By Ryan Cook
How you do small things, is how you do all things
The GKC High Performance Academy which runs in Cape Town from November to February with aspiring and current first class cricketers from around the world has just come to an end. Upon its completion, it was time to take stock and reflect on the achievements and improvements made by each player and the group as a whole. There are various moving parts to this program being a successful process and taking players games to the next level, whether that be breaking into the first class system or pushing for higher honours on the international stage. Through a combination of a variety of experiences both on and off the field and intervention with some of the best players and coaches in the world these players certainly levelled up! But what can this teach us about High performance? Simply put it distills into one phrase, how you do small things is how you do all things!
Starting with the coaches, The GKC brings together a mix of staff whom are highly skilled in their respective spheres of influence and by combining the best thinking of all involved create a program which is seamless in its planning, communication and execution. The addition of specialist players and coaches to bolster the support the players receive is truly outstanding. At any given time, there can more than 7 coaches serving the players across a variety of tasks from throw downs to keeping practice to target bowling. Watching this coaching team operate is extraordinary in terms of their engagement, work rate and expertise but this is not even the remarkable aspect. What is special, is their level of detail to everything they do, especially the SMALL things. The players soon learn that in the intentionally created performance environment that the standards of excellence which are promoted are not only spoken of but are reinforced by action of the coaches consistently.
This places the player in a position to rise to the challenges with the support of people whom have their best interests at heart and what an effort they gave! It was with admiration and inspiration that I watched this group of young men embrace every experience that was thrown their way. This open minded approach and full engagement in every task was a hallmark of the 2018 HPA intake. Whether that be a steamy early morning mountain hike or the repetitive volume of balls struck in an attempt to ingrain a technical position, the attitude of the players was exceptional. Over the 4 months, I observed habits become embedded both on and off the field. The incremental small improvements made every day certainly add up with compound interest of time. It was then not surprising to see the conditioning results of a particular individual increase by 720 meters on the dreaded Yoyo test! What makes this story even more heartwarming was that his leadership inspired his fellow team mates to more awareness in their lifestyle and to greater heights in their fitness as he was not the only one to have that significant shift. When asking him what he attributed this to, he replied with our Performance specialist’s famous words…. “I plus-ed 1every day!”
The GKC HPA was full of learning for both coaches and players and it was a privilege to operate within a space which grows all individuals to be the best versions of themselves and adds value to those involved. Next year’s program will strive to be even better as we aim to do ALL things by paying attention to the SMALL things.