When he’s not travelling around UK Chris is a cricket coach for kids. This is where our UK account manager spends his Sunday mornings.
Chris, you’re a cricket coach for kids. What does it mean exactly?
I am a Level Two qualified cricket coach at Ickenham Cricket Club. I currently coach children aged 7and 8 years old who form part of the Foundation section, in their early development in playing the game of cricket.
What were your motives when you started coaching kids?
My eldest son started playing on a Sunday morning, I would go to the club and watch them playing whilst enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning cup of coffee. My son was then selected to play for the U13B team, but they did not have anybody to run the team, so with five other parents we developed a management team and ran the team for four years. Some of us took coaching badges, one Mum even took the Umpires course. Then two years ago they were short of coaches for the Foundation section, so I volunteered to coach the younger boys and girls as well, on a Sunday morning (no relaxing cup of coffee now). It is very rewarding and is a nice way to unwind after a busy week at work.
Having taken my Level One coaching certificate two years ago, I felt it was important to continue my coaching education. I was keen to improve the quality of my coaching and to have some fresh ideas to keep it fun for the children. In February, I passed my level Two certificate, which involved four Saturdays of being trained, then six supervised training sessions with the children and a final assessment.
A question that may sound strange (don’t forget I’m French) but why cricket (and not soccer)? Have you played (or do you play) cricket?
Have you seen my soccer skills? I have always had a keen interest in cricket, having played it as a schoolboy and occasionally some adult games too. The other benefit is that it is a Summer game so the weather is normally warmer than for soccer.
What qualities does it take to be a coach?
First of all it takes dedication, as it is a long term commitment, planning of each training session, patience as the skills are not always easy to master and to make sure the children have fun so they come back the following week.
What is the difference between being a coach for kids and for adults?
Well I have only coached children; adults have more ability and are able to learn things quicker, are stronger and have a good understanding of their capabilities, whereas children develop at different speeds and, have a variation of ability. Therefore, when preparing and running a session you have ensure that it is inclusive not exclusive for all skill levels. Also there are safety aspects as the game is played with bats and hard balls, adults are more safety, whereas children have little safety awareness.
One last question: what are your best and worst souvenirs as a coach?
Watching the development of the team, we managed from inexperienced 12 and 13 year olds to develop into good cricketers, making decisions for themselves, learning tactics, sportsmanship, teamwork, to win and lose graciously, and friendship, all skills that they can take into their everyday lives.
The worst thing is rain. It is a fair weather sport, so you can make every preparation, only for it to rain and training or the match to be cancelled, you have no control of the weather.