Frances Sullivan, from Hobart Australia describes her cricketing journey and love for the game which began in the back yard, continued into primary school, indoor cricket, and then moved into the outdoor game where she eventually went on to play for the Tasmanian Open Women’s Team throughout the early 2000s. She subsequently became the Head Coach of the Women’s program at New Town Cricket Club in Hobart and has been involved at age group level with both boys and girls in the Tasmania and Hobart Hurricanes Development pathways ever since.
Frances was nominated for the CoachED Cricket ELITE Accreditation course by ELITE course contributor and current USA Womens National Coach, Julia Price. “Julia has had a huge influence in my coaching journey over the last couple of years. We have had many discussions about cricket and coaching. She has always been so open to share her wealth of knowledge with me and has become a mentor of mine whom I respect and admire whole heartedly”. In response, Julia recounts what she sees in Frances which prompted the nomination, “It was her passion for coaching and I thought she would benefit so greatly from this program.” What an opportunity it was, and Frances grabbed it with both hands.
In describing her experience, Frances recounts the weekly access to the best cricketers and coaches in the world via exclusive live virtual interactions and content. “Players and coaches such as Jonty Rhodes, Faf du Plessis, Justin Langer, Julia Price and Charl Langeveldt shared a wealth of knowledge with us that I can use and have used moving forward in my journey as a coach. All of them shared so openly and honestly that it still has me in awe months down the track.”
The coaches attending the course are exposed to sets of assignments and examinations across various modules which are applicable to coaching challenges faced around the world at all levels of the game.
“These got me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much about myself. I am so glad I took part in this because it has made me a better person and coach and it was truly uplifting.”
A hallmark of the course is the personal interactivity of Gary Kirsten, who leads the course and mentors each participant throughout the 12-week journey. “The one-on-one discussions I had with Gary were so impactful because he listened and then responded with clear advice which was easy to understand. He was so polite and open with his sharing, speaking from the heart and not afraid to share personal stories of himself as a player and coach.” Gary reflected on Frances’s contributions on the course, adding, “I really enjoyed working with Frances and felt she grew significantly as a coach during her time on the CoachED ELITE course. Her willingness to make meaningful contributions in most of our weekly webinars was fantastic and I could sense her confidence grow as the course rolled on.”
Working in partnership with individuals and groups adds to the peer to peer learning experience that the CoachED ELITE Accreditation promotes. Weekly discussion forums and paired assignments open the eyes of all the participants to perspectives from different coaches around the world. Frances recounts her experience during the Leadership and Captaincy module where she was paired up with former Proteas Cricketer, JP Duminy. “We had several meetings via zoom to discuss our approach for the assignment we had to complete. We worked together as a team to complete what we believed to be worthy for the question we had been given. He was a legend to work with and an all-round top bloke.”
Frances came onto the course as the only female participant in the cohort of 20 coaches with slight trepidation but this was quickly dispelled. “The manner at which Gary and the CoachED team accepted me and made me feel welcomed, included and part of the team was extraordinary. The lengths at which everyone went at CoachED and the members of the cohort went to ensure I was included was special. Always answering all my questions personally as the course progressed, adding value to every conversation we had and without intimidation or reserve. At times I had to take a step back and pinch myself that I was completing such a world-renowned course with the most exceptional people and I have stayed in contact with some members of the course personally and through the ELITE CoachED membership.” It is this strong community which is a pillar of the course and the CoachED philosophy. Course Director Ryan Cook says, “To provide coaches with a home for cricket education and coach accreditation is core to all our offerings and the growing connected community is a testament to the fact that we take deep care with our members to add value to their coaching journey.”
The CoachED ELITE course has left a lasting mark on Frances’s coaching and enabled her to grow in confidence and skill. “This course has allowed me to develop better processes for planning and delivering a professional but fun environment for my players to learn in. I stand back more and say less, and I think this has made me a better coach and the players better players. I have now been able to recognise some situations before it eventuated, and this has been very beneficial.” She goes onto add that she has altered her debriefs and follow up conversations after the game as well as her planning for the training sessions to come. These changes have made a big difference to the programs which she is a part of.
When asked about her coaching ambitions, she has a renewed perspective which is very refreshing. “I used to think that I wanted to coach at the top level no questions asked. Do not get me wrong, that would be a dream come true, but when I really sit down and think about it, I want to coach the players I encounter to the best of my ability and in the most effective way I know how no matter what the level. The CoachED ELITE course has taught me to relieve myself of the self-doubt that I have carried for so long and helped me to enjoy what is in front of me and use it as steppingstones to help me become the coach that I am and want to be.”
Frances has continued her learning journey on the CoachED Platform through the various channels which are offered and she emphasises this point. “Continued learning is so important for anything you do in life. I regularly attend the weekly webinars and this continued availability and ongoing learning that the team at CoachED offer after the course is first class.”
Her final words are a feather in the cap of CoachED Cricket who work closely to ensure a remarkable experience for their coaches.
“In simple terms, it makes me so thankful and amazed to have this network and ongoing support as a coach and in all honesty, it could not get much better.”
Click here for more information and to apply for the CoachED ELITE Accreditation Cohort starting in May 2021.