I didn’t expect to do much coaching in 2022. Maybe some private 1-to-1s, perhaps some schools work, but not a lot more.
But I returned to regular coaching in the summer term, when so many of my former colleagues were (sensibly!) playing, and found that I enjoyed myself. And whilst I do not expect to get back to pre-lockdown levels (and no more 6am alarm calls!), I hope to coach maybe a day a week going forward.
I did run a 1-to-1 programme in pre- and early season. Not sure what the player really got out of it (his stats weren’t noticeably better than in previous seasons), but I developed an on-drive I never used to have, without facing a single delivery from the BOLA!
Six weeks work in the cricket centre over the summer term. Coaching longer sessions (2 hours each) gave a different rhythm — more time to try things out, more time for playing, but also, sometimes, longer to keep the players occupied. Two hours isn’t long enough with someone who really wants to play cricket, but it can be a long time for someone who perhaps would rather be doing something else on their Sunday morning!
Another 12 weeks in the autumn, delivering 4 or 5 one hour sessions every week and helping out with an extensive afternoon programme of trials for new u13 squads.
The group sessions went well. I remember how the Saturday morning groups tended to attract the more dedicated young cricketers, and we saw several who will be pushing for the u13 squad in a year or two.
Interesting to work again with a couple of youngsters with diagnoses on the autistic spectrum. I know I’m not getting this quite right, yet — my tendency is to ad lib through sessions, which doesn’t provide the stability that is required — but I hope I am making progress.
The trials were interesting — taking nearly 100 players at the beginning to two squads of 25 each. Some were shoe-ins (borderline County Age Group), others were punts (“he could be really good in the right environment”).
Now we have to provide the two groups (“performance” and “development”) with a consistently challenging and stimulating learning environment over 10 weeks in the Spring term.
Looking forward to the challenge!