GCB outlines Academy Programme to coaches and administrators

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PRESS RELEASE BY THE GUYANA CRICKET BOARD

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Friday held a meeting with key stakeholders to outline its Academy Programme activities. Several cricket coaches and administrators from across the three counties of Guyana attended the event.

The programme is geared at engaging both boys and girls from the ages of 7-17 in cricket development activities, and will simultaneously give support to applicable personal development aspects of the individual.

The Academy Programme is proposed to bowl off in early 2023 and will comprise 18 academy locations across the country. Essequibo will have seven academy locations, with each of the Essequibo Cricket Board’s affiliate Committees being responsible for the conduct of the planned activities.

These Committees are Pomeroon, North Essequibo Coast, South Essequibo Coast, Bartica, Wakenaam, Leguan, and East Bank Essequibo.

The Demerara Cricket Board will benefit from academy centers to be set up within its affiliate locations of Upper Demerara, East Bank Demerara, West Demerara, Georgetown and East Coast Demerara.

Similarly, the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) will benefit from academy centers to be established in West Coast Berbice, West Bank Berbice, New Amsterdam/Canje, Lower Corentyne, Upper Correntyne and Berbice River.

The meeting witnessed Territorial Development Officer, Colin Stuart presenting on the overview of the programme and President of the GCB Bissoondyal Singh giving the feature address. A number of presentations were made by expert individuals within the fields of Coaching Education, First Aid, Child Protection, Umpiring, Psychology, Etiquette and Communication.

A representative from the St. John’s Association Thompson Akpotu impressed upon the gathering of the need to be effective First aid respondents.

He indicated that coaches should have the knowledge and ability to effectively attend to sudden instances that threaten the well-being and/or life of the players in their charge and to ensure that such individuals are kept as safe as possible until the relevant medical personnel arrives on the scene.

Justim Mounter a representative from the Child Care and Child Protection Agency commended the male coaches for their role in the nurturing of children.

He posited that the responsibility of care and protection of the children 7-17 that will be under their supervision is an enormous one, especially when one considers that some children lack the father’s care that was intended to exist within the home setting. Situations such as these widen the coaches’ mandate and require a higher level of mentorship in their coaching intervention.

He stressed the need for coaches to be able to recognise the signs of abuse and to appropriately report the instances of abuse. He pointed out that the coaches should readily have the Child Care and Child Protection’s 24-hour hotline numbers of 227-0779 and 914, the latter being a toll-free number so that immediate action can be taken.

Dawn Braithwaite, Director of Training for Camex Restaurants Inc. with responsibility for Churches Chicken, Marios Pizza, Dairy Queen and Pollo Tropical, also made a presentation at the meeting.

She elaborated on the value of etiquette in sports by shifting minds away from the usual apparent thoughts of it being table manners protocols.

She placed emphasis on their players’ and coaches’ social interaction with their colleagues and opponents, stressing good presentation in dress and decorum, and the need to foster personal communication by developing relationships within and beyond working relations.

She indicated that players and coaches will inevitably interact with colleagues who come from different home settings, and it will be essential that emphasis is also placed on emotional intelligence.

Further, Brathwaite commended the GCB for the well-intentioned initiative and indicated that she looked forward to the successful implementation of the program.

Journalist Alexander Ross addressed the gathering on the value of communication in sport. He said that player development is crucial individually and, holistically as it ensures that players are exposed to the importance of communication as it relates to cementing the importance of kinship, trust, and a sense of family ties.

Promoting positive routes of communication increases respect among players and improves overall motivation, Ross noted. He commended the GCB for the initiative and indicated that there are benefits to be derived from incorporating personal communication as a component of cricket development.

He remarked that it will “enable players to be more equipped to handle media interviews and conduct themselves professionally as they prepare to become ambassadors of their country. Coaches who learn to communicate effectively with their athletes and teams to a wider extent, help deliver positive feedback and constructive criticism in ways that actually influence players’ performance.’

He concluded by saying that “overall, the importance of communication is most crucial in the interaction within a team and will dictate how players work together, form a strong team bond, and react to the ups and downs while reinforcing their brotherhood, associated with the sport they are involved.”

Colin Alfred, a representative from the Guyana Cricket Umpires Council (GCUC), spoke on the importance of players and coaches being knowledgeable in the laws of the game, as well as the playing conditions.

