Meet the coaches - Ed Belger
What have been some of the highlights from working with us?
‘There have been many highlights since joining T20 from helping set up the now Surrey Slam schools programme to helping improve and develop the now successful Academy programme, but I think the overall highlight was organising the first ever academy tour to Bristol a few years ago and now looking forward to the third tour we will be doing to Devon in August.’
Who were your cricket inspirations growing up?
‘I started playing cricket in 2005 after the successful Ashes win for England so my big hero growing up was Andrew Flintoff because when I first started playing cricket, I wanted to be a fast bowler and smash the ball miles like him. Then I became a leg spinner, so my inspiration was Shane Warne and wanted to be able to bowl all the different deliveries he had and have his arrogance. I also loved watching Jimmy Anderson and Dale Steyn bowl and AB De Villiers makes batting look easy. Also, as a Gloucestershire fan growing up, I used to love watching Hamish Marshall and John Lewis play.’
What, in your opinion, makes a great cricketer?
‘Good question, what makes a great cricketer? I have seen lots of kids come through the club and county programmes who either are hard working and work on their game every day, or ones that have so much natural ability, but the ones who take that next step into professional cricket have both and they are relentless with whatever discipline they do. They don’t stop looking to improve and keep setting themselves targets each year to reach. That’s the difference between your Surrey professional and a very good club cricketer.’
How would you describe your coaching style?
‘I would describe my coaching style as a bit of a mix between being fun and bouncy at times and serious when needed, but it all depends on the session. I don’t think with the type of coaching we do you can have just one style; you have to have a mix as each group need something different. I like to give the players I coach the opportunity to express themselves as much as possible and let them try and work out things for themselves, with help from myself when needed, rather than just telling them over and over again.’
How does your previous coaching experience help when coaching stronger players?
‘Good question! I have been lucky enough to coach all over the world at different environments and levels, so I don’t think there is a level of junior cricket I haven’t coached. Still to do this day, the best player I have ever coached was a fast bowler from my old club in Bristol who was bowling very high speeds at a very early age. Myself, him and his parents had to deal with lots of complaints from opposition teams and parents and the way I helped him through that, by giving him lots of reassurance and backing, has helped me deal with the real elite of junior cricket and to keep pushing them to succeed.’
Who do you think is the best international role model for Academy players and why?
‘Two players spring to mind and they are Jimmy Anderson and AB De Villiers, but for different reasons. Anderson because of his work ethic, to keep working on his game year after year and to keep getting better, which is amazing. De Villiers is probably one of the most naturally good cricketers there has been, again, his work ethic is incredible but also, he kept playing different sports to a high level throughout his youth which helped develop his cricket. I feel at times there are too many kids that just focus on one sport from a young an age. Play as many different sports as you can, as it will help with whatever sport you decide to focus on when you get to 15/16.’