Cricket coaching PR focuses on inspiring the “next generation of Joe Roots and Jos Buttlers”. What they consistently forget, is this is only 1% of the picture!!
The “cricket enthusiasm pyramid”
At the top of the pyramid – the “cricket badgers”. They live, breathe, eat and sleep all things cricket. They the minority, who have “seen the light”.
Next down – the “summer cricket lovers”. Down the club dawn to dusk. Looking up their stats, and the league table of the various XI’s, constantly. But they have other interests. Come winter, that passion is transferred to something else. And that’s fine!
In the middle – the “enjoy it on a good day” group. They can appreciate the good moments of the sport. But often quick to get deflated, when things go wrong. Struggle with the turn-based element of cricket, and the patience required. Usually footballers!!
At the lower end – “social members”. For them, cricket club is a way of meeting up with their mates. The end-of-session BBQ, or playing frisbee in the evening hours afterwards, might be their favorite club. They might mess around in training. But don’t underestimate their value to the club.
At the bottom – the “don’t want to be here group”. Cricket – sport, even – will never be their “thing”. They might resent being brought along to “try a sport” by their parents. They may be terrified of the ball….not just the pain it can inflict, but the embarassment of trying and failing publicly.
At the very least, you can create a warm, welcoming environment, teach them a few skills, give them a bit more confidence in their hand-eye coordination. If you can get them leaving, thinking “cricket’s alright”, you have achieved something!!
The role of a cricket coach is NOT just to nurture the already interested. That’s easy.
The role of a cricket coach is to further every individual to their next level – of engagement and ability – in the sport.
What is JUST AS important, is not as said above, the “next generation of stars”. It’s the next generation of casual cricketers; the next generation of semi-interested adults, who will share a field with you….possibly in exchange for a drink later; the next generation of parents, who will look at the list of after school clubs….and hopefully pick cricket over the competition.
Perhaps that positive association with the sport, back from a class you run when they were children, will make a difference.