Sport

National cricket coaching outfit gets 'youthful' boost

More set to join elite ranks

Monday, November 19, 2018

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Succession planning is the name of the game at Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

Since 2016 the JCA has seen an increase in the number of coaches with Level Three qualification, or better, move from three to 13; that's 10 coaches in two years matriculating to the elite level.

Of note also is that the average age of elite coaches is now 51 years and two months, down from 53 years and nine months. The face of local elite level coaching is looking younger as well; there are seven elite-level coaches who are aged 50 or under, among them David Bernard Jr and Andrew Richardson — both 37 years old.

“I never gave much thought to the average age of the elite-level coaches. I'm just happy to continue working among such an impressive group of gentlemen, who are extremely passionate about cricket and 100 per cent committed to seeing that every player who represents the Jamaica Scorpions at every age level has excellent techniques as well as the necessary mental toughness to be successful and dominant,” said Richardson.

Bernard Jr chimed in. “As the youngest of the elite coaches we look forward to continuing our journey of learning. There are some things which only years of experience can teach, and every day spent among our coaching peers delivers new lessons. It's a good look for the coaching of cricket in the island; it suggests that we will be able to continue the development of talent seamlessly as we grow and others ahead of us move on to pursue other life goals when they are so inclined to do.”

Meanwhile, National Senior Coach Junior Bennett says he's always happy to see more youth within the coaching ranks. Bennett, who has been a cricket coach since 1980, noted that his journey of coaching certification started some 23 years ago and has not ceased.

“It's all about continuous learning and that happens when you love the sport and have the willingness to always improve — our coaches have that in abundance. It's great that we have 13 elite-level coaches; we are spread across the national landscape in age level and senior teams as well as in franchises. We will not sit on our certificates; they will be put to proper use and deliver results,” said an enthused Bennett.

The JCA also has plans to get the over 30 existing Level Two coaches trained and certified at Level Three. CEO Courtney Francis said: “The JCA's focus on youth development is not limited to players, but includes personnel off the field to include scorers and coaches, among other functions. We're looking to at least double the number of elite-level coaches in the system over the next year; we will have a great blend of youth and experience.

“We're going to put them to work as well — in the club system across all competitions, in our schools and communities. As the governing body for the sport in the island, we are ensuring that when children are exposed to cricket they are taught the right things from the start, while making it fun,” added Francis.

The 13 elite-level coaches are: Junior Bennett, Phillip Service, Robert Samuels, Gibbs Williams, Robert Turner, David Bernard Jr, Andrew Richardson, Cleon Smith, Courtney Walsh, Robert Haynes, Terrence Corke, Andre Coley and James “Jimmy” Adams.

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