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Belief in better

Helping players step up a level is very rewarding, says Mike

Bohndiek: development in-depth

Mike Bohndiek is not one to rest on his laurels.

So nine months after being crowned as Young Coach of the Year at the 2010 Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme awards at Lord's, it's no surprise to find the 23-year-old is busier than ever.

Driven and ambitious, Mike remains determined to make cricket fun, enjoyable and - perhaps most importantly of all - accessible to as many youngsters as possible.

Moreover, he has a simple message to aspiring coaches: get involved. Here's why...

skysports.com: What did winning the 2010 Young Coach of the Year award mean to you?

Mike: It was a great achievement to be recognised by my peers at such an early stage in my coaching career. It was certainly a confidence boost and helped me to push myself further than before in terms of both delivery skills and the level at which I was coaching. The award has undoubtedly left me hungry for more and given me fresh momentum as I move into my fourth year of full time coaching.

skysports.com: Competition for the award was very stiff. Does that bode well for English cricket?

Mike: It has always been my belief as the Cricket Development Manager for Tower Hamlets that success on the pitch can only be as strong, or only grow as exponentially, as the rate of development of the coaching structure beneath. This is true at all levels of the game as the coaching levels at the base push the levels up all the way through an into the First Class set-up. We are certainly seeing that up-turn in coaching and the support available now through the ECB Coaches Association really has improved the coaching standards of a Level 1 Coach and that ripple can be felt all the way up. With the youngsters of today receiving such coaching and perhaps going into coaching themselves this certainly leaves English cricket in a superb position.

skysports.com: How beneficial is the Sky ECB Coaching scheme and what are the best aspects of it?

Mike: The Sky ECB scheme goes into a greater depth than other NGB qualifications in respect of both "What to Coach" and "How to Coach". The understanding of these two tools provides a great base from which to build and with it being a focus of the Young Leaders Award right through the pathway it gives early exposure to the best practice coaching models and allows for an earlier rate of coaching development which I would partly attribute the award to.

skysports.com: Did you notice an upturn in the number of people interested in cricket after England's Ashes win?

Mike: Certainly in the younger age groups, yes. It is always key that we as coaches and / or development managers capitalise on the successes of the England team to bring new participants to the game and further both their knowledge and enthusiasm.

skysports.com: What projects are you currently involved in?

Mike: I am at Blackheath Cricket Club where we are enjoying a typically busy summer with over 120 colt matches to get through, let alone taking care of nine adult sides on a Saturday as one of the largest clubs in the country! I work full time as the Cricket Development Manager for Tower Hamlets which offers a great range of coaching opportunities; from primary schools right through to 'Gifted and Talented' sessions; on the back of that I am also enjoying working at Middlesex CCC with their age groups.


skysports.com: What are the biggest obstacles you have to overcome?

Mike: Finding enough time in the day can often be the challenge but really the desire I have to do the job and the enjoyment I get from coaching overcome that naturally.

skysports.com: What aspects of your job do you most enjoy?

Mike: Similar to teachers, I enjoy being able to assist in a player's development and helping them to make the transition from one level to the next really does give a great degree of satisfaction. Having recently undertaken Talented Athlete Lifestyle Support and other mentoring courses I am also now seeing the benefits of being to assist players more thoroughly in the mental performance area to help them further their game.

skysports.com: What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about becoming a coach?

Mike: Get involved! I was lucky to be able to speak to several experienced coaches before making the move into full time coaching and I'd simply echo what they said to me: "Sometimes your worst days coaching is better than your best day doing anything else, so imagine how good the best day's coaching will be....."

skysports.com: Do you find any time to play cricket yourself?

Mike: I play at Blackheath Cricket Club skippering a development side which gives a nice continuation from the work I do with both Tower Hamlets and Blackheath directly. A 6 foot 7 I'm perhaps not a natural off-spinner (let alone wicket keeper!) but I enjoy trying to continually improve myself while guiding the next generation through towards Premier League cricket.

skysports.com: Who are your coaching role-models?

Mike: I've been lucky to work alongside a whole range of coaches, from those working with U11s right through to Academy Directors and First Class Coaches. I think that taking aspects of what all of them do well and adapting that to work towards a flexible coaching style and being able to work towards a range of sessions and situations makes you a much better coach and I would advise all younger coaches to try and experience as grand a range of coaching as possible.

skysports.com: What are your long-term goals?

Mike: Ultimately I'd like to work in a County set up as an Academy Director. It's an exciting and ever-changing role which sees such a range of people come through and make the hardest transition from age group cricket into first-class cricket. The County U17-Academy set-up and programmes provide an excellent level of cricket and see you work with a continual flow of talented aspiring cricketers and that is where I would like to end up. I am quite self-motivated to improve myself and the want to keep getting better and keep taking strides towards that target is more than enough to get me out of bed in the morning!

The Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme has trained over 33,000 coaches over the past four years and develops coaches from playground to Test arena. For more information on the scheme please visit www.skysports.com/coaching and the ECB's website.