Lord’s Taverners Deaf Cricket Resources

If I had one tip to share with any coach working with players with a disability it’s to really try and focus on the fact that the players are cricketers who happen to be in this instance deaf and the fun is in the cricket and to a certain extent the language is peripheral if you can make the session interesting, engaging, it’s all going to come together. Tonight we’re looking at quick fielding, so quick flick kind of throws, and some different skills of batting so instead of trying to hit lots of fours and sixes we’ll be doing a lot of focussing on hitting the wall and running between the wickets cricket’s a visual game and actually cricket coaching is a very visual thing as well. The way we kind of level the playing field, because everyone has, as I said, different levels of deafness, is that they play without their hearing aids and there are some rules and regulations on deaf cricket depending what level of deafness you must have. Communication is an issue, it’s very important at the end of every delivery that all the players focus on the captain so the captain has easy communication with his fielders But one of the biggest challenges is running between the wickets, of course communication is so key in that so we tend to do quite a lot of work about running between the wickets, just making sure that everyone is looking at each other clearly As a non-signer I have to be very clear when I speak, I think I’ve learnt fairly well now to speak in a way that lip-reading is a little bit easier than perhaps I would have done prior to starting deaf coaching I think it’s important to be very visual, very clear demonstrations, show them how it’s done, and deaf people are very very good imitators they watch you, they don’t listen or hear you necessarily but they can follow you, so if you do a good demonstration the chances are that they will follow you more closely My daughter was born profoundly deaf, 22 years ago and initially through the Surrey Deaf Children’s Society the family became more familiar with the deaf community Because I’ve learnt to sign – I’m a BSL level two – and I can coach cricket to a certain standard I’ve taken those two interests and combined them, and got involved with the Surrey Deaf Cricket Team. It’s fantastic to see more coaching now here in England, and it’s fantastic to see lots of coaches interested in helping deaf cricket We think it’s important to have common language within the team so we’ve decided we’re going to go with BSL – British Sign Language Most of the guys do sign, one or two who don’t sign are actually learning to sign, so they can feel more included in the team They key thing is inclusivity. We are a team, I think you’ll see we’re a very close-knit team the level of banter is probably higher than more mainstream teams I’ve been involved with, but that just creates a really fun environment When I started playing cricket it wasn’t easy to follow the coaches or the banter in the changing rooms, and that made it difficult to be a part of the social scene When I met deaf people I realised I didn’t have to leave early because I could still follow the conversation, on the pitch, in the dressing room, and in the bar afterwards and that opened up a new kind of life, or part of the game for me, and I thought it was important…

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