It’s that time of year again. Santa is preparing for his journey, the sun is shining the Ashes are almost home and thus the summer of cricket is well and truly in full swing.
A key part of the cricketing summer for many aspiring young stars is the two week period in early January when the underage representative are held. These periods are perfect for creating lifelong friendships, gaining precious cricket experience and as players become more mature learning more about themselves.
But for all of these positive outcomes to take affect on the next generation of cricketers two key groups of adults must do their due diligence. Coaches and Parents.
Coaching junior representative cricket can be a very rewarding endeavour. Helping enthusiastic cricketers as young as 10 or 11 to learn more about the game of cricket, the way it is played and most importantly how to be part of a team.
The two week period in which you take charge of 12-13 young men or women is not the time for coaches to ‘re-invent the wheel’ in regards to game plans, warm ups or field placements.
It is not a time to tell kids about ‘ the next level’ or your own glittering career. It’s a time to instil within them what it means to be part of a team;
Celebrating teammates successes, Doing the scoreboard, Sitting together as a unit, supporting the current batsmen, Giving throw downs, Running drinks and above all else the selflessness involved in being a team player.
Being the parent of a junior rep cricketer is no doubt something to be proud of. And of course you want your child to have every success, there is nothing wrong with that. But as parents it is also important to ensure you also instil the ‘team first’ mantra in your son or daughter.
What good is it too teach your child that their personal score is more important then the teams overall performance? How embarrassing must it be for your child if they find out you complained to the coach about their lack of overs or number in the batting order?
Do not shout from the sidelines if your child goes out slogging or taking a risky second run for the teams cause. Be proud that your child has embraced the team ethos and culture that could set them up to enjoy the rest of their cricketing life.
Junior Rep Carnivals can be the start of many great things for young cricketers. It can confirm their love of the game, it can be the beginning of some incredible friendships, or of course their own personal cricketing journey. Let’s all play our part whether it be as coaches teaching the importance of being a team member or parents being proud of the cricketer our child is becoming.