New coaching requirement coming for school cricket

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, July 07, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester— Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has announced that it will implement a Level One certification requirement for people coaching in its competitions next season.

“We are trying to ensure that we lift the quality of cricket at the high school level. Therefore, one of the requirements come the 2019 season will be for all coaches at the high schools to have at least Level One certification,” George Henry, ISSA's chairman of rural cricket, told the Jamaica Observer.

“This [coaching certification] can be acquired through seminars and workshops done by the Jamaica Cricket Association through Cricket West Indies,” he said during Wednesday's high school cricket awards ceremony in Mandeville.

Henry stressed the importance of young, prospective cricketers being exposed to proper coaching before bad habits become deeply ingrained.

“We want to ensure that all our coaches are professionally trained. There are people who claim that they played the game some years ago and they just go into cricket coaching without knowing the fundamentals of coaching.

“We want them to be able to offer guidance to these youngsters so that they get it right from day one. Our aim and intention is to ensure that cricket is back in the limelight, and one of the ways is to ensure that we have the most qualified persons guiding our youngsters,” Henry explained.

Coaches of two of the more prominent and successful teams during the just ended season welcome the move.

“It is something that is needed to grow the sport. If you do not have qualified coaches then our youngsters will struggle,” said Gibbs Williams, who guided Wolmer's Boys' to both the urban area and all-island titles at the Under-14 and Under-16 age group levels.

“Once we identify the talent from physical education (PE) classes then it's the qualified coaches we need to take on and harness that talent. We're hoping that all schools will get qualified coaches to help move the cricket forward,” Williams continued.

St Elizabeth Technical High School's Clive Ledgister, awarded coach of the year after winning the rural area Under-19 Headley Cup and all-island Spalding Cup competitions, had similar sentiments.

“It's a pretty good idea—all coaches need to have at least first-hand background, at least at the lower level, as to how to coach youngsters. Most of these schools have just a PE teacher or just someone at the school representing them. To teach the basic fundamentals of cricket you at least need to have a Level One certificate and I think that's the best way to go,” Ledgister, whose team also won the Twenty20 title, told the Observer.

Henry said the high schools' sporting body will also focus on promoting the safety and well-being of students who are in the care of coaches.

“We are also going to require coaches to attend the Child Care and Protection Act workshops to be run by the JCA. We are also going to be requiring police records from the coaches.

“We may not have evidence [against some coaches], but we have reports of certain abuse of players and that sort of thing. We want to cut that out, so we want all our coaches to be given a clean bill of health,” Henry reasoned.

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