By Ryan Cook
Having recently concluded a High Performance Camp in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, as part of a launch event for the partnership of Gary Kirsten Cricket with Starfield Sports, an academy involved in various sports with cricket as its flagship, I was amazed by the unbridled passion and love for the game which I saw in this developing nation at the grassroots level. Both players and coaches exuded an enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge which was truly remarkable and the signs of a spark which could alight something special in the region.
It was certainly an incredible experience for the cricketers who attended the 5 day program, getting to work with the GKC High Performance coaching team. The cricketing system that Starfield have put in place has all the makings of a pipeline which if managed correctly will reap great rewards in years to come. Emphasis and investment is also being directed at the coaches and there is no illusion that they will be key drivers of the success of this program.
Prior to the Camp, the GKC conducted a Coach Education workshop for 25 coaches who are involved in the setup for Kenyan Cricket and Starfield Sports. These 2 days were enlightening and covered a range of topics from player management to practical competencies for a coach as well as the relevant fundamentals of the technical aspects of the game. Having received their accreditations, these coaches will no doubt be more confident and competent to continue to improve themselves and the players that they work with at all levels of the game.
Famous coach, John Wooden, was famously quoted for saying, “No written word, nor spoken plea, can teach our youth what they should be. Nor all the books on all the shelves, it’s what the teachers are themselves” and no saying is more fitting for a GKC coaching team that left their mark on this African region with energy and expertise which will last for years to come in the hearts and minds of the players and coaches. Kenya also made its impression on the GKC coaches who left with a fulfillment of a hard week of work and some impressive sock tans and croaky voices as a reminder… and isn’t this really what it is all about!