Academy Coach Elliot Wilson wants Worcestershire to have “the best programme in terms of talent development-talent identification in the country” and will leave no stone unturned to try and achieve that goal.
Wilson already has a proud record of overseeing the development and progress of many Academy players into the first team squad at Blackfinch New Road.
His qualities were recognised outside of the club when he was appointed coach of the Midlands team which won the 2017 ‘Super Fours’ 50 over and T20 competitions at the National Performance Centre, Loughborough.
But Wilson is not one to rest on his laurels in ensuring Worcestershire continue to attract and develop young talent.
He has attended coaching opportunities-seminars at Southampton FC – well known for producing home grown talent – Leicester Tigers RFC and the National Football Centre at St George’s Park, Burton.
Here Elliot Wilson explains the benefits of those experiences and how they can help Worcestershire in a Question And Answer Session with the Worcestershire CCC website.
Question: You have been broadening your horizons in recent weeks?
Elliot Wilson “One was the opportunity to spend a day with the academy and development coaches at Leicester Tigers.
“We spent the morning with Dave Collins who used to be the Performance Director for Team GB and Aine MacNamara (senior lecturer in Elite Performance at the School Of Sport and Well Being at University of Central Lancashire).
“They talked about a number of things around the development of young adolescents. The opportunity to send some time around them and the coaches of the Tigers was just great for me to understand a bit more about how we can be better at developing young people here at Worcestershire CCC.
“We try and do as much as we possibly can. Myself and Kevin (Sharp) are always keen to listen and do new things.
“This winter has been quite good because there have been significant changes in coach education personnel at the ECB so our opportunities to do CPD (Career Professional Development) have looked different this winter with the ECB.
“I’ve just come back from a leadership course with John Neal who took over from Gordon Lord at the ECB (as head of coaching development) as part of a leadership programme he has put in place for guys who have done Level Four (coaching).
“Kevin and I are both doing that at a similar time.”
Question: You’ve also been looking closely at talent identification?
Elliot Wilson: “I recently spent a day at St. George’s Park with the Football Association and their Talent Identification Conference.
“Talent Identification, whether it’s football, cricket, hockey, netball, whatever, the principles of good Talent Identification crossover from sport to sport.
“To listen to some of the practitioners and academics who were there and the skilful coaches there and about what they do, and how they do it, was fantastic.
“Dan Ashworth launched the day, Floyd Woodrow (inspirational performance coach and founder of Chrysalis Worldwide) was the keynote speaker.
“Some of the coaches that headed up the successful England youth side from last summer were there and spoke about how they identify and recruit the players for an England side.
“It was time and energy well spent.”
Question: For someone like yourself trying to spot the next Joe Leach, that sort of exercise can only be beneficial?
Elliot Wilson: “I think we need to be as good as we can be at it.
“We need to try and find that very talented player who might not look like the very talented player at 12-13-14 and just identify there is something there that tells us there might be depth in their potential development.
“Fingers crossed we can get a bit better at picking the right ones more often.”
Question: You also spent a day with Southampton FC?
Elliot Wilson: “It was a similar opportunity to Leicester Tigers, an opportunity to go and spend the day with the staff at Southampton, look at how they did things from top to bottom at the various stages of their development and academy programmes.
“They’ve got a hell of a record of producing players down there.”
Question: Are all these experiences part of wanting to make you a better academy coach?
Elliot Wilson: “I want Worcestershire CCC to have the best programme in terms of talent development and talent identification in the country.
“But that doesn’t happen by just writing it down on a piece of paper. You’ve actually got to do stuff that makes that happen.
“This is all part of me being good at what I do so I can try and help the staff and the players involved in the programme be as good as they can be and we actually do get very good at talent indentification and talent development.
“We want to get better than we already are – and we’ve been doing a reasonable job for a period of time now.
“But, if you sit on your hands for six months, it can catch up with you and all go horribly wrong so we’ve got to want to get stronger and better at what we do.”