The Life Of Being A Cricket Coach

Posted on July 15, 2010

Our U15’s boys cricket season comes to an end this week-end, and though I will be tinged with a bit of sadness, I am starting to look forward to week ends when I don’t have to rush off in the mornings. The truth is, that if it went on much longer, I could predict an argument that I may regret, with either one of the opposition coaches, or even worse of the parents in our side. Anyone who runs a kids team will surely have empathy with me.

Our team is made up of individuals of varying abilities ranging from very good (though not excellent) to shockingly bad, to a point where they are unteachable. When I approached our club to set up a team it was because my own child had showed (after the 2005 Ashes) an adaptability and understanding of cricket he hadn’t shown in other sports, I am not talking outrageous ability here, just a keen interest and a capability which would develop him in to a decent palyer.

We let it be known at local schools that we were setting up a side, and kids from around the area came and joined the fun. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing so I took on an ECB coaching course which gave me a basic education on child protection, first aid, health and safety, and finally, the game of cricket. It was a god send.

Over the years, kids came and went, some voluntarily as it wasn’t the game for them, and some under a cloud because I was an evil bastard who didn’t give their son much hope of progressing, but eventually a team started moulding together, and it became apparent that many of the players who were staying and developing at the club, were the ones with a competitive edge, and often with a strong aptitude at other sports. It is a natural progression, and it is one that is more difficult to deal with than you might expect, as some race ahead of others in terms of ability.

What I am left with is 15 lads who are all a good group, but I am also left with 15 sets of parents, and that’s where the headaches come. The ones who are, or have been involved in sports are fine, they generally understand and help. You then have the Mums who just let you get on with it, and are happy to do the teas and help where they can. But then you have the dreaded parents who try to tell you how to pick the team and where their son should be playing, and if he isn’t playing asking what he has done wrong. These are also the parents who have no clue about sport.

It is a nightmare, and in my opinion unfair to have to continually justify your actions, but having had a life dealing with customers, I have stupidly tried to pacify everyone, which just gets me deeper in the shit, by doing things like telling parents that someone is doing quite well, before batting them at number 11. How though as a parent, do you tell another parent their child is not doing enough, or even worse, that they are never going to be a cricketer? It’s a shit job.

The problem is, I now have to do it, because the good players are starting to get fed up seeing others not trying, or getting the concept of (fielding in particular) of the game. On top of this we have new players wishing to join the club who we have had to reject as we already have too many. It is all very well trying to be liberal and saying that it’s only a game, but that is not fair on those who have that competitive edge, and besides that, I am a pathetically hopeless loser, and if I had a group of boys who just had fun and got battered every week I would pack it in.

The final straw came last Sunday. I had picked a lower order batting line up to suit some parents, and not the teams chances of winning. The parents who know about sport didn’t need to say anything, my team sheet said it all. We lost by six runs with four wickets in hand that included two batsmen who are capable of hitting twenty runs in an over. One of the lads who plays higher up queried my line up as we packed the stuff away, as my face reddened and my ears started burning, his Dad ushered him away, no doubt to bollock him about questioning me. I felt terrible, I had let down nine players in a bid to pacify two. My own son knew what I had done, he was quiet all the way home.

What a wanker, I will never do that again!

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