Keep in mind if you are searching for a coach to take control of your child’s development then you will need a
coach who can liaise with other coaches to ensure they are aware of what the child is currently working on. There
is nothing worse than a child being asked to learn too many skills from multiple coaches whilst he is developing
a technique. The pressure of trying to please every coach can soon lead to the player losing the enjoyment from
the game and eventually walking away from it.
It’s always a good starting point to give the coach a call, have a chat and listen to what his coaching philosophies
are. If he’s a win at all costs kind of guy then he is probably not the right guy to be looking after your child. Try to find
a coach who is interested in the players’ learning process rather than focusing solely and entirely on the end result.
As always you need to find a coach who will endorse enjoyment in his coaching sessions for the player, personal
development and respect in all aspects of the game rather than one who is focused purely on winning at all costs.
Whilst chatting to the coach try to find out how he adapts his coaching to suit all kinds of children and the way
in which they learn. Having just one teaching delivery of a skill is not always suitable; everyone learns in different
ways. For example, you might have or indeed know of parents who have children with learning difficulties, delivery
of the skill should therefore be changed, where possible, to suit that learning difficulty and style in which the child
will best learn.
If the child doesn’t learn in a particular way then it’s important to know that the coach can deliver his sessions in a
way which is appropriate to your child. You should avoid coaches who use phrases like ‘How many times have told
you to do this?’ or ‘I must have told you 1000 times’ or ‘How many times do I have to tell you? ‘. Generally speaking
if a child has been told to do something a number of times and still doesn’t get it then the chances are he or she
has not understood what has been asked of them. A good coach will identify this issue and deliver the information
in a different way. The player that needs to be told 1000 times from the coach isn’t the one who isn’t learning!
I would encourage parents to be aware of coaches who are keen to talk bad or criticise other coaches; from my
experience coaches who are quick to talk bad of their peers are generally best avoided. Certainly there are times
other coaches might be discussed or mentioned but it should be in a positive light. Just my opinion, make of it
what you like.
Hopefully reading through this document will help give you some insight into how to go about finding not just a
good coach but a good coach for you and your child. Finding the right person can sometimes prove to be difficult
but once found will prove to be extremely rewarding if your child is prepared to work as hard as your coach will
endeavour to. Good luck and happy hunting!
M: +61 3 (0)411 084 117
E: [email protected]
PO Box 8274, Tarneit, VIC 3029
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