New South Canterbury Cricket development officer Shane Gilkison wants to see cricket fields swarming with children over the summer months.
The former South Canterbury representative said increasing the numbers and standard of junior cricket was one of his major priorities after being appointed to the role for the 2011/2012 season and beyond.
Gilkison replaced Richard Davidson, who resigned at the end of last season to pursue other business interests after holding the position for 10 years.
He was hoping to get senior South Canterbury club players to go in to schools to show the kids the pathway to high level cricket.
“I want to get kids back playing cricket, give them a taste and if they like it, then give them a pathway into the clubs, because there aren’t enough kids playing cricket,” Gilkison said.
“You need those players to look up to.
“Even when I was playing senior cricket at a young age, playing against guys like (former Black Cap) Murray Parker was a big factor.”
The Temuka club stalwart and former wicketkeeper, was more likely to swing a tennis racket than a cricket bat during his childhood, before having former South Canterbury representative Phil D’Auvergne as a coach when he went to the now Opihi College.
He played club cricket in Surrey, England, throughout the 1990s as well as in Sussex, acting as a “semi” club professional, and travelling around the region coaching young players.
A desire to raise a family in South Canterbury saw his family move back to Temuka in 2005, where he became involved with the Temuka Cricket Club.
Gilkison said he did not want to be coaching several South Canterbury age-group teams while in the role, and was more eager to assist coaches with their strategy and techniques to provide better coaching for young South Canterbury cricket players.
“I’d like to educate [the parents] with the basics, so it gives them a bit more confidence [to coach] …,” he said.
“Parents may be a bit put-off when they think I’m putting on a coaching course, but it’s nothing like that – it’s just a few basics to help them.”
He said if parents were given the tools to become good coaches then depth would happen from there.
The length of time it takes to play cricket was something Gilkison was trying to work around.
He said the popularity of Twenty20 cricket gave him a way to introduce children to the sport, but he had to find a way to balance that with technique coaching.
Gilkison had been happy coaching many cricket teams at Timaru Boys’ High School in pre-season training, but was keen to visit as many schools as possible in the coming weeks.