Coaches Blog - 1st Edition

Five top domestic coaches will bring you regular updates throughout the year. 

Future entries will only avaialble to signed up members of the NZC coaches section of the website which will be launched soon.


Mike Hesson

Coach - Otago Volts

I am pleased with the progress we have made throughout the three games finishing with a good performance against Central Stags in Napier. There were two big centuries scored by our top order and we were able to sustain the pace with the ball throughout the two innings this followed on from improvement shown with the ball against Canterbury in Rangiora in round two of the Plunket Shield.
The challenge for us leading up to the season was that we didn’t have a lot of time on grass and we had to adjust to the pitches early in the season. Also fatigue is a factor early season with bowlers not used to bowling long spells, keeping up the pace and still having the ability to execute throughout the whole day.
In a season with three formats we are always needing to prepare players to be successful in all forms.  Although there is a different skill sets required for each format the fundamentals are still the same.
My top tip for other coaches is reigning in your players’ enthusiasm when going from indoor training to outdoor training. We don’t want the players to “bust a gut” too soon.  Once players get outside they get overly excited and over train and over bowl, it’s about being able to control that enthusiasm, keep upskilling in all of your skill areas but keep the bowling loads increasing slowly as the body adjusts to the different surfaces.  Quality beats quantity every time.

Bob Carter

Coach - Canterbury Wizards

I’ve been happy with the performances so far especially gaining a win against Otago in round two of the Plunket Shield.

The build up to the season has been tough because of inclement weather and getting time at the crease however we were fortunate enough to have a preseason warm up match which gave us some time on the grass before the start of the season.

We are looking forward to the one day games and HRV cup. We have started to incorporate the white ball into our red ball practices so the players get used to the ball before the start of the shorter form of the game.

My top tip is about fitness. Cricketers need to be not only physically fit, but cricket fit. We need to make sure bowlers are putting the loads in and batsmen are practicing their strokes.

Grant Bradburn

Coach - Northern Knights

I think our season has been going really well and I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve been doing on the field. We did have a slight hiccup against Wellington and it would have been nice to have three from three, but it was a great game of cricket that went down to the last hour.
The hardest challenge for me so far is who to leave out of the team. We’ve built up a squad of 17 players that are realistically vying for a spot on the team and everyone has been training really well. The bowlers have been performing exceptionally well, so from a bowling point of view we are rich in resources. With some of the players heading into the BLACKCAPS it’s a great chance for other players to step sideways into the team.
Coming up very soon we have the one day competition and the HRV Cup which I’m looking forward to. We have been regular champions in the one day competition over recent years and clearly it’s the game our boys love to play. From a coaching point of view we have worked hard on separating the preparation for all three formats. We will have to play a four day game, then a one dayer then a twenty20 soon after so we have worked hard on players being able to produce specific skills on demand.
My top tip for coaches is about consistency and culture. You need to be consistent day in, day out with your personality or demeanour. It shouldn’t change whether you win or lose, having a good day or a bad one. We like to get the guitars out and have a sing whether we win or lose. Although it’s business on the other side of the boundary, outside of work we like to enjoy each others’ company – we have some great guitarists and we’re working hard on improving our singing!  

Paul Strang

Coach - Auckland Aces

So far we haven’t had the results we were after, but as coach I’m not unhappy with the work we’ve been doing. I feel the players are just short of getting their just rewards and producing some match winning performances.
Our first three games were away and during our time on the road it has been as much about about keeping anxiety at bay as well as maintaining faith in our the processes. It’s a long season and although we haven’t been successful it’s to date its too early to make any big calls on form.
Being three weeks on the road and away from our families has been tough. Its a seven day cycle – train, travel, play, travel, train – and that not only requires a lot of planning but also some mental management.
The first part of the season is about developing a team culture and I'm pleased to say that with a good cross section of older and younger players we are getting there. In Gareth Hopkins we also have a strong leader which makes my job a lot easier.
Coming up we have the one day and twenty20 formats. My coaching style doesn’t change but we look closely at the risk assessment of certain skills ensuring our players are executing them precisely
My top tip at the start of the season is not to undervalue pre-season work and ensure you go into it with players that are fit, healthy and confident.

Anthony Stuart

Coach - Wellington Firebirds

We’ve had three tough games of cricket during the start of the Plunket Shield. First up we had Canterbury which was a close fought draw and we’ve backed that up with a couple of great wins in the last two rounds against Auckland and Northern Knights.
We’ve had a couple of stand out performances during the first three rounds. Cameron Merchant, who is new to the team this year, scored a great hundred against Auckland and backed up with a 99 against the Wizards and an 80 odd against the Knights. Jeetan Patel has also been outstanding for us. He’s been a leader for our bowling attack, taking crucial wickets for us and helping us to two wins from three.
Coming up we have the start of the one day competition and then in January the HRV Cup. While all forms of the game are fairly similar, there are some different skills required to be effective in the shorter version, such as taking calculated risks with the bat and having greater control with the white ball.
My tip for coaches heading into a cricket season is to ensure your preparation is sharp and specific. You need to maximise the time you’ve got. Players need to work hard and be ready to go game one. 

With Thanks To

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