Cricket Ireland successfully completes pilot ‘Cricket Connects’ programme
Cricket Ireland, in partnership with Cork Sports Partnership, has completed the pilot online delivery of the brand-new participation initiative, Cricket Connects.
Training and working with residents of Direct Provision in Cork, Cricket Connects is a bespoke training programme of communication, awareness, and leadership skills that can be used to deliver person-centred cricket coaching to local community groups and clubs.
The programme saw the first Cricket Ireland programme ever to be delivered in full online with programme leader and tutor Ted Williamson congratulating the participants on ‘making history by being part of a major first for Cricket Ireland and a first for this programme’.
Partners Cork Sports Partnership highlighted their enthusiasm for the growth of cricket locally as well as nationally. Maurice O’Sullivan, Sports and Marketing Manager commented:
“Cork Sports Partnership was delighted to partner with Cricket Ireland on this new Cricket Connects programme. Cricket has massive potential for growth in Ireland and these type of leadership programmes will certainly help with increasing that participation base by providing potential volunteers and leaders with the necessary skills to lead appropriate sessions. We look forward to scaling this project with Cricket Ireland and our other partners in the very near future.”
Image: Participants enjoy an online session as part of the programme
Being at home learning about cricket, being a coach and making sessions enjoyable and welcoming were key takeaways for Mustak Ahmed. A resident at Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre, Mustak is also a founding member of the ‘KRAC11 Cricket Team’ operating out of the accommodation centre. He said:
“It was good to share my thoughts and the thoughts of others on how to run sessions and make it fun. I didn’t know too much before about the importance of Safeguarding so I’m really glad that I was able to learn about these things from others.”
Zubair Hassan who plays his club cricket with Cork Harlequins spoke about his favourite part of the programme:
“To be honest, the funny stuff from Ted was my favourite! Being a coach and a player, the information was very helpful for me. The concept around coaching the young player was helpful and let me understand the hard work that coaches put in to encourage young players to stand on their own two feet. Learning about and understanding the different cultures and how they communicate and engage with each other was really interesting too. I would love to coach the kids at Harlequins now too.”
Another passionate and knowledgeable cricketer, Muhammad Husnain learned a lot from being part of the Cricket Connects programme:
“I enjoyed the programme; I learned a lot and I’d like to do some coaching around the local clubs. It was nice to be part of the programme, it was nice to learn about the safety of people attending your sessions and making them enjoyable.”
The support and involvement of Diekolola Amujo and Tom Kelleher from UCC CARL was key to the success of this pilot. Both students are carrying out research on the programme in partnership with Cricket Ireland. Speaking on the Multicultural Awareness and Sports Inclusion and Disability Awareness modules, Diekolola commented:
“Learning about cultural differences, being aware of other cultures and how to look after and accommodate people was interesting. Learning about including and providing opportunities for people with different needs was really great for me.”
Coming from a non-cricketing background, Tom spoke about gaining confidence from being part of the programme and felt that he had acquired the skills to give coaching a go:
“It was a great opportunity to be able to come here and learn both from Ted and from the guys participating. What I’ll take with me is coaching as a ‘player-centred’ concept, including and questioning the kids or players at your sessions and involving them and looking for their input is something I wouldn’t have considered before so that was a big take away for me.”
The programme was led by Ted Williamson who left an impression of fun, the importance of learning and caring about what you do on all of the participants:
‘I’ve had a lot of fun. There’s different levels of passion within this group and people have taken different things away with them. That’s significant for me because as coaches, we’re all different and we’ll all bring something different to situations. The inclusion piece for me was really powerful and being able to put a shape on the awareness of different cultures was brilliant. It’s been a real honour to be involved in this programme.”
Thank you to Sport Ireland, Maria Lynch and CARA for supporting this pilot programme.