Cricketforgirls.com understands the importance of players having access to good coaches. We believe coaches in cricket play a huge role in players development, from inspiring them to be the best they can be, to making every single session challenging and fun. Coaches Corner provides fantastic insight into the thoughts and opinions of some of the best coaches involved in the women’s game.
Recently we spoke to Head Coach of Kia Super League team, Loughborough Lightning, Salliann Briggs. Salliann has been over in Australia working with the Womens Big Bash team, Perth Scorchers. As well as her role with Loughborough Lightning, Salliann also oversees the MCCU program at Loughborough University.
It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed since I was a teenager. I’d use to help out at my home club and then coached locally in Loughborough when I was a student to develop my coaching experiences and to keep the finances afloat. It wasn’t really until I met Graham Dilley that I thought I could turn it into a full time career. He saw something that I wasn’t aware of and therefore pushed and pointed me in the right direction.
You represented the England academy and captained Yorkshire for a number of years. What aspects of your playing experiences have helped you the most during your coaching career?
For some reason I’ve pretty much captained every team I’ve played in. I like the responsibility and from playing boys and men’s cricket till my early twenty’s, I felt I could read game situations fairly well. So if I had to choose three key areas that helped me transition from a captain to a coach it would be the ability to manage players, to take responsibility and be accountable for a teams performance and the ability to make decisions when it matters.
2016 saw the launch of the Kia Super league. As head coach of Loughborough Lightning, how do you think the tournament went as a step forwards for women’s cricket?
I think the KSL exceeded everyone’s expectations, it certainly did mine. Domestically the ECB have experimented with different structures to try and minimise the jump between international and domestic cricket, but unfortunately they have not been sustainable. I think the KSL has the ability to grow and achieve this, specifically the development of our home-grown players. Obviously the huge investment has helped, but it actually means something to the players to represent your KSL team and can be adapted to different formats. I was particularly pleased how it attracted so many fans. The crowds were fantastic.
I was particular pleased with how the Non England pathway players played. We were able to start our preparation early, which was a change for some, but they all bought into and were fully committed. On numerous occasions we relied on our younger or less experienced players to finish games, so it was pleasing to see how they performed under pressure. It’s always pleasing to see any player you work with put in match winning performance even if they play for the opposition!
What was it like working with some of the world’s best players such as Australia’s Elyse Perry and New Zealand’s Sophie Devine?
It’s been an absolute pleasure and I hope it continues. When you have player’s like Ellyse, Soph and Dane you don’t really need to do much coaching. The key thing for me is building a good relationship and making sure their experience here is a good one. My only expectations of them were to share knowledge and their own experiences with the rest of the team. Their contributions were and are invaluable, and at times can offer far more than a coach.
Unfortunately I’ve learnt a lot from making some very poor decisions, and therefore I’ve had many challenges from players who potentially I should have dealt with differently. The key thing for me is accepting that the challenges you face will only make you a better person and therefore a better coach. If I had to give any young aspiring coach some advice it would be to make sure you treat people differently, but be fair and to see challenge as the best level of support.
The biggest high is always watching a player fulfil a role they never originally thought they could do.
Hopefully professional, always in the media and thousands coming to watch.