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Volunteer Wins Coaching Award

Photo of Martin receiving award Martin coaches for the Yorkshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club and recently won a coaching award (the picture shows him receiving his award).

He joined the Yorkshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club in 2014 and has severe sight loss himself, which he has had since birth.

He had played VI cricket on and off all of his life and despite being in his early fifties at this point
he made an impact on the team immediately, with his passion and enthusiasm for the game.

He showed an interest straightaway  in helping to develop new players of all ages and started to help out at coaching sessions.

The group managed to get him onto an ECB level 2 coaching course in early 2016 and he qualified with flying colours alongside 23 fully sighted participants.

He was very well supported by the tutors, who had a good awareness of VI cricket, as we had worked with them in the past on level 2 courses specifically for visually impaired people.

Martin then started to take on a major role in coaching the Yorkshire VI squad, especially the new and developing players in the regional development team and this led to them winning the northern league in 2019.

He has been instrumental in the success of the group's schools VI cricket programme, funded by Children in Need and coaches children of all ages in schools across the Yorkshire area, including those with other disabilities too and also many able bodied children, who come from deprived areas.

One of the main aspects of this schools programme is that as well as teaching the VI children about cricket, it also gives an important insight into the world of visual impairment for the sighted pupils too, as they can also don the simulation glasses, which give an awareness of many different sight conditions.

On the back of this, Martin has also now been asked to teach the PE staff at various schools how best to coach VI children and is once again putting his heart and soul into planning this project and making it a success.

One of his main strengths is in working with individual players, recognising  how they need to improve their cricketing skills but also developing them as people  and in many cases helping them to  adapt & overcome their disabilities  with his personal lifetime knowledge of being visually impaired.

It is very evident from observing his schools sessions how much both the children and Martin himself enjoy the games, and have so much fun, as there is always plenty of laughter and encouragement for each other from the groups throughout the sessions.

They are also learning a great deal about the cricket as they go and there are many VI children who move on from this and go down to the Yorkshire VICC sessions to be coached by Martin too.

As he is an expert on visual impairment himself, he is able to work out what adaptations may need to be made to a players game to improve their performance  and spotting these small changes can make all the difference.

A women & girls VI international cricket programme was set up in 2015 across the UK and Martin has been a key part of this since January 2017 when he joined the coaching team, meaning that he plays a part in the development of players from when they first arrive in the game on the pathway right through to the top level.

He is involved in coaching at regional centres in Berkshire & Yorkshire and also with the full national women & girls training weekends, which take place on a regular basis too

He has once again worked very closely with individuals on their cricket skills & personal development and played a major role in preparing the squad for their inaugural series against the West Indies VI team in Barbados in July 2018.

Martin was an important part to the coaching team on that tour and also coached the West Indies players whilst they were out there too, as most of their squad had only limited access to cricket coaching leading up to the event.

The group's UK team being very well prepared over 3 years with the help of Martin won that series by 4 games to 1, including the first two matches ever played by two VI women's teams, under full international VI cricket rules, meaning that Martin is also a part of major VI cricket history now.

He  continues to be involved in all of the above programmes, these will carry on growing and with his never waning spirit & enthusiasm,  Martin will keep improving both himself and the cricket he is teaching to so many people of all ages & abilities and to be an inspiration to all of those.
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