Monday, 23 February 2015
A cricket coach from Shropshire has been awarded a university scholarship to help her to continue to develop her skills with Bishops Castle Cricket Club.
Caitlin Perry, who studies Sports Coaching and Development at the University of Worcester, volunteers as a coach for the local club, where she has played cricket since the age of eight.
She has been awarded financial assistance by the University’s Scholarship Panel, which encourages students to apply for grants of up to £1,000 towards voluntary work or activities, to pursue a particular interest, for example music, sports or the arts; or towards course-related activities.
Caitlin explains: “When I was twelve, I was selected to play for the county’s girls’ team, and that was where my interest in coaching came about. I was fortunate enough to have great mentors at Bishops Castle, and they supported me and allowed me to run sessions with supervision.
“They quickly realised that I had a talent for coaching children, and put me through my Level One coaching badge. That was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done; I was a 15 year-old girl coaching men aged from 18 to 50.
“However, I qualified as a coach the day after my 15th birthday, and at that time, was the youngest female to hold the qualification.”
Caitlin’s talent and love for coaching has developed since then and, alongside passing further coaching badges and starting her university course, she was also recruited by the Shropshire Cricket Board to run the ‘Chance to Shine’ programme in local schools.
The scholarship will assist Caitlin with transport and equipment costs involved with coaching the club’s junior teams, and will allow her to continue to develop her hands-on experience alongside studying for her degree.
She continues: “Through my degree, I have learned different ways and styles of coaching that have benefited my teams, and I have also used the knowledge I’ve gained to run development camps for local children during the summer.
“The coaching I do at the club also benefits my university work, as I can use sessions that I have planned within my modules and trial them on my teams.”
Caitlin admits that her ‘dream’ would be to one day coach professional cricketers, but says that she is delighted to be able to pass on her love for the game to anyone she coaches.
“My main ambition is to help every child that I coach develop in some way,” she explains. “Whether that be by simply helping them score a run or helping them develop into a professional cricketer, I want to pass my love of the sport on to children, especially girls.
“If the University has not offered me this financial assistance I do not feel that I would have been able to travel back from Worcester and coach the team throughout the winter months and pre-season.
“I really appreciate the support and it helps to keep me motivated in my coaching, knowing that I am not having to pay to travel to volunteer.”