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Comrade Cricketer Champion Coach

Leave kids some space to explore their creativity. Everyday is not a great day in Cricket. Play long to grwo strong. Interview from Sadan Kumar, Head Coach, Howard Community Youth Cricket Board

Photo: Cricus

 How long have you been coaching?

I’ve been coaching for the last five years.

What are the teams have you coached so far?

Howard Community Youth Cricket Board (HCYCB) and Maryland State U14.

What motivated you to get into coaching?

I used to be a passionate fan of this game, then the same passion forced me to be a coach.

What is your philosophy of coaching?

Coaching is all about mentality of kids who brings in different skill sets. The fun factor is to go to kids’ level and work with them.

How do you deal with multiple skills in a cricketer?

This is a difficult question. All kids may not be 100% skilled in department, you observe each skill and treat them accordingly.

How do you plan to communicate your plans and expectations to parents?

This is one of the challenges. Every parent wants their kids to be a star. This creates a big pressure on kids. I tell them, to give enough space. Have patience and look at their growth. No expectations such as man of the match, awards, etc.  For example, some U14 kids in our team only improved game by game.

What do you believe is the proper role of parents in any sports program like Cricket?

Have patience. Keep motivating your kids. In Cricket, one will not have a great day every day. No extra pressure from parents help them play what they know. If I come across pressure from parents, I complete against them but I try to be with them.

How do you deal with players and parents about discipline issues either major or minor plus repeat offenses?

I set the expectations from day one. Ours is one family. No pinpointing. We’ve past experience. Everything is discussed after each game; nothing is spoken during the game. During the discussion, I take the blame if it’s a loss; let the team take the credit if it’s a win.

How do you deal with players and parents about concerns about playing techniques?

Different skills define different kids. He knows what is happening. Rome is not built in a day. I experience a lot of failures.  Learning back-foot shot during practices is easy but making sure they can apply it in the game is a big challenge. The more plays and practices; the more techniques to learn.

How do you deal with player commitments that impact missed practices?

I’m fine with those missed practice as long as the kid comes back to me and ask me what happened during the last practice. 150% commitment is what I expect out of our kids during practices.

What role do assistant coaches at all levels play in your program?

He’s as important as main coaches. He may not take right decisions; can complement the main coach. If they respect each other, the team will follow their foot prints.

Do you consider yourself a micro or macro manager?

I don’t do either I just provide comfort to my kids. I believe, everyone has maturity to understand their roles unless something else terribly goes wrong.

How do you plan to organize practice sessions?

Every practice, I come up with some innovative sessions. I let the kids to decide – bowling or batting or fielding.

Do you plan on running youth cricket camps or practices?

I’ve plans in advance but leave it to our kids to decide.

How would it be organized? Describe a typical camp day.

Cricket camps are of eight hours a day.

Do you plan on fundraising and what type of activities would you use?

We’re planning to conduct fundraising event, calling it Cricket Fest with more events and fun activities.

How would you deal with players and families that would not fundraise for whatever reason?

This is optional; I do not force kids to participate in any fund-raising events or activities.

Describe a typical net practice session.

I prefer minimum bowling machine but maximum throw down; use machines only to correct techniques. Throw downs get more variations whereas bowling machine is going to be straight throw which will not allow players to play different shots, pretty monotonous more than two overs.

Describe your off season program organization.

There is no off season in my calendar. I run 365 days.

How would you handle key players routinely not attending your sessions?

Nobody is a key player. All 11 players are key to win each game. No importance is given to single player. All playing XI must be dependable players. No single players are heroic material in m team because everyone goes through a cycle of highs and lows in a season; there is no single eternal hero in my team or any team of sports.

How would you promote community support for your Cricket program?

By bringing culture and cricket together.

How would your players be involved in community activities promoted by the Cricket program?

Approaching local schools to participate and demo it. We use experienced kids to promote it at community schools around our vicinity.

Describe the proper working relationship between a coach, cricketer, parents and the board.

It will happen when everybody does their job in their department and don’t step into others’ shoes.  Coach should provide right atmosphere and ambience for players to execute correctly during the match.

What are your academic and behavioral expectations for your players both on and off the ground?

All the kids hardly spend time with the parents; spend more time with the teachers and coaches instead. I firmly say that coach should be in proper mindset that influence the kids. The kids should feel that he is missing something if no practices are on, which is a big win for me.

What is your philosophy on discipline?

No philosophy for discipline. I do not enforce discipline. If the coaches follow basic disciplines, the team will follow as well. For example: I am at the ground 90 minutes before the game starts irrespective of rain or shine.

How do you plan on improving as a coach from year to year?

When I started coaching, it was different. I really thank all those kids to have made me a better coach. That’s how, I thank the parents as well. They give me an opportunity to be a coach. I take it as a pride.

Describe and give examples of your role as a role model for the players or your team and others.

Everybody is a star. I don’t tell anyone to follow. If I do, you’re suppressing someone’s learning or creativity or ability.

How would you assist and counsel your players that are being coached to play cricket in future?

I’d enhance those special skills and motivate them right direction on his strengths.  For example: A player who has ability of a power hitter must be a power hitter.

Describe your typical pre game, half time and postgame thought processes and discussions.

Mine is completely different. It might sound funny. I tell them, enjoy every ball of the game. Sync, talk, and motivate each other. Coming to strategies, I split them into 4 quarters, 5 overs each. That is my tactics.

How do you plan on motivating players and getting them to buy in to their role on the team each year?

Only motivation is that it should come from the parents. I motivate if only the kids are down. Have faith, crack jokes. Enjoy practice sessions. Chill and hang out with them. Watch movies, eating a meal together, etc.

How do you handle the practice and playing X1 process?

I’ll be fielding 14 players in every game based on availability. When I send out a team, I make sure everyone gets a chance. Everyone else gets a change in each game.

What is your philosophy in regards to juniors and freshman players to your team?

For example, Sham Krishna when he joined and represented our U14 team, he got out in the very first match due to his poor foot work. That foot work was not happening because he was scared of the ball. Next match, he faced 8 balls and scored 18 balls. Pace and speed of the ball.  That happened because I had a long conversation with him and gave him an example like how you try to kill the bees when they bite you. 

What other factors might influence your players?

Play long if sledged. It’s quiet natural that opponents apply all their techniques to disturb a good player or when they fear, they may lose the game. I ensure that my kids practice mental exercises to counter these types of challenges.

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