There’s no doubting that Kane Williamson is one of the most popular cricketers on the planet.
Thousands of Kiwis love watching the BLACKCAPS captain in full flow, although a young Wellingtonian would argue that he’s Williamson’s biggest fan.
Meet Zach Gianotti. Not only does he watch all the BLACKCAPS matches, Zach’s also quite the talented young cricketer. When his local side needed a coach, he turned to his other hero - his dad, Simon. And like many Kiwi parents, Simon couldn’t turn down his son's plea.
Although not an experienced cricket coach, the Wellingtonian had played cricket throughout his youth and had experience coaching rugby, so was in an ideal position to take up the opportunity.
Before the team’s first training session, he reminisced on his experience as a young cricketer.
“When I was coming through the grades, a net session was pretty much all coaching was. You got a bat and a bowl with a bit of fielding every three or four weeks. I reflected on that and thought if it wasn’t exciting for me as a kid, then it wasn't going to cut it for the kids of today.
“I wanted to do things a little bit differently, which led me to finding the free online coaching modules offered by NZC.”
New Zealand Cricket recently launched two online coaching courses that are designed to develop coaches regardless of their previous coaching experience.
When Gianotti began completing the online courses, he was initially looking for ideas; but then proceeded to get a lot more out of them than first anticipated.
“What I found after completing the online courses let me plan out my coaching sessions.
“The other thing that I found was that there are numerous drills on the website that teach the same kind of skill. These are useful because you can introduce them every couple of weeks, which keeps the kids engaged with new and exciting activities.”
Gianotti is not the only one who has noticed a change in his coaching; other parents have been complimentary and have been more open to participating themselves.
“Parents are a little bit more confident in you after you’ve done a couple of courses.
“Getting more parents involved has led to me being able to do more with the kids at the same time.”
Due to the courses being online, it creates a non-stress environment, something that suited the busy dad a lot more than a classroom situation.
“Another advantage of the courses is that there’s no pressure on you to get everything right, I’d be the guy in the classroom that wouldn’t ever put my hand up to answer anything, but when it’s just you and the computer there’s no nerves.”
Although the courses have developed the Wellington coach, he doesn't feel pressured to complete the remaining courses all at once.
“The key thing for me is making sure I’m ahead of the boys by pacing the number of courses I’m doing. There’s no need to rush and complete every module, I am free to complete further modules as and when I need to.”
Gianotti’s team has had a lot of success this season, which both other coaches and players have noticed, but he’s more focused on kids enjoying themselves.
“If the kids are developing, having fun, and if parents are responding well then the coaching resources must be helping.”
If you're interested in learning more about our coaching programmes, visit the Coaches Corner section of our website.