Ian Westwood is excited to have embarked upon his coaching career in earnest with his new role as development coach at Warwickshire.
The 35-year-old, who retired as a player last summer, is delighted to extend his connection with the club which stretches back 25 years to when he first joined the youth set-up as a boy.
I’ve been appointed in a fairly short-term role as it stands and, as with any player, for a member of the coaching staff it is a results industry, so I need to show that I can fulfil the role well.Ian Westwood
Westwood is a dyed-in-the-wool Bear – but he knows the pressure is now on him to vindicate sport director Ashley Giles’ decision to recruit him on to the back-room staff.
“I hope this is the start of a long coaching career for me,” he said. “Staying on at Warwickshire is absolutely brilliant for me. I love the club and that means coming into work is great and I just want to work hard and try to get the best out of the guys around me and ultimately help the team do well.
“I’ve been here for 25 years already and hope I can add a few more on to that, but I know I have got a job to do. I’ve been appointed in a fairly short-term role as it stands and, as with any player, for a member of the coaching staff it is a results industry, so I need to show that I can fulfil the role well. I will be judged on the how the younger players progress.”
Westwood’s player-development role spans the whole set-up but will focus primarily on younger players.
“A part of coaching that I really enjoy is working with younger guys and doing one-to-one coaching and mentoring,” he said. “I have always had an eye on coaching and started doing my badges quite a long time ago. Then having played only red-ball cricket in the last couple of years enabled me to spend more time working with the younger guys.
I coached Aaron Thomason when he was ten so it has been great to see him develop and I feel I have always had a good relationship with the younger players.Ian Westwood
“Sometimes when I have been in the second team I was the oldest by ten years so my role now is a bit of extension to what I have been doing; offering up my experiences and seeing the younger guys come in and how we can get them progressing through.
“I coached Aaron Thomason when he was ten so it has been great to see him develop and I feel I have always had a good relationship with the younger players. We have got loads of good coaches now doing solid work in the academy and emerging players programme and it’s about time we started producing more first-team players.”
Westwood will also work with the current first-team squad as they attempt to advance again from the batting travails of last season when only Jonathan Trott and Jeetan Patel passed 600 championship runs.
“There is no magic pill just to make everything right,” he said. “There will have to be a lot of hard work and it’s not going to happen overnight but we know we have some good players here, a mixture of guys who have proven quality but have just been a little bit out of form, and youngsters who are unproven with a lot of potential. And we have made some really good signing who are not the finished article but we hope we can take them to their next level of their careers.”