Coaching in County Cricket: what better place to learn

Wellington Firebirds’ Assistant Coach, Glenn Pocknall, has been taking us on a journey through his development as a coach. In this week’s post, he looks back five years to a northern hemisphere summer spend with Sussex in the UK.

You can read Glenn’s previous post here.


 

It’s fair to say I was extremely pumped to be in Brighton, UK, in April 2012 to have a season with English County Cricket Club, Sussex. Being able to work with a professional organisation who have been specialising in the game for many years was going to be a great opportunity to learn, develop and expand my experience.

After getting over the initial drama of being held captive by custom’s officials for six hours at Heathrow Airport, it was good to be back overseas in a new environment chasing my dreams.

On arrival at the county ground I met with Director of Professional Cricket, Keith Greenfield, and I knew I was going to get a lot out of this experience from the outset. He went over my day-to-day programme for my six month period, kitted me out, and showed me to my accommodation which was effectively on-site.

Straight away you felt valued and knew they took care of the little things.

My programme was very diverse and had me working in various roles with teams ranging from age group representative up to the County 1st XI. This gave me an overview of all areas and a chance to sample how things were run across the board from a coaching perspective.

My biggest buzz would be when working with the 1st and 2nd XI teams as this was the direction I was heading towards and where I felt I would get the most value from a purely selfish point of view.

My previous trip to Holland was more of a self-discovery experience about me and my motivations. This trip was more about learning about how professional cricket functions successfully as this would be the best environment possible for that.

Whilst working with the 1st XI over the season, it was clear they were very value-driven. What had gone on in the past was everywhere in the form of photos all over the club. Teams winning, teams celebrating, legends of the club, milestones achieved, and the other piece that they had displayed was their leadership credo. This was a summary of all things Sussex Cricket from the vision to the expected behaviours. It was very inspiring to read and it was referenced by coaches and players to bring it to life on numerous occasions during the season.

The club had a clear identity of who it was and it was displayed for all to see.

It was a great summer being involved with a professional cricket organisation and the biggest thing I took away from my experience with Sussex was the importance of attention to detail. This was in relation to everything they did to prepare for the season and games, and how they reviewed performance. By taking care of all the little things and showing this attention to detail it insured the team and individuals were prepared for pressure situations.

Pressure is what you feel when you are asked to do a task for which you are unprepared.

When you must bowl a dot ball on the last ball of the game to win it and haven’t been through this scenario both in your head and in practice then your mind will be all over the place and you will feel immense pressure.

Ultimately the only pressure you will feel is the pressure you place on yourself. Preparation dispels pressure because it builds confidence in your skills.

The Sussex team were very good at preparing, reviewing, and taking learnings from all situations. This approach gave them the best chance of success and was a key part of my learnings as a coach that I could use in the future.