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By Peter Della Penna
Jamie Harrison, president of the US Youth Cricket Association, says that he wants to organize several more coaching courses over the course of the next year after the success of last month’s ICC Level One coaching course in Maryland.
“We’re hoping early next year we can do another one,” said Harrison. “I would like to run two or three more Level Ones and then a Level Two drawing from the pool of Level One participants.”
Twenty people attended the course, which was held at the Greenbelt Sportsplex in Glenn Dale, Maryland. According to Harrison, the course was capped at 20 at the request of ICC Americas Development Officer Wendell Coppin, who taught the course. Harrison says that the course sold out less than a week after the dates of the course were announced and that he had to turn people away. It’s one reason he feels confident about organizing more courses because he feels the interest level is high enough from people living across the USA to support the initiative.
“We had people from Los Angeles, from Texas, from Chicago, Atlanta, of course from the east coast close to us,” said Harrison. “So we had people really from all over the country which was really really neat and it brought a great perspective to it. The class very much had a national feel to it.” Aside from covering their own travel and lodging expenses, participants only had to pay a $50 course fee.
Harrison says that the people showed great spirit and dedication over the weekend, October 28-30, to overcome the poor weather conditions in the area. A rare October snowstorm blanketed much of the east coast that weekend which threatened to throw a wrench into everyone’s plans.
“It just so happened that a quirk of fate, the heating system for this place broke down the day before we got there. It was like a refrigerator when you walked out onto the turf field.” said Harrison. “The people were troopers. The attitudes were absolutely excellent. People were awesome. They had a great positive attitude. They were very encouraging, very supportive and they didn’t act like the weather bothered them at all.”
Three women completed the course including former USA Women’s national team player Sandra Ibarra. Another positive aspect of the course is that Harrison says anyone who successfully completes the course can help organize and teach the ICC Introduction to Cricket coaching course, the precursor to the ICC Level One course. He hopes that this will create a system for coaches to train other coaches in order for more kids in schools and local communities to get the coaching they need, which would help organized youth cricket participation numbers to grow.