He indicated that the playing conditions are designed for specific tournaments and supersede the laws for the respective tournaments. Further, he pointed out that where reference is not given to an aspect of the game within the respective playing conditions then the law will apply. He alluded to a number of instances at all levels in the game, domestic, regional, and international where decisions were not consistent with the applicable playing conditions.

Alfred stressed these instances reiterate the need for individuals to be cognisant of the laws and the applicable playing conditions so that instances of errors can be reduced.

Dr. Owen Hughes presented on the importance of mental toughness in sport and highlighted the value of a psychologist being added to the management staff of teams.

He indicated that while it is necessary for players to develop technical skills and physical fitness, mental preparation and match application are crucial to the consistent success of the player.

He alluded to the fact that a similar effort that is made by players to improve the technical aspect of the game must be made by players to prepare themselves mentally.

Dr. Hughes referenced a number of techniques that can be applied to help players mentally deal with the pressures of the game, which at times may include external pressures, life circumstances, and situations that may not be directly associated with the game.

Dr. Hughes is of the opinion that greater emphasis on the mental application of batting, bowling, and fielding will produce players of higher quality, players who can be consistently competitive at the international level.

Assistant Development Officer, Anthony D’ Andrade presented on the technical development and skill acquisition component of the programme.

He pointed out the need for coaches to guide the children’s technique using the recommended ways, but with respect for individuality, as the uniqueness of players should not be overlooked. He alluded to the fact, that the training sessions must also be designed to focus on the consistent execution of the skill.

Further, D’ Andrade highlighted areas of fitness assessment for players that are consistent with Cricket West Indies (CWI) fitness policy and standards.

He indicated that while the fitness requirements will be tailored to meet the needs of the varied aged groups within the 7-17 target population, it is essential that coaches begin to appropriately prepare players to meet CWI regional fitness requirements.

Apart from the overview of the programme, Territorial Development Officer, Colin Stuart also made presentations on Coaches’ Standards and Qualifications, Lifestyle, and People’s Competences.

He said that the GCB is seeking to utilise qualified coaches from within the Academy locations.

“In the absence of qualified coaches, we are aware that some locations may have knowledgeable individuals with some experience in coaching, and we are willing to work with these individuals where they are willing to get qualified. This is necessary to attain a common approach to coaching which has moved from us just delivering what to soach like a straight or cover drive to include teaching methods on how to coach such as explaining, gaining feedback, demonstrating, observing, analysing, and reviewing, all of which requires an understanding of how people learn.”

Stuart pointed out that lifestyle is an essential component of the players’ development which requires greater attention. There is a need to place emphasis on the value of rest, hydration and diet, and nutrition.

Also, there is a need for players to consider appropriate recreational activities that they engage in so that this does not negatively impact their opportunities to perform. For example, playing competitive soccer without the right safety equipment may render a player injured ahead of a regional tournament.

Players and coaches must also be cognisant of their role as an ambassador for their respective domestic teams, country, and/or regional teams. He alluded to the fact, that rules may change from club to club within a country, and laws may differ across countries.

Further, Stuart indicated that the coaches’ appraisal will include an evaluation of People’s Competences, including self-reflection and self-management, personal communication, teamwork, leadership, and negotiation since it will aid in the growth of the coaches.

GCB President Bissoondyal Singh Addressing the gathering at the Academy Meeting (Photo: GCB)

President of the GCB Bissoondyal Singh thanked the presenters and coaches for taking time out from their busy schedules to attend this important event, in which the GCB outlined its Academy Programme.

He said, “The GCB had outlined in its 5-year Strategic Plan the establishment of Academies across the country. I am proud that today, Friday, November 4, 2022, we have taken another step in realising the establishment of these Academies. We intend to commence Academy activities during the first half of 2023, with 18 Academy locations across the country. There will be seven in Essequibo, and five in Demerara, all of which will be set up in the respective Association/Committee locations. The other six Academies will be established within Berbice.”

The Academy will commence with the training of players on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 15:30h to 17:30h and Saturday mornings for three hours from 08:00h or 09:00h depending on the preferences of the coaches and administrators at the respective Academy Centers.

The personal development aspect of the players which addresses increased knowledge of the laws; improved the interviewee’s skills, appropriate lifestyle and etiquette, and an understanding of the people’s competence required for individual growth will all be incorporated into the technical, skill, fitness, and mental development activities.

It is hoped that programs such as these will help to give players an environment suitable for learning, one that will enable them to perform consistently well at the domestic, regional and international levels.

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