There is simple shorthand for what defines a good coach: reputation is everything. We look at a player's first-class or international record and that helps us decide if we should follow his advice.
But you wouldn’t go to the dentist if you had a broken leg. So why go to a former player to fix your broken technique?
Of course, experience goes a long way but coaching cricket is a completely different set of skills than playing.
A good coach is able identify issues in other people. He can communicate complex information in a manner that is understandable to the audience. He has to be flexible enough to deal with different personalities. He has to be dedicated to the improvement of others through continual development.
Good players may have those skills, but you don’t get them by being able to hit a cricket ball for six or bowl it at 100mph.
The false positive: social proof
Now, I do get it.
It’s tough to work out how a good a coach really is until you work with him. One way of deciding is based on the proof that he has coached himself to a high level. The logic is clear; if he knows how to do it, he can show you how to do it.
Many players do know, but many are vague and talk about working hard or just pass on advice that was taught to them by their coaches. There is no critical thinking or analysis.
Using a first-class record as proof of coaching skill is fatally flawed.
Meanwhile coaches with a more modest record are ignored. Some of these coaches are much better skilled in developing players than the high-profile names. Look at the likes of PitchVision coaches Gary Palmer, Mark Garaway and Adrian Shaw.
Their professional records are variable, but their coaching skills are unmatched.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all ex-internationals are poor coaches and all lesser skilled cricketers become world-class coaches. Many top players also have great coaching skill-sets.
We just need to recognise that experience has nothing to do with coaching skill.
That way the excellent coaches will rise to the top rather than the ones with the biggest names.
And if you want to get excellent coaching from coaches selected for their coaching abilities rather than their playing reputation, take a look at the PitchVision Academy courses section. Every coach is hand-picked to get you the best experience and the biggest improvement possible.
by David Hinchclife, PitchVision Academy
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