None of the above would be possible without the support of a strong and effective coaching structure.
Coach Education is a critical aspect of the overall game development and it is therefore regarded as one of the priority areas of South African Cricket.
CSA Coaches Academy
The Coaches Academy is managed by the Manager: Coaching, Cricket South Africa in consultation with the respective provincial affiliates, and aims to:
• Keep abreast with the latest technical developments taking place in other cricketing countries in order to update South Africa’s coaching system;
• Monitor the criteria of the various coaching levels in order to maintain uniformity;
• Broaden the base by coaching new coaches;
• Supply quality coaches to the system.
Courses and certificates
The main objective of the Coaches Academy is to coordinate and control the training, qualification and certification of cricket coaches, and the Academy offers the following courses:
Mini Cricket (Fundamental Phase)
This certificate enables coaches/teachers to coach Mini Cricket to children under the age of 10 years. Mini Cricket is the simplest form and a modified version of the game, and is regarded as the introductory level for both coaches and players. Coaches need not necessarily have any previous cricketing experience.
The duration of the course is 10 hours and candidates are expected to complete a 1-hour theoretical exam and a 10-minute practical session.
Orientation Course (Preparatory Phase)
The purpose of this course is to introduce aspirant coaches to the hard-ball version of the game and prepare potential Level I candidates. Topics include the most basic laws and terminology of cricket, pitch measurements and other technical dimensions, as well as the basic playing skills. The only requirement to attend this 6-hour course (3 x 2-hour modules) is that a candidate must be at least 16 years of age.
No evaluation or exam is necessary and candidates receive a certificate of attendance.
Level One (Basic Skills Coach)
The Level I course is designed to enable successful candidates to coach basic cricket skills and to organise an effective practice or training session for junior cricketers. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have a sound understanding of the game. Course duration is 18 hours and assessment includes an hour-and-a-half theoretical exam and a practical evaluation.
Level Two (Intermediate Skills Coach)
To register for this course, a candidate must be 21 years of age and have held a revised Level I certificate (post 2005) for at least 12 months. This serves as an entry level for first-class cricketers and a holder of this certificate should be able to coach any school or junior club side with confidence. The course covers all aspects of coaching and various teaching methods, as well as practice organisation and planning.
A 3-week self-study period is followed by a 24-hour course (8 x 3-hour modules) while the overall evaluation consists of a pre-course assignment, two-hour theoretical exam and practical assessment. Candidate-coaches are required to conduct community coaching sessions that form part of their ‘work experience’.
Level Three (Senior Skills Coach)
Whereas all the above-mentioned courses are conducted by the provinces, the Level III & IV programmes are the responsibility of the CSA office.
The affiliates annually nominate experienced and suitably qualified Level II coaches (revised 2005 course) to attend this particular course, while CSA reserves the right to invite or select individuals at its discretion to enable the nominees who have the necessary coaching experience to become competent provincial youth, academy and senior club coaches.
The 5-day, 34-hour course covers the technical/tactical aspects of the game and includes more advanced topics and principles of sport science and medicine. Emphasis is also placed on skill assessment methods to assist the coach with individual technique analysis, error detection and fault correction.
The theoretical assessment consists of a pre- and post-course assignment, a 2-hour written examination and an individual presentation during the course, while the practical evaluation comprises a video analysis section, a one-on-one as well as a group coaching session.
Level Four (High Performance Cricket)
This is the highest cricket coaching qualification currently obtainable in South Africa and is mainly for professional, career coaches working within the national and domestic professional structures. Attendance is by CSA invitation only.
The emphasis and focus is mainly on team and individual game plans, analysing the opposition and different conditions, strategic management, sports law and the use of technology. Successful candidates will be qualified to undertake cricket coaching at its highest possible level.
The course lasts a period of 10 days (2 x 5-day contact sessions) and focuses on coaching styles and man-management skills. In addition to these interactive workshops and group discussions, the professional coaches are required to submit detailed pre- and post-course assignments and write a 3-hour examination, with an emphasis on strategies, tactics and foreign playing conditions.
The Coaches Academy also focuses on the continued development of qualified, certified coaches and places a strong emphasis on improving the ‘soft skills’ of coaches. Quite simply, quality coaches will produce quality cricketers and it is imperative that we constantly improve the standard of coaches and coaching in our country. As a result, a number of training programmes are in place to accelerate the growth of coaches around the country.
Senior Coaches Conference
Professional coaches operating at the top end of the Cricket Pipeline are invited to attend the annual conference in August – National Team Management, Franchise and Semi-Pro Coaches, CSA High Performance and Specialist Skills Coaches as well as Provincial Coaching Managers gather for 4 days to discuss critical issues related to Leadership, and to stay abreast with developments and trends in coaching internationally. Furthermore, it is an ideal opportunity to communicate matters of national interest and ensure a unified approach to strategic objectives.
CSA Coaching Consultants facilitate the conference programme that includes interaction with some of CSA’s commercial partners and event sponsors.
The Coach Acceleration Programme was introduced in 2009 and was originally aimed at the provincial age-group coaches in charge of the respective squads that participate in the annual national tournaments.
These coaches are invited to the Centre of Excellence once a year to spend a couple of days in the company of senior, experienced coaches and enhance their overall coaching skills. As mentioned elsewhere, these camps focus primarily on the improvement of ‘soft skills’ and creating the kind of environments that will produce self-reliant cricketers who in turn, take responsibility for their own growth and development.
CAP camps have since been extended at regional level to provide similar training opportunities for coaches operating at HUBS/RPC’s, schools and clubs across the country.
Coaching forums have become an integral and vital component of the overall coach education programme, as well as the annual provincial coaching calendars, and have the following aims & objectives:
• to provide opportunities for coaches to network and build relationships;
• to develop a standardised approach and shared vision, and ultimately an integrated and unified pipeline;
• to promote interaction with management structures;
• to upskill coaches, build greater capacity, facilitate personal growth and contribute towards continual development.
Each affiliate implements these forums according to their individual needs and specific requirements; some provinces have centralised forums while others that serve vast areas and have greater distances to travel, have established these on a regional basis.
In addition to the provincial forums, similar roundtable discussions are held during the December age-group tournaments for all the junior provincial coaches.
Practical Training Opportunities for Developing Coaches
CSA utilises the various Elite Player Development programmes to assist with the personal growth and development of identified provincial coaches.
The SA U/19, National Academy and other High Performance programmes provide ideal opportunities for regional coaches to work extensively with more senior, experienced professional coaches and expose the younger coaches to international competition. This obviously includes accompanying such representative national teams or squads on overseas tours that in turn introduce them to foreign playing styles and conditions. This similarly applies to the SA Women’s team commitments and events.
Mentors & Master Coaches
CSA has appointed Master Coaches and Coaching Mentors at the semi-professional and provincial age-group levels respectively to guide, mentor and assist coaches in the execution of their roles and their further development.
It is the role of the Master Coaches and Mentors to assess the quality of coaching within these systems and structures, and to make appropriate recommendations in terms of the areas of coach development that may be required.