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Coaching unorthodox cricketers

Posted in ECB Coaches Association

The changes in world cricket have been witnessed across the globe by millions of viewers and interesting debates about cricketers and, in particular, their techniques have long fascinated me both as a player and as a coach.

Recent events such as the Indian Premier League, English t20 and the current World Twenty20 are strongly confirming that we, as coaches, should not be neglecting young cricketers who might display different qualities and unorthodox approaches to cricket, leading on occasions to producing a competitive edge over rivals.

As a player growing up, I worked with various coaches to perfect my technique and become the ideal `textbook' product in order to give myself every opportunity to succeed as a professional cricketer.

However, this often made it difficult to identify my natural characteristics and technique which were hugely successful for me and the single reason why I felt unique compared to other players.

Nevertheless, as cricket has moved on with time, I feel we as coaches should be increasingly confident to recognise naturally gifted players and work with their ability to make the right decisions and allow them to express themselves.

Ensuring the basics are fundamental and should be no means be discouraged but which should bridge the gap with the ideal textbook model with all your young players?

Neglecting unorthodox cricketers is something I witness in everyday coaching sessions as some coaches are still determined to develop the perfect textbook player, yet we see countless unorthodox cricketers earning substantial amounts of money for their match winning abilities all over the world. As coaches do we do enough to encourage children to freely express themselves?

As coaches we need to retain an open mind combined with the skills to develop unorthodox cricketers and reward them on the outcome.

Before completely changing a technique it is important to gain background knowledge of a player as ten years of work could be altered in a matter of minutes, leaving the player none the wiser and very confused as to what is right or wrong!