A University of Worcester student hopes to give young athletes the benefit of his knowledge and experience after being hired as a coach for a county cricket club.
James Nordin will take up a part-time role as a Fast Bowling Specialist Skill Coach for the Women and Girls Talent Pathway at Kent Cricket alongside his Sports Coaching Science studies.
The third year student, who plays in the England Cricket senior physical disability team, said it was a great opportunity to build on his coaching skills and put theory into practice.
James, a fast bowler himself, was one of four coaches selected for new roles that focus on different aspects of the game. He will be responsible for leading the fast bowling programme for Kent’s Girls Development Programme, as well as supporting the girls talent pathway squads and the Kent Women’s senior team.
“I’m really pleased that I got it,” said the 20-year-old. “My interest in pathway coaching probably stems from my experience as a player. I went through a player pathway myself to play for England and what I love about that is the way you can really influence players positively at that kind of age, not just them as a cricketer but also their development as a person. My coaches were really positive influences on me.”
James is already Junior Head Coach at Chestfield Cricket Club. Normally his commitments with England and Middlesex County Cricket Club, where he is vice-captain of the county’s disability senior team, would make such a role very difficult, but he decided, with play disrupted and restricted due to Covid-19, this was a good time to act. The job will form part of James’ work placements for his final year of study. “It will be nice that something new could come up in the lectures and I’ll have an opportunity to go and apply it and see what it actually looks like within my coaching with the players I’m working with,” said James.
The panel was impressed with how James had used his studies to focus on the coaching aspects of his sport. He spent his last year of study doing research based on the biomechanics of fast bowling, using footage and stills of himself, and exploring how to improve technique to increase speed and reduce risk of injury.
“The biomechanics of fast bowling was an area I have looked to develop in my coaching and teaching for some time so it was nice that the course provided an opportunity to develop that further,” said James. “Bowling is quite harsh on the body so bowlers within cricket tend to get significantly more injuries than any role in the field because their bodies go through a lot. The more technically correct you are, the less stress on the body, so I was trying to make technical improvements to reduce the risk of injury and also to make bowlers more efficient which will allow them to increase their speed so there is less wasted energy and more energy going towards the stumps.”
James, of Canterbury, Kent, competed for England in the Physical Disability Cricket World Series last summer. He is on the University’s sports scholarship programme, which gives him financial and academic support, as well as access to specialist lifestyle advice. Long-term his ambition is to combine playing for England while working as either a cricket coach in a pathway system or working within a school environment as a coach or PE teacher.
David Hathrill, Kent Women’s Head Coach, said: “We were really impressed with James. He was extremely well prepared and professional throughout. He had clearly completed his research, his knowledge of coaching was excellent and he came across really well.”
Craig Williams, Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science, said: “We are thrilled that James can enhance the coaching skills he is developing on the course by working with young players in a sport that he has a real passion for. We plan to extend our cricket related offering to provide more opportunities for those interested in coaching this sport, with our Integrated Masters in Cricket Coaching & Management, developed following extensive consultation with the cricket industry and supported by the England & Wales Cricket Board, due to launch in September. This will help students to develop their knowledge and understanding of cricket coaching, management and development, alongside scope for both domestic and international cricket experience on placement and access to some courses in the ECB’s coach education pathway. This all adds to our current plans to create the country’s first international inclusive cricket centre.”