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When you start thinking to be a professional..... | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Posted in: All other coaching children topics

When you start thinking to be a professional.....

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  • Hi Everyone,

    I have a talented kid 11 year old kid in my cricket coaching group and he likes cricket, his parents would like him to be professional cricketer. He has got the ability but parents are not sure if he is passionate about his game or is it too early to judge and should he be left alone to enjoy the game but when is is the right time to start thinking about it before realising it is too late.

    Age related county teams prefer players who have been under their umbrella from young age. Any thoughts will be appreciated.

     · Rob Maaye and Andrew Beaven like this.
     
  • Hi Nimesh

    Always great to see some highly skilled players coming through, and a great challenging developing them further!

    There are some interesting areas to think through and separate them out from the child.

    1. Parents ambitions. I see lots of parents ambitions that end up dwarfing and exceeding the ambitions of their children. I'd hope the parents primary ambition is for their son to be happy and enjoy being active but that can often get lost. The main objective should be to nurture the young player's passion for the game and learning. What the young player wants to be needs to come from them and its a rocky road when the adults around them have had the idea before the young player and impose it on them.

    I'd suggest getting 'The Winning Parent' by Danny Massaro, its a really useful guide for parents. Have a read through it and then share it with the young player's parents.

    2. I'd avoid giving any messages along the lines of 'You have the ability' to the young player. Believing you are 'talented' or 'have the ability' can easily become labels and as we know ability and talent don't automatically get you where you want to go. There are a whole host of other behaviours and attitudes that all athletes require to realise their potential. Focus on exciting him about the process of learning and improving and taking on challenges and improving skills he hasn't yet mastered.

    Have a read of a blog that I wrote for Connected Coaches that links to praise and challenge. https://www.connectedcoaches.org/spaces/10/welcome-and-general/blogs/general/4247/growth-industry-advocating-a-mindset-revolution-in-coaching#750

    3. I'd avoid the word 'professional' as well. Find out about what actual goals on the pitch he might have, or dreams of the level he wants to play. From personal experience alot of young players end up aiming to get a contract without focusing on the things that will help them realise that ambition. When they get a contract they find themselves enjoying the trappings of 'being a professional' rather than loving the game and enjoying the opportunity to play it a lot. Keeping them in touch with the joy of simply playing is vital.

    In summary I'd just keep talking to him about whatever aspect of cricket he loves eg his favourite player, team, what ever is exciting him and nurture that. I'd also recommend him to your local district or county for a trial and they'll be able to provide all the support and advice to you, him and parents.

    Hope that helps and let me know if you need any more help.

    Jeremy

     · Andrew Beaven and Nimesh Patel like this.
     
  • Hi Nimesh,

    Not my sport but I have a son who really enjoys playing the game and making social connections along the way.

    Whether talented or having great potential, I tend to lean towards letting a child that age enjoy the game and the process of improving.

    Setting targets such as 'becoming a professional' are acceptable goals to have but many things such as physical growth, opportunity and circumstances are along the route. The danger of the target could perhaps lead to perceptions of failure along the way and fear of disappointing others, resulting in lower motivation or a fear of challenge.

    Perhaps the target for the child could become 'Be the best cricketer I can possibly be' and see where that path goes, with coaches and parents supporting and guiding along the way. No reason he couldn't reach the pinnacle?

    The best answer (usually always) will come from the child themselves. What does he think?

    Rich

     · Andrew Beaven, Jeremy Frith and 1 other like this.
     
  • Hi Nimesh

    Welcome to ConnectedCoaches - always good to see more cricket coaches reaching out to the wider coaching community.

    I agree with everything Jeremy has posted - concentrate on attitude and passion rather than the professional contract that might be at the end of the pathway.

    On 28/06/17 13:39, Nimesh Patel said:

    ...when is is the right time to start thinking about it before realising it is too late.

    Don't wait too long, I'd say.  Your profile doesn't say where you are based, but I assume UK from the reference to county age group.  Your player will presumably be moving to secondary school next term - lots of distractions outside sport (not least looming GCSEs - yes, even for yr 7 those exams are on the (distant) horizon).  The game loses lots of players after the U13 age group, some of them really strong prospects.

