For the first series of blog posts Head Coach Olivia will be introducing some of the incredible people she has met through coaching and the wider messages that we can potentially learn from the sharing of stories.
Shaa Ravi: from the streets of Chennai to North London.
By Olivia Rae Head Coach, Rae Cricket Coaching
A part of the coaching process is an exchange of learning from player to coach; asking questions in order to gain a deeper understanding of how best to progress a skill for an individual player. Similarly in life, if we ask questions of the people we meet, we are allowing ourselves to expand our knowledge to better understand the person and the world we live in.
On a flight back from a recent Rae Cricket Coaching trip to India, I was fortunate enough to be seated next to a Nepalese national who had worked his way up from private to major in the British army and had toured both Iraq and Afghanistan. A big part of the Rae Cricket Coaching programme is helping players become mentally prepared. I took the opportunity to learn more about how he became mentally resilient; something I can’t wait to share at my upcoming workshops on mental preparation.
Sticking with the theme that asking questions is important, let me introduce you to Shaa who is the first featured player of this initial series of blog posts. Shaa is one of the women’s players I coach at North London Cricket Club.
To understand a bit more about Shaa I asked her what cricket she had previously played, and she told me her only experience of cricket was gully cricket (street cricket) with the boys on the streets of Chennai!
“Gully cricket had silly rules like you shouldn’t hit the ball into your neighbour’s house meaning restricted areas to hit the ball, there was this concept of “one pitch catch” . I usually played with my cousins and his friends during summer holidays, used to look forward to it… It is funny to say but I have never played cricket with other girls or ladies before.”
Now, she has had what she refers to as ‘proper exposure’ to cricket for the first time at the North London Women and Girls winter nets and admits that it is ‘very different and difficult with the hard ball now’. However, as her coach I can see that she definitely has a platform to build on from her time on the streets of Chennai! She can flick the ball off leg stump with some serious skill! Shaa reflected on her experience and seemed to agree
“I play wristy because of that (Gully cricket) maybe. and if you throw anything at me I could catch it, it developed my catching reflexes well.”
Shaa has been on an incredible cricketing journey so far. Beginning on the streets of Chennai and culminating last Sunday when she played her first ever game of competitive cricket at the age of 33!
It is amazing to see Shaa’s passion for the game, her genuine smile whilst playing is infectious and the girls can learn so much from her enthusiasm and approach to playing.
If we don’t ask questions then we are depriving ourselves of an opportunity to learn. Shaa shows us that cricket is a sport for all, its never too late to pursuit your goals and expressing your passion for what you do can inspire others. Keep an eye out on twitter to see how Shaa gets on this season!