We caught up with Warwickshire’s new youth pathway coach, Alex Laud, on his big career change from law to cricket
Law graduate Alex has swapped a career in law for an exciting opportunity at Warwickshire County Cricket. Granted it’s not obvious career progression, but one that means the new job ‘doesn’t feel like work’ and that’s the dream.
Aged just 30, Alex has spent seven years working as a solicitor specialising in family law while captaining Earlswood CC first XI, coaching youngsters in his spare time and training for his advanced coach qualification. He made the decision to leave his previous job before the role at Warwickshire came up, so it was a serendipitous moment that worked out beautifully.
Now the club’s early years high performance coach Alex says: “It’s certainly not your standard route into cricket coaching. I spent 10 years in total studying law and then working in a law firm, but my passion has always been cricket. I’ve played for as long as I can remember, since four-years-old in the garden and then junior cricket from eight onwards.”
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
He adds: “I worked as a casual coach on the pathway, learning from the team here, and a club coach for a long time as well. My involvement on the pathway gradually increased over the last couple of years and I found I was enjoying it more and more. The success of the U10s intra-county programme really was the spark for me.”
Alex started the role in November and while Warwickshire cricket is in good shape, he’s excited about making a difference. Much of Alex’s day is spent planning, strategising and working to ensure the club is reaching young talent while his evenings and weekends are spent coaching youngsters.
Warwickshire is already ‘extremely inclusive’ but Alex is keen to spread the net even further finding fresh talent, broadening the pathway and strengthening community links. The Independent Commission into Equity in Cricket (ICEC) report set out a number of recommendations for county pathways to adopt that are designed to identify and nurture young talent and promote cricket to more children.
STARS OF THE FUTURE
While the ECB works on what the proposals might look like, Alex continues to work to boost engagement and find ways to identify talent that means potential stars don’t fall through the net. Much of Alex’s summer will be spent travelling around the county watching and scouting. He says: “Coming to Edgbaston could be quite intimidating so I aim to take the pathway out too. There are challenges to playing cricket – facilities and equipment for example. Some children also view it as their summer sport not their main sport, so I’d like to change that perception.”
Alex says the cricket board has some great community schemes and there a couple of national schemes doing brilliant work that support the effort to boost the sport’s uptake, such as Chance to Shine – a national charity aiming to give all children the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket and the ACE programme which aims to inspire the wider game to support reconnecting the black community with cricket.
GAME FOR ALL
One of the routes to increased inclusivity is the potential for budding players to be able to submit videos to show their skills. Alex says: “Everybody can put themselves forward. Biases can be avoided and it spreads the net wider. The ECB’s strategy is that cricket is a game for all and that’s what the aim is.”
Warwickshire head of high performance Paul Greetham adds: “We want to ensure access to representative cricket is ‘barrier-free’ and accessible regardless of a child’s background. And to achieve that we’re increasingly looking for proactive ways to engage in grassroots cricket, in conjunction with the Warwickshire Cricket Board, to accelerate talent development and encourage participation.”
On a personal level Alex says he’s doing something that he enjoys every day. “Cricket is in my blood and I enjoy helping young players learn and develop, as people as well as players. You can see a real impact over a 12-month cycle and being able to improve the state of cricket around the county is an amazing position to be in.”