    I would recommend getting a first step onto the pathway next season, if possible.  With Club first, if he or she is not already playing, then onwards from there.  Some Clubs start "winter" nets for their juniors in November, others as late as March or even April - "early" does not necessarily equate with "best", but a late start won't give much scope to prepare and improve before the season starts.

    On 28/06/17 13:39, Nimesh Patel said:

    ....

    Age related county teams prefer players who have been under their umbrella from young age.

    There certainly does appear to be a bias towards existing “county” players – once in the system, the player becomes “one of theirs” and others are "outside" – understandable, perhaps, in terms of time and/or money invested in their development.

    Some Counties operate “Development” and “Performance” squads in parallel, the latter being the full representative side, the former providing the gateway into the rep teams for the next level of players. Others structure District cricket and annual trials as the entry point to County age group.

    Whatever system your local County operates, it is going to be a lot easier to work within it than outside.

    Having said that, I know of one young player who did not go through the County age-group systems but persisted to get a professional contract and is now being spoken of (by commentators much better qualified than me) as a potential international. But I know this took a lot of hard work, and I suspect this work was made even harder by being outside the mainstream.

    FWIW I don’t coach a County age-group squad, myself, but I do work with several coaches who do. It is very rare to hear of a player being dropped from a squad because they are no longer considered to be good enough as a player; sadly a common occurrence for players to be sent back to club or district because they are not prepared to take on advice about fitness, lifestyle or attitude.  Jeremy's comments are especially pertinent.

     · Nimesh Patel likes this.
     
  •   Answered
    On 29/06/17 13:53, Rich Bland said:

    The best answer (usually always) will come from the child themselves. What does he think?

    I’d go deeper.

    How much cricket does your prospect play? Practice once a week? Two or three practice sessions, and a game at the weekend? Every day? Are they passionate about playing the game? Do they display that passion?

    The 10,000 hours myth has, I think, been thoroughly de-bunked, now (the only guaranteed outcome from practicing for 10,000 hours is that you will be 10,000 hours older), but willingness to engage in practice, structured or unstructured, supervised or voluntary, is going to be essential to development.

     · Nimesh Patel likes this.
     
  • Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

    Andrew, I think you have got it spot on. It is hard to know what is going through mind of a year 7 kid but eventually they have to decide whether they want to do it it or not. Yes there is an effort being put in practice and matches but probably only when supervised but this is with all kids at this age, right.

    And you are correct when you say players are dropped due to their attitude, fitness and lifestyle. It is a pity some counties do not have development squads but only performance squad because of which some players feel dejected to be left out and go back to their clubs to find that they are better than their club team mates, then it is up to them to either bounce back or lose interest in the game.

    Regards

    Nimesh

     
  • Hi Nimesh.

    Its best to get the lad playing district cricket at his age, from there whichever county you are in, the coaches should spot and develop him from there on in.

     
  • On 30/06/17 1:39 PM, Nimesh Patel said:

    Yes there is an effort being put in practice and matches but probably only when supervised but this is with all kids at this age, right.

    Hi Nimesh,

    I coach field hockey, not cricket, but the same signs of real keenness to develop should emerge. For me, that means kids being really excited to go to their training sessions, to taking bat and ball everywhere, playing in the garden, in the house (against parents wishes usually for fear of breakage!).

    The key aspect is that he enjoys his sport as a fun change from schoolwork or anything else. And then over time as he gets older he will need to become determined to improve, becoming inquisitive and asking coaches and other players for advice etc. There is of course no specific age, but from my experience in hockey, kids don't become self-aware of what they want to achieve in their sport until they are 14 or 15, at least. Anything before that is likely to come from the parents in the majority of cases. Unless of course the player stands out by a mile an is pushed up age groups from an early age.

    Hope this helps in some way.

     · Nimesh Patel likes this.
     
  • Hi Kiran,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I feel what you are saying does make sense, I have only coached younger kids so far, hence I was not sure by what age this self awareness comes, now I know that we need to be a bit more patient for them to understand how far they want to take there game.

    Regards

    Nimesh

     
  • At this age i would like to see the child having fun and enjoying many sports before specialisation. If the child is motivated to play cricket they will find a way. Each child is individual and will find their time if exposed to enough positive experiences to take the next step. The fun and social aspect of sport will provide part of their motivation to to take part.

     
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