I was recently lucky enough to speak to Neil Rider, manager of the Ashes holding England Women. He's an expert coach with plenty to say on cricket coaching, fitness and psychology: Much of which club cricketers can take into their games.
An Interview With Neil Rider
Can you run us through a typical training session with England?
There would be no typical training session as such, but a weekend training camp is likely to include technical and tactical batting / bowling workshops, fielding drills and scenarios, tactical awareness sessions, media training, sports science support to include nutritional, psychological and physiological input.
On top of the sessions that we have as a squad the England players all have their own one to one coaches that they work with to enhance their game, and they all have their own fitness coaches / programmes that they work to 3-4 times per week.
How much emphasis do you put on fitness?
Fitness is certainly becoming a bigger and bigger part of a cricketers practice programme. Put simply, the fitter you are, the longer you will be able to perform at your optimum whether that be at club level or International level. The only tip I would give to club cricketers would be to find a form of fitness that you enjoy doing. Fitness doesn’t have to be about joining a gym and going on long runs on the treadmill, find a squash partner or go for a challenging swim!
What about sport psychology?
In any sport, the difference between the best players in the world comes down to 80% mental approach and 20% technical ability. Therefore it is crucial to have that edge over your opponent which is something we have been working on a lot over the last few years with England and it paid dividends in beating Australia to regain the Ashes.
What is the secret to good coaching?
I think the secret to good coaching is to ensure that you make it structured, fun & enjoyable with positive learning outcomes
Do you recommend club players taking coaching qualifications?
Yes, as you will always learn something and you certainly will pick up hints, tips, tricks and new ideas from other coaches on the course. As to how far people can progress will be dictated by the amount of ability and experience they have as a coach.
Neil Rider has been working with England for the last 5 years and is now Manager of the team. He has played minor counties cricket, is an experienced senior coach and runs the excellent cricket equipment site Serious Cricket.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008