“Inspire a generation” – but what does that really mean?

I spent a very happy 10 days volunteering at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  It really was a “once in a lifetime experience”…although unlike Tim Vine, I am already looking for an opportunity to do it again.

The legacy aspiration of the London 2012 Games was to “inspire a generation” – but what does this really mean, for sports coaches and administrators, as we move into 2013?

The media focus on gold medals (and the New Years’ Honours) might just be missing the point.

We do need to keep finding more heroes.  But, perhaps even more importantly, we also need the generation of enthusiasts who will never appear at the Olympics or Paralympics (well – maybe as volunteers!) but who will contribute to the sporting infrastructure from which those heroes will emerge.

Continue reading ““Inspire a generation” – but what does that really mean?”

What makes a winning coach? Ask someone who knows!

I spent a few hours today watching the live stream of @sportscoachuk’s latest #alldaytalentbreakfast, featuring Stuart Lancaster, England Rugby Union Head Coach, and Mark Lane, Head Coach of England Women’s Cricket.

Perhaps most enlightening (for me, as a volunteer cricket coach working with junior players) was the emphasis both speakers placed on the importance of a strong foundation (at representative level below national, and senior club, Academy and junior sport) to the ultimate success of the senior national teams.

Having heard Lancaster and Lane speak, it can be no surprise that England Rugby Union and the Women’s Cricket set-ups are both on the up.

Truly inspirational.
Continue reading “What makes a winning coach? Ask someone who knows!”

Looking out for a hero – pick your role models

When I am working with our Colts, I always try to illustrate a coaching point with examples from the First Class game.

A lot of the boys try to hit the ball too hard, and fall over as they go for a big shot.  I try telling them to stand still, and to keep their balance.  But there can be few better examples of perfect balance at the batting crease than MS Dhoni, hitting the winning 6 in the final of the 2011 World Cup.  They have all seen the pictures, all seen the poise and the twirling bat.  And some of them are hitting the ball a lot more often, and more cleanly, now they follow Dhoni’s example.

For straight lines when bowling – Dale Steyn.  Run straight towards the stumps; look straight ahead; follow through straight; bowl straight…it works!

For absolute focus on the task in hand – Alastair Cook, every time he bats.

And now I might have a new role model – Kevin Pietersen.  Not (this time) for the inventiveness in his stroke play, or confidence to back his own methods, but for his innings in the Mumbai test.

Not just a great innings, but a great innings when it mattered, both to KP himself and to the England team.  Now if I could just encourage the Colts to follow KP’s example, and to find the commitment in themselves to perform at their best when their team needs them, I think I might be working with some even better young players. Continue reading “Looking out for a hero – pick your role models”