AT the heart of the KFC Mini-Cricket programme are dedicated and committed coaches that give their time each month to nurture the future of South African cricket.
One such individual is Lauren Bangay from Kokstad Junior School, whose exceptional efforts have earned her the KFC Mini-Cricket Coach of the Month award for April.
While studying to become a teacher, Lauren did a cricket course at the Cape Town Teachers’ College in 1993. Since getting her certificate for the course she hasn’t looked back, with her enthusiasm for the game and the coaching of it growing more and more each year.
Lauren’s love for the sport is similarly shared by her family members. She sees her 8 year old son becoming the next AB de Villiers; a personal Proteas favourite that she believes epitomises what true leadership is, providing the ideal role-model for her boy.
With a natural love and flair for the game, she has no problem motivating her own child to get active, but naturally coaching the many others comes with its own challenges.
“I make sure that I have about 4 to 5 games planned before each training session, but I am very fortunate because I have coaches who help these kids with the basics of the sport”, shares Lauren who believes in keeping kids active through variety.
Her approach to the coaching sessions each week is designed so that all necessary skill sets are addressed and worked on. For example she covers ‘skills development’ on a Tuesday with the slightly finer elements of ‘game structure’ taking place on the Thursday. This means the kids get to benefit and ultimately enjoy the game to the fullest. But Lauren’s coaching
challenges don’t stop there.
Lauren is also currently the coordinator for KFC Mini-Cricket in her region, and has discovered that most of her local schools do not have extra mural activities.
“I feel it is my responsibility to make sure schools are approached in order for them to introduce the sport to their children. We usually approach school principals and see if they in return can run this idea by their Sports Managers.”
Added to that, some kids in the region come from outside areas. This means they have to rely on public transport to get home from practices, making it difficult to keep them actively involved and attending sessions.
“We try as hard as possible to get teachers involved with training sessions and coming
to match days, then encourage them to transport the kids who live around their locations”, adds Lauren.
The focus on teacher involvement in the KFC Mini-Cricket Programme is a big priority for Lauren. Her theory is that by encouraging the coaches first, they in turn are then able to provide more and more kids with the encouragement needed to get active.
A coach that played a massive role in encouraging her was Angela Cilliers, the KFC Mini-Cricket Coach of the Month winner for September 2011.
“Our mission is to make sure that we get other coaches from other areas involved in the seminars offered by KFC and see to it that they can get to the level where they too can win the coach of the month accolade.”, elaborates Lauren on the big picture thinking behind their efforts.
In recognition for the hard work and success Lauren has enjoyed, as well as the title of KFC Mini-Cricket Coach of the Month for April she also receives a trophy, a cap and KFC vouchers worth R1 000. A well deserved prize for someone that shares the mindset of KFC – that through KFC Mini-Cricket our children can live active lifestyles. Lifestyles where cricket and
camaraderie build a brighter future.