Coaches – How are you going with your personal development and mastery?
by Gary Kirsten
When was the last time you completed a course or participated in any form of coach development?
One of the privileges of coaching across the world in many different environments and cricket cultures, is the opportunity to continue learning, growing and developing my own coaching skills. It has forced me not to stand still and to continually challenge my thoughts and beliefs. I have realised the modern player has much more access to information than I ever had as a player. Whilst I just accepted the best thinking of the coaches I played under, the modern player has strong views on the game and expects a dialogue with a coach rather than an instruction.
This is great news for coaches – no longer is the “my way or highway” approach an acceptable style of coaching. The modern player demands more coaching agility – the communication and facilitation skills of every coach are put to the test. It’s no longer acceptable just to have better knowledge or information. Whilst superior cricket knowledge is a good starting point when striving to be a top class coach, delivery of information and ability to land a message that is appropriate to each unique individual is an absolute must skill for every coach at any level.
At school level, the number one priority for any coach is player development. By doing this the coach helps to unlock the potential of any player. This development must focus on the “whole player” with the murky waters of teenage identity giving context to the importance of each intervention. As coaches we are given the remarkable privilege to positively influence young people. A skillful and educated coach will use this privilege responsibly and steer away from the temptation of treating talented young players as performance tools, as if in a professional environment. Finding this balance is not easy. Sport has become more professionalised at a young age and there is more incentive for schools to produce results. Coaches should remain mindful of their core responsibility, to do the best they
I encourage all South African schools with strong sports programmes to insist on coach development and education as part of their ongoing commitment to give each student the best and most qualified interventions during their developing years.