‘CHAPPIE’ IS THE PERFECT FIT!
Paul Nixon on Lancashire’s new coach
Lancashire have followed in the footsteps of Yorkshire and Kent this season by appointing a familiar face as new head coach. Yorkshire went with Andrew Gale, Kent with Matt Walker and now Glen Chapple has taken the reins at Old Trafford. It will be a good challenge for him.
He’s been in the background a bit having been first team coach under Ashley Giles, and he would have learnt a lot from Giles and Peter Moores. He would have learnt from every coach he played under because you’re always picking up things and seeing what works well and what doesn’t work as well.
‘Chappie’ is Red Rose through and through, which is great. He understands the club from grassroots level and knows the club ethos.
He’s a quality bloke, too, but also very level-headed. He’s approachable, but with great humility and respect. He’s one of the best to have never played Tests for England, but he kept getting injured at the wrong time. That’s never got him down though.
Glen’s coaching position has grown and developed across the last few years. His transition from player to coach has grown nicely. It’s not always that smooth, but it has been for him.
Chappie has been captain and senior pro at Lancashire, but there can be a question as to whether someone who has been playing alongside his new charges so recently can have the necessary authority.
Ultimately it’s about communication. You have to make tough decisions, and it can be difficult to make those when you’ve been in the same boat as these players recently, but as long as the communication is right all the way through the process then decisions become commonsense and pretty much almost instinctive.
Conversations on contracts are had months before they end, but they still need to be measured decisions. It all has to be done in the right way and there are different ways to communicate with different players.
Chappie will have Mark Chilton alongside him, who, like Glen, doesn’t have the widest range of experience, having played 196 first-class games. That means you’ve got two quite introverted characters and that’s not always the best mix. Sometimes opposites can be quite good. They’ll challenge each other, but Glen and Mark are two similar personalities. It’s not the worst thing because it means they are likely to be on the same wavelength and I’m sure they work well together having known each other for so long.
As long as you’re skilled enough to do the job, there’s no issue with having an inexperienced head coach.You have to
Glen is approachable, but with great humility and respect. He’s one of the best to have never played Tests for England although that never got him down
start somewhere. I know when I left Leicestershire, I could have done a job but I would have been nowhere near as good a coach as I am now having been upskilled.
You learn how to coach, it’s not just about coaching, you become a professor of coaching so you can teach others how to do it too. That’s the difference and it’s quite a key attribute to have.
As I said earlier, it’s becoming more common to see counties take a risk and go for the fresh faces and fresh ideas rather than an experienced head.
It’s not just limited to cricket with football clubs regularly giving inexperienced managers a job. It’s good for the future of the game and it’s safe for the clubs.
Coaches who are more introverted need a captain who is slightly more extroverted, and is more a risk taker, and can lead guys into battle. The captain needs to be the loud voice and give the inspiration, so that’s a big decision for Glen to make this year.
Kent have done it a similar way with Walker taking over as head coach, though there is the experience of Allan Donald there. If you’d have said to me while I was at Kent that ‘Walks’ would be head coach in a few years’ time, I wouldn’t have believed you.
But that looks like a good set-up with Donald’s experience bound to help and it’s a smart move to get him in.Walks will still be the man in charge and ultimately every decision will be his. It’s almost like a ‘professor and a tutor’ scenario.
At most places, the professor is the head coach with his assistant as the tutor, constantly learning. But at Kent now, Donald will play the professor role, but letting Walks, as tutor, learn the ropes himself. It’s a good way to do things and lets Walker become his own coach, and he will learn quickly that way.
Wicket-taker to decision-maker: Glen Chapple, left, must learn quickly in his role as head coach