New Zealand Cricket High Performance Centre was host to some of the brightest up and coming coaches from the Developing Cricket world from the International Cricket Council East Asia – Pacific Region.
We are all fortunate enough to be involved in some shape or form of this great game, Cricket. For me it was something very special to bring together 9 coaches from our Pacific neighbours and East Asia to New Zealand and was one of the highlights so far of my two years with the ICC EAP.
Coaches started arriving from as far as Indonesia and as close as Tonga and Cook Islands on Sunday 11th November, many not prepared for the cold conditions that greeted us all in Christchurch.
The week long seminar is designed to bring together potential Level 1 coaching course presenters so they can have the necessary skills to return to their member countries and deliver the ICC EAP or NZ Cricket Level 1 courses. This is vital to ensuring the sustainability of the game at grassroots in all countries but in particular the developing associate and affiliate countries of which there are 94 across the five ICC regions.
Such programs as this do not come with out their challenges, but to give you an example of this, when a coach from the Pacific Islands arrived in only a shirt, shorts and sandals. He had only returned home for a few weeks after being in Samoa for the EAP Men’s Trophy and only just missing the Tsunami, but to make things worse his house was destroyed by fire and everything he owned including his much loved cricket photos etc had been destroyed.
My thanks must go to New Zealand Cricket and Canterbury Cricket for their support and generosity to this gentleman.
The course officially started on the Monday with some of the regions High Performance Managers staying on an extra day after their meeting to assist in mentoring these coaches. The passion and desire in these cricket fanatics is evident for everyone to see as they learn new skills and develop themselves into quality and competent coaches ready to embark on assisting others in their member countries.
Day Two was a chance for them to become better equipped presenters by completing a all day workshop with Mark Lane from New Zealand Cricket on New Zealand Cricket Presenters Course. This was an opportunity for the participants to come out of their comfort zones and be a little more interactive.
The evening was a chance to unwind and visit a ten pin bowling centre in Christchurch, for me it was a chance to get to know these guys a little better away from the seminar. You learn very quickly in my role how we take things for granted, I had an absolute laughing fit when only one or two of the group had been Ten Pin Bowling before. As you can imagine I saw some of the most interesting grips and actions you could ever imagine in ten pin bowling.
We split into two teams and for those coaches that have toured before you can see why this is a benefit. I then gave the losing team a task; the task for the losing team was to cook Wednesday nights BBQ… Luckily I was on the winning team!
So we are almost half way through the week long seminar, I’m sitting at my desk and it is almost midnight and as I always do I ask myself the question, are we giving these coaches what they need? Simply the answer is yes, I do believe we had been and we were on the rite course.
Wednesday was the first opportunity to get practical and in the nets, it was now also the weathers to be a little more encouraging and we even had a chance to step onto Bert Sutcliffe Oval a few times.
The main topics covered were bowling and fielding, this again was a great opportunity to listen and work with two very experienced coaches/presenters in Gary Stead and Garfield Charles.
Garfield, the ex West Indian first class cricketer took the seem bowling and was basic but to the point, working most of the time on drills and explaining about wrist position and what it takes to be a fast bowler. Gary ‘Steady’ for those that haven’t met him is as passionate and active coach as you will meet, he has a certain presence and demeanour that keeps you interested.
The guys got a lot from the fielding session, I even overheard one of the comments that they had not realised how much was involved in being a good fielder.
Well the smell of a BBQ full into action and I didn’t even need to turn a sausage myself. The losing team from Tuesday night did a superb job on cooking the BBQ and serving it to the happy and clearly confident winning team.
Thursday was again an opportunity to be hands on and learn from ex first class cricketers. Hamish Barton took the coaches for batting, which was a great presentation. Hamish has previously coached Argentina before taking up his role with New Zealand Cricket; this meant he was accustomed to the resources and attitudes of players/coaches from developing cricket countries.
The rest of the afternoon and Friday was a combination of how to set up and run a coaching course or workshop along with a session on Spin Bowling and a very exhausting wicket keeping session with Mark Lane.
The main objective of the seminar is for these participants to return home and run at least one level one coaching course with a minimum of 12 coaches as well as encouraged to run a advanced coaching workshop they believe is required in their country.
Going on past seminars most will run two possibly even three level 1 courses over the coming years, this means at least 300 coaches will benefit from this course.
Workbooks, manuals and presentations from the seminar are all given to participants and they are now armed and ready to tackle the world in coach education.
A big thanks from all participants and the ICC East Asia – Pacific office goes to New Zealand Cricket and in particular, Hamish Barton, Mark Lane and Justine Messerer. Canterbury cricket was also well represented and a special thanks to Craig Kerr for all his support.
I would also like to take this chance to thank Natalie Mendan who has been on work placement in our ICC EAP office and also spent a few days assisting me at the NZC High Performance Centre at Lincoln.
Please log onto www.icceap.com for further stories and blogs on the developing cricket world.
By Charlie Burke – ICC Regional Development Officer - East Asia – Pacific