Three secondary school cricket teams in the 2011 Gillette Cup Cricket Championship have professional coaches upping the stakes and changing the development landscape.
Mark Lane, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) National Development Manager says high level coaching has improved the advancement of young players.
“At the Gillette Cup finals this year we have an ex first-class player, a full-time professional cricket coach and an international/first-class coach. These coaches are able to provide young players with solid cricket knowledge and hone their skills.”
Lane adds: “The teams’ management at the tournament has become very professional. Schools cricket has improved over the Cup’s 22 year history and continues at a growing rate.”
One professional coach involved in this year’s tournament is Mark Borthwick, Hutt International Boys’ School First XI Coach. Borthwick believes many skills required to coach at international level and to help youth cricket teams reach their potential are similar.
“There’s massive crossover, one of the things I was lucky enough to experience in coaching at the international and first class women’s level was the intensity involved – it has lifted my coaching a great deal."
Borthwick says the chance to participate in the Gillette Cup finals tournament exposes young cricketers to a level of the game that can be a real eye opener.
King’s College Head of Cricket and First XI Coach, Roy Goodyear has 11 years’ coaching experience and has developed his own approach.
“I believe you have to develop players in two key areas; firstly get to know the player, develop them mentally and give them confidence in their ability so they learn to trust themselves – then the technical aspect goes along with it.”
Goodyear’s coaching strategy is similar to that used for professional players.
“To me, management is 80% of the job. Developing teams that work together is a huge role and an area I really work hard to improve on.”
Fellow professional coach, Tauranga Boys College First XI Coach Mark Orchard also brings significant experience to his role, playing first-class cricket for seven years.
Today he coaches cricket at TBC and has successfully got the school through to the Gillette Cup finals tournament several times.
The Gillette Cup runs over five days with two days left of play. The six finalists initially play each other in a round-robin format before moving to the final stages of the tournament.
Over the five day event, 70 of New Zealand’s finest young cricketers compete in the Gillette Cup; many of whom progress to play first class cricket.
For the first time in the Gillette Cup’s 22 year history, the cricket finals are being played at New Zealand Cricket’s High Performance Centre at Lincoln University.
Gillette Cup 2011 scorecards, results and match reports - http://www.blackcaps.co.nz/domestic/gillette-cup/122/schedule.aspx