Kevin Sharp says seeing a 12-year-old walk through the door and eventually go onto play first team cricket still gives him one of his biggest buzzes in cricket.
Sharp worked with the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Gary Balance and Adam Lyth during his coaching days at Yorkshire and all have gone onto play for England.
In his various roles at Blackfinch New Road as Second Eleven Coach-Batting Coach, Head Coach and now Head Of Coach and Player Development, Sharp has seen similar steps made by several players.
Jack Haynes was a pupil at Malvern College when Sharp first arrived on the scene nearly six years ago and is the latest home grown product to make the first team breakthrough at the end of the 2019 campaign.
It makes all the net sessions, throwdowns, coaching stints and the words of advice all worthwhile for Sharp and all the county coaches.
He said: “If you were to ask me ‘what do I enjoy most’, I do love doing the batting coaching but also what I call the ‘cradle to the grave’ stuff.
“That is about the 12-year-old walking in through the door and seeing him eventually play first team cricket
“I was lucky to do that at Yorkshire with two or three very good players and here, for example, I’ve known Jack Haynes since he was 14 five or six years ago.
“He was at Malvern College when I arrived and, with the help of other coaches, we’ve seen how Jack has come through the ranks and I love that. I love seeing it.”
Sharp believes it is easier for a youngster to make the step up if they already have some contact and relationship with the coaches.
He said: “When you are in the middle of the club, to get the opportunity to work with the young kids and the seniors is great and, for the young players to know the coach when they were young, and to then see them at senior level, should help the transition of the player.
“If he turns up at a second team game having been in the Academy, and he doesn’t know anyone, it makes it a bigger challenge.
“When our young players come from the Academy into the second eleven and into the first eleven, they know who the senior coaching staff are. They will have spent time with them.”
Sharp has slotted into his new role in which he has worked at all levels on the playing and coaching side since last winter.
He said: “It’s been an interesting year for me because obviously I’ve been used to managing a team as such. I don’t have that direct responsibility now but my role is quite generic, right across the club now.
“I support Alex (Gidman) and Alan (Richardson) with the first eleven, while Andy Sutton and Ryan D’Oliveira have been opportunities for their development in managing the second eleven. I’ve been there for them because it is still early days for them in relation to the professional game
“I’ve been supporting Elliot (Wilson) with the academy and pathways and I’ve pretty gone to all the age groups throughout the summer from Under-11s to the Academy and also women’s cricket now which we’ve taken on board and I’ve done some coaching with them.
“My role is quite generic across the club and actually gives me the opportunity to work with coaches and players at all levels from youth right through to the first eleven.
“It keeps you quite fresh actually. It’s different challenges and you manage younger people different to adults.
“Throughout my career, I’ve worked at different levels in coaching. I started at grassroots level and finished off working with the first team here.
”I think the club trusts me to do the right thing and make sure we cover all corners throughout the club and I’ve enjoyed doing that.”
“I suppose my role is a little bit unusual in the game. There will not be many clubs who have someone in a position like I am.
“It was carefully well thought out and my diary is full of coaching commitments in the winter as a batting coach from the kids through to the pros and I can’t wait. “