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Community Coach Catch Up: Alex Taylor

It’s time to take our third and final look at the Somerset Cricket Board’s Community Coaches.

Having spoken with Andrew Skidmore and Sophie Luff, it’s time to turn the focus on to Alex Taylor.

24 year old Alex took on the role back in 2015 and works mainly in the north of the County.

He explains how the role has evolved during that time. “Due to a change in the funding stream from Chance to Shine the main focus is now on primary schools rather than secondary schools,” he said. “The aim is to get children interested in the game at a young age.”

Has this resulted in a major change in his approach? “Very much so,” he said. “The coaching style is very different. It’s now very much more hands-on and it’s very rewarding to see the kid’s attitudes to cricket change.”

Alex believes that the variety involved in the sessions is one of the best parts of the job as he explained. “One day I’ll be in a school, the next I’ll be doing a disability session and at the moment we are all doing quite a lot of table cricket. Table cricket is great. It’s amazing how quite a simple game can offer so much. The key is to make cricket accessible to everyone. Age, gender, experience and disability shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone playing the game. That has to be the key focus. Hopefully their experiences won’t stop with us either and they will go on to develop as players.”

The key to the success of Somerset’s Community Coaches is their enthusiasm for the role and Alex is no different. “It’s about being enthusiastic and I love cricket,” he said. “Not too many people can say that they genuinely love what they do for a job, but I certainly can.”

What is the relationship like between Alex and the other two Community Coaches? “They are really good to work with,” he said. “The banter levels are pretty good and that’s usually a good sign! Being based in the north of the county I don’t see Andrew and Sophie as much as they see each other but it’s always good when the three of us get together to coach or work.”

Alex explained how he gets ready for a session. “There’s a lot of planning to do,” he said. “That doesn’t always have to be on paper though. You need to do a lot in your head and be flexible when it comes to delivering those plans. You always need a contingency plan too, just in case!”

What does he think is the best part of the job? “The best part of the job is getting people in to cricket. A lot of primary school children don’t always get access to the game or know much about it, so to be able to get them wanting to play more after the sessions have finished is extremely rewarding. You know you’re doing something right when the children ask you how they can get involved in a club or get more coaching.

“The amount of smiles on the faces of the kids is very rewarding. You can see that it’s more than just the cricket too which is great. You can see them starting to improve certain social skills like teamwork and confidence as a result of playing the game. It’s great to see the sessions serve a wider purpose than just playing cricket.”

What is his main goal as a Community Coach? “The aim is a simple one,” he said. “It’s to get more kids playing cricket.”

All three Somerset Community Coaches have significant funding support from cricket charity Chance to Shine.

Chance to Shine is a national charity on a mission to spread the power of cricket throughout schools and communities and it is certainly having an impact in Somerset.

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