Berbice Cricket Board launches historic Youth Coaching Manual

- COVID-19 restrictions made it a matter of necessity

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By Avenash Ramzan

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In an effort to intensify grassroot development, the Berbice Cricket Board on Wednesday launched the first-ever Youth Cricket Manual.

Labelled as historic, the manual is geared to simplify the coaching process, targeting youths in the county. The official launch took place at the Board’s office at New Amsterdam, in the presence of coaches and budding talents of the county.

President of the Berbice Cricket Board, Hilbert Foster, who conceptualised the project, said its realisation is a commitment of his administration to develop every young cricket talent in the county.

“Today the Berbice Cricket Board is becoming the first-ever cricket board in Guyana, and perhaps the West Indies, to publish a coaching manual for its own cricketers, and which will play a major part in the development of cricket in Berbice,” Foster remarked.

Youth cricketers of Berbice pose with the booklet (Photo: Avenash Ramzan/September 22, 2021)

Foster said it is his hope all youth cricketers in the county would use the historic coaching manual to develop their game and follow in the footsteps of the outstanding players before them.

The booklet, Foster indicated, has been dedicated to the memory of the late coach Michael Hyles, who passed away in August 2021.

The idea to print a manual became a matter of necessity, since COVID-19 restrictions meant all of the Board’s planned interactive and face-to-face coaching programmes had to be shelved.

That is when the board summoned its coaches- among them the late Hyles- to utilise their expertise and brainstorm ideas to make the manual a reality.

The certified coaches in Berbice are Winston Smith, Julian Moore, Balram Samaroo, Anthony D’Andrade, Travis Harcourt, Leslie Solomon, Andre Percival, Tremayne Smartt, Delbert Hicks and Esuan Crandon.

Berbice Cricket Board President Hilbert Foster (Photo: Avenash Ramzan/September 22, 2021)

The objectives of the booklet are to expand the Berbice Cricket Board’s coaching programme, to allow youths to indulge in self-coaching at home and to assist clubs that do now have coaches at their disposal.

“We’re hoping that the officials of the clubs would use the booklet to work along with the cricketers. The young cricketers- Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19- because we have been unable to practice for close to a year and a half, we’re hoping that this booklet, which is of the highest quality, would assist them to work at home to improve their cricket,” Foster explained.

“If there is any doubt (in the minds of the cricketers), when we have our cricket academies they can work along with the coaches to improve themselves.”

From left: President Hilbert Foster, coaches Leslie Solomon, Winston Smith, Travis Harcourt and Julian Moore and Editor Ameer Rahaman with the booklet (Photo: Avenash Ramzan/September 22, 2021)

Coaches reactions

Julian Moore: “Let me commend the President for his vision and his leadership in coming up with the idea. It’s one thing to come up with an idea to do something like this, but I think the hardest part is bringing it to fruition. I must commend him; I must commend the team that worked on this book. As the name of the book suggests- Youth Coaching Manual- it is targeting the Under-13s straight up to the Under-19s. Keeping that in mind, the content was carefully worded to reach that audience. We tried to keep it as simple as possible, in keeping with the best coaching practices in coaching youngsters. So it’s a book any youngster can pick up and find it straight to the point and very simple to understand.”

Winston Smith: “The principles and guidelines in this book are unique for coaches at the youth level, up to Under-19. We tried to keep it simple and within one of the principles we use in coaching- the KISS principle- to ‘Keep It Super Simple’ as possible. I hope that the intention of this book would serve all the clubs in Berbice that don’t have coaches. It wasn’t an easy task for us, but at the end of it we were successful.”

Leslie Solomon: “I would like to thank my fellow coaches, along with all those who helped us, directly and indirectly, to make this a success. I know that the legends of Berbice cricket would be very pleased with this gesture, because it is a guarantee that what they have done in the past will be carried on.”

A layout of the various umpiring signals contained in the booklet (Photo: Avenash Ramzan/September 22, 2021)

Areas covered in the Youth Coaching Manual

  • Attributes of a good batsman
  • Bat grip
  • Stance
  • Forward defense
  • Straight drive
  • Cover drive
  • On-drive
  • Pull shot
  • Back foot defense
  • Back foot drive
  • Sweep shot
  • Cut shot
  • Fast bowling
  • Off-spin bowling
  • Leg-spin bowling
  • Left-arm orthodox bowling
  • Fielding- Long barrier, Two-hand interception, Under-arm throw
  • Close catching, High catching, Throwing
  • Wicketkeeping- Crouch, Positioning, Glovework, Footwork, Concentration
  • Running between the wickets
  • Mental approach to batting
  • Mental approach to the game
  • Umpire signals
  • Ways of dismissal in cricket
  • Berbice Test cricketers
  • Berbice Female West Indies cricketers
  • Importance of discipline
  • Importance of physical fitness
  • Benefits of physical preparation

The 32-page, full-colour booklet will be distributed free of cost to young cricketers throughout the county. Foster served as the Editor-in-Chief, while Moore and Ameer Rahaman served as Editors and Gregory Rambarran the Proofreader.

Dr. Cecil Beharry and Rovin Bahadur were in charge of financing, while Journalist Brandon Corlette provided the photography.

The manual was designed and printed by J’s Printery, Rubberstamps and Signs of Chapel Street, New Amsterdam, Berbice.

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