Shine enjoys new coaching role
Kevin Shine has talked about his job as England's new fast bowling coach after taking over the role from Troy Cooley....
Question: You took over from Troy Cooley at the end of England's winter tour of India. How has the job been going in its first few months?
Answer: It's been very busy indeed, as you would expect when you start a new role and it coincides with the beginning of a new season, but it's also a very exciting time for me and I'm enjoying every moment of it. I went out to India myself in March, so that Troy and I could work together in the hand-over period, but don't forget that I also worked very closely with Troy during the time that he spent as England's fast bowling coach. As head coach at Somerset, but also as someone with a special interest in fast bowling myself, I found that we formed a good working relationship from an early stage.
Troy invited me to be involved in his Elite Fast Bowling Group programme, and I have played a full part in much of the research work that the group has been carrying out over the past three to four years. In fact, a paper is just about to be published with the findings of very detailed research into fast bowling injuries, and how the prevention of injury can be brought into the way that fast bowlers are coached. This information has been collated as a result of the close monitoring of 40 top fast bowlers, from Under 15 age level to the Steve Harmisons and Andrew Flintoffs.
Through a lot of advanced testing, including 3-D images, and the input of experts in the fields of biomechanics and physiology and other areas, we can now have a much clearer idea of where we are going with coaching strategy. All sportsmen will get injured, and fast bowlers have to put their bodies under specific strains to be able to bowl fast, but the next crop of young fast bowlers coming through will have the benefit of this research and that should help us to prevent instances of injury far more widely.
Question: Can you summarise the responsibilities that you now have?
Answer: I initially took over the Academy side of the job from Troy for one month last October while he was in Pakistan, and it is great to be able to work alongside Peter Moores at the Academy. Peter and I did our Level 4 coaching qualifications together, and we have an excellent working relationship as well as getting on very well generally.
In these first months of the summer I have also spoken with all the regional county academy directors, because I think it is vital that they all get the support of the Elite Fast Bowling Group and know that they can gain total access to the facilities we offer at the National Cricket Centre at Loughborough.
Obviously, a big part of my role is working with the senior England bowlers, and like Troy before me I have to be at both practice days before a Test match and also attend on most bowling days at the Tests. I work constantly with the England squad players throughout the season, before and during a Test series and also during a one-day international series whenever possible. On batting days at Tests, meanwhile, Duncan Fletcher likes me to go out to see particular players at a county match and to speak with the county coaches.
Talking to the county coaches is very much part of the monitoring work I do, and overall it is so important that I get around the country so that I get to know all the younger fast bowlers coming through the county system. A part of my job that I find particularly exciting is that overview, and we have some very fine young bowlers coming through in the 16-18 age group. We also have some excellent fast bowling coaches working in the counties, too, by the way.
Question: Do you have a particular coaching philosophy?
Answer: My general philosophy has evolved over time, and will continue to do so as advances are made, but the one thing that I always adhere to is that individuality is key.
Every bowler bowls in a certain way for a reason, and that's because it works for him. One model cannot possibly suit everyone, and although there are some non-negotiables like alignments of action, you have to make any adjustments you need to make within each person's own natural movement pattern. It is also true that, the higher the level you are coaching at, the smaller the adjustments you need to make anyway.
Question: What did you learn from your own career, in terms of how you approach coaching now?
Answer: I could bowl fast, but I also suffered a lot from injuries and so it was a natural thing with me to become interested in a fast bowling action and to ask questions about why I was getting injured. I grew up in Berkshire and had a lot of early help from coaches like Les Smith and Ralph Dellor. From the age of 20, I began to coach youngsters first in Berkshire, and then as director of coaching at the Berkshire Indoor Cricket Centre and also in the Middlesex indoor school.
But my biggest learning experience, I suppose, came in the middle of my own playing career when - on the advice of a former fast bowler who must remain nameless - I changed my action from its natural semi-open style to sideways on. The result, I'm afraid, was that I lost virtually all my pace, and my confidence, and also picked up another injury. I stagnated terribly for a while, and it was because I had changed all my own movement patterns.
In the end, and because I was by then about 25 and had done quite a bit of coaching already, I actually got my Dad to film me bowling and went about re-modelling my action back to where I had been before. Using myself as a subject, and filming from different angles, I was able to get my hips and my shoulders back into the right places through my action. In a way, that was my first introduction to basic biomechanics.