Every month our Head Coach, Lydia Greenway, will be writing about all things cricket! She will be discussing aspects of the game relevant to parents, coaches and players of all ages and abilities, as well as giving tips to players to help improve their game! Lydia will also be writing about topics from our lovely followers! So if you have any aspects of the game you would like to hear about, as well as any coaching tips you would like more information on, just get in touch, we would love to hear from you! (Photo by Don Miles)
Since launching Cricket for Girls I have experienced as steep a learning curve as any in my time involved in cricket, including my international career!! When I was growing up, I was always used to playing, and being coached by boys and men, and it was never something which hindered my development, if anything it helped it hugely*. In fact, I always encourage young girls aspiring to be the next Katherine Brunt or Laura Marsh to do the same – if they are happy to. However, and believe it or not, not all girls involved in cricket want to play international cricket!
The more I work with young girls, especially those new to the game, the more I realise how important it is for them to have the option of being coached by females, as well as playing with them – and only them. When I was growing up, my one and only goal was to get to the top. I didn’t actually know what the top was, because I didn’t know there was an England women’s team, however I just knew I wanted to be the best at playing cricket somehow! This meant turning up to games with my 10 team mates (all boys) to play other teams (all boys) around the county. Not just turning up in the sense of getting out the car, going to the changing rooms, getting ready for the game with my team mates, and taking the field. For me, and a handful of other girls around the country at the time, it meant turning up to the game, getting out of the car to glares from astonished parents wondering what on earth I was doing; getting ready for the game meant changing into my whites in the cubicle of a toilet not with my team mates, and luckily taking the field with my team was ‘normal’ because the boys I played with were my good friends and didn’t bat an eyelid!
Yes, there will be 100’s if not 1000s (especially after this year’s World Cup) of young girls more than happy to play with and be coached by males, but at the same time, there will be a very similar number, if not more, wanting to play a sport they love with the same gender and being coached by the same gender. We aren’t all destined to play for our country or win world cups, however, we are entitled to use any sport we enjoy, as part of our lifestyle and way of living. There should be no reason this should not be the case for young girls growing up in today’s society. This is why it is so important we encourage more females to get in to coaching, and more importantly for all cricketing establishments to help facilitate the development of women and girls cricket wherever the demand is. So, as much as it is important we provide opportunity for the next World Cup winning captain, it is also hugely important we provide the opportunity for the young girls at school and in clubs who love the sport just because it makes them feel good!
*It is worth pointing out how lucky I was in terms of the support I received from my club, there was never a raised eyebrow and they always ensured I had as much opportunity as any boy at the club.