WICB coaching workshop worthwhile By Dr. Michael Seepersaud
Stabroek News
March 31, 2002

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AS head of the West Indies Cricket Board's Development Unit, it was thrilling to see the support given to the two coaching workshops that were held in Trinidad during the first week of March.

The WICB is very happy with the results of the coaching review programme and the upskilling of accredited coaches that took place during that marvelous period between March 5 and 11 in Port of Spain.

Judging by the submissions of the participants at the two workshops, we feel that we can now layout a purposeful and dynamic development programme for West Indies cricket that will help us to once more produce world class cricketers the way we did in times past.

The first workshop involved a number of past Test greats, including Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Vivian Richards, Seymour Nurse and Rev. Wes Hall, the president of the WICB.

In addition, nearly two dozen qualified coaches from throughout the region benefitted from the upskilling programme and have returned to their respective nations armed with the kind of new coaching techniques that should help to revolutionise the game in the region.

By all accounts, the objectives of the workshops were achieved. One participant said this was the best thing to happen to him since he gave his life to the Lord.

This is indeed testimony to the excellent work done by the facilitators Ashleigh `Toot' Byron and Tim Coyle from Australia, and the relevance of the workshops at this time in the development of West Indies cricket.

Specifically, the workshops achieved the following: (1) a consensus on the WICB articulated coaching accreditation structure; (2) agreement on the contents of the Levels I, II and III coaching programmes; (3) consensus on the need for a WICB Coaching manual and content areas; (4) exposure to the application of biomechanical principles to the coaching of cricket; and (5) exposure to various methodologies and techniques in coaching the various cricket disciplines.

The curriculum outline has been completed and the draft of the coaching manual is now being edited so there are definite measurable outcomes.

The additional skills acquired by participating coaches are intrinsic and will certainly be exposed in the quality of coaching that will be done in their respective territories.

In addition to the learning that took place, the WICB has embarked on a process of harnessing the expertise of past and present players who would like to make a contribution to cricket development.

The workshops were organised by the WICB development unit in pursuance of its objective of creating the infrastructure for the sustained development of cricket talent.

This infrastructure, of which the coaching programme is an integral part, can be considered as the great invisible enabler, the substance behind the scenes, the skeleton around which our cricket will be built.

These workshops are initial steps essential to create that development infrastructure and will assist in providing a cadre of qualified coaches capable of moulding the technique and character of our players, coaches who are in touch with modern methods and approaches, and a coaching structure that is both effective and efficient.

This is just the first step. There is much more to be done if we are to realise the goal of returning West Indies cricket to its winning ways.

Dr. Michael Seepersaud is chief cricket development officer of the West Indies Cricket Board.