Coach Education in the 1970’s
We are indebted to Tom Savage, long time playing member and coach at St.Georges, who submits this recollection from the 1970’s
Before ECB took over cricket coaching nationally, cricket coaching was done by the Association of Cricket Coaches, a voluntary organisation which had by the 70’s thousands of members. Brian Foulkes who played for Shifnal and then later Newport was the treasurer and also arranged an annual cricket coaching weekend conference at Lilleshall National Recreation Centre. It consisted of talks by cricket coaches, often professional cricketers, practice sessions and a few 8 aside cricket games on the astra turf area. On the Saturday night there was a splendid dinner in Lilleshall Hall itself, which usually had two guest speakers, a professional cricketer and a comedian. I remember a rather amusing story told by the original president of the Cricket Coaches Association, Sutcliffe by name. He had been amateur captain of Yorkshire in his playing days, at the time most of the counties were captained by amateur players (unwaged). When he retired from county cricket he was asked to take over the recently formed Cricket Coaches Association and set up ‘group coaching’ nationally. He was a well educated and connected young man from a wealthy family and with a degree from either Oxford or Cambridge University. The MCC gave him a secretary, free of charge, to help him in the task. He and his secretary set up a presentation; his secretary would show slides of cricket being played in all parts of the world, Australia, South Africa, India, Canada Denmark etc. Sutcliffe would then give a talk on ‘group cricket coaching’, where a coach takes a group of players rather than working on a one to one basis. On one occasion they were travelling by train to a village or small town somewhere out in the countryside, it was raining heavily that evening. When they arrived at the station the club president was there to meet them and he took them by car to the village hall. The hall was set up with a slide projector on the stage and all the chairs laid out. It was then about 6.30pm. The president explained that there would be a large audience, but he could not stay because he had to visit his wife who was in hospital.
It got to 6.50pm with no audience, still no one at 6.55pm, at 7pm a fellow wearing a flat cap came through the door, looked around, then moved along and sat in the middle of the back row. 7.10pm still no more arrivals likewise at 7.20pm. At this point Sutcliffe said to his secretary ‘’The bad weather’s put everyone off. I think we may as well go’’. ‘’Wait a minute, there has one man come and he has made his way here through this filthy weather, he must be very keen to learn about group cricket coaching. I think we owe it to him to deliver the talk’’. ‘’ Since you put it that way I suppose we ought to do it’’ said Sutcliffe. So the secretary showed his slides of cricket being played all over the world. Then Sutcliffe got up and gave his talk on ‘group cricket coaching’, the reason for it, the personalities involved, how to do it etc and at the end more out of force of habit he said ‘’Are there any questions’’?
It was then that the flat capped fellow in the middle of the back row got up and said ‘’I have a question. ‘’What time are you leaving? I’ve got to lock this place up when you leave’’.