Kiyo Jason is a professional cricket coach working towards his Level Four (Specialist) qualifications – the top coaching qualifications in cricket. In our latest instalment of our ‘Changing the Game’ series, Kiyo talks about his coaching journey, which has led him to become a Head Coach at Spencer Cricket Club and a coach with the ACE Programme, alongside working as a PE teacher at St John’s Junior School.
Growing up in inner-city London, Kiyo overcame several challenges before becoming a cricket coach. He explains how the sport has shaped him - and how he hopes to use his experience to help others be their best.
“My philosophy is to stay humble, constantly keep learning and improving myself as a coach, as well as guiding the players to become all-round better cricketers. My background of growing up in South London gives me a different perspective. Having overcome numerous setbacks, I try to be empathetic to others, especially if they may be struggling with aggression, or self-harming, or any other issues. I try to look deeper and understand what’s going on in their lives and then, through constant communication and planning, find a way forward.
“I enjoy the psychology of coaching. It’s only in the last year, as I’ve been doing my Open University and Level Four (Specialist) qualifications, that I’ve been conscious of the fact that I was already coaching both the mental and physical side of the game. But, now that I am more aware of the psychology, I can articulate my thoughts better, engage in more effective conversations, and find better strategies to encourage players to buy into their own personal development. That’s been my biggest growth as a coach.”
You can read more about Kiyo’s coaching story here: Blog: “You’ve got to keep believing in yourself.”
Kiyo is a coach with The ACE Programme – ACE stands for African Caribbean Engagement – which has been running as an independent charity for just over a year. Director of Programmes Chevy Green has explained the benefits of getting into coaching: “Coaching is a fantastic thing to do. Having an impact on someone’s life is so rewarding, and I’d encourage anyone to do it. If you’re thinking about it, take that first step. Don’t waste a moment.”
The ECB has taken significant steps in recent years to diversify cricket coaching in this country and remove barriers to those wanting to take part. The ECB’s Head of Coach Development, John Neal, recently took time out to explain that becoming a cricket coach is open to anyone. If you’re interested in coaching, you should apply, no matter your level of experience, where you live, your gender or your background. Additional programmes like Dynamos Cricket Intros, in partnership with Sky, have helped extend cricket’s reach by recruiting new coaches through a three-year investment which will enable schools and community centres in underprivileged areas to provide courses for free. This partnership has helped over 10,000 kids have free access to Dynamos cricket in 2021.
John’s blog talks about some of the steps the ECB is taking to create more diverse coaching role models in England & Wales. “We say that ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’, so creating male and female coaches who are role models for diverse communities is critical, and we’re making huge progress to diversify our pool of coaches across cricket. We know there is more to do and there aren’t currently enough female and ethnically diverse coaches at the moment, particularly at elite levels but this is an area we’re focused on tackling.
“Coaches play such a pivotal role in providing the opportunity for people to ‘see it and be it’ and 2022 will continue our journey to inspire more people from more communities to play, at all levels of the game.”