Warwickshire bowling coach Alan Richardson believes his two-week stint in South Africa helping Kevin Shine deliver the ECB Pace Programme is amounting to a great learning experience of his own.
Richardson is working with ECB lead bowling coach Shine at the Performance Institute for Sport, at Potchefstroom, where England’s next crop of young fast-bowlers are approaching the end of the winter Pace Programme.
To be invited to assist Shine is a tribute to the skills of Richardson, who is still relatively new to coaching having retired from playing to join the Bears’ back-room staff three years ago. And the 41-year-old is doing his best to soak up the knowledge around him at Potchefstroom before returning to England on Saturday.
I’ve picked up some ideas that I’ll take back and see whether they can apply to certain bowlers and the way we do things at Warwickshire.Alan Richardson
“This is a superb sporting environment, not just for cricket but a lot of other sports,” he said. “Spain’s football team was based here when they won the World Cup in South Africa.
“I was really grateful to be invited and it’s been brilliant to see how Kevin and the other guys go about their stuff. I’ve picked up some ideas that I’ll take back and see whether they can apply to certain bowlers and the way we do things at Warwickshire. I’ve also seen a lot which reaffirms that we are already doing things the right way at Edgbaston, which is great to see.”
With cricket coaches, strength & conditioning coaches and physios drawn from various counties – and players from six counties – the programme helps Shine to maintain his strong links within the county system. And his objective is not just to have a queue of emerging bowlers coming through – but also a crop of talented bowling coaches.
Richardson is firmly among the latter as he follows in a highly impressive succession of Bears bowling coaches in recent years: Steve Perryman, Allan Donald and Graeme Welch.
“From early January I went up to Loughborough one day a week to work with the guys there,” Richardson said. “Now this trip had been about building relationships and just getting the bowlers to kick on. You can see how much they are getting out of it and it has certainly been brilliant for me.”
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