Eileen Richard

Eileen Richard (second from right) with Jatin Patel and teachers.

By Balbir Singh
Indianapolis, IN
– The fourth annual Indiana-Kentucky (IN-KY) Veteran’s Day school cricket coaching camp in southern Indiana was held at Highland Hills Middle school (New Albany Floyd County Schools area), Georgetown, Indiana. The camp took place over seven school periods for all currently enrolled students and many physical education teachers, almost all of whom were learning cricket. Few of them for the first time, and all students having access to try real cricket gear during the sessions.

Last year, four local teachers and coaches advanced their cricket coaching credentials as American Cricket Federation (ACF) Level 2 cricket coaches. The majority of the practical coaching sessions were included in the day long camp, with every class interacting and utilizing different skill and training methods. The New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation in Indiana launched the countywide school cricket program during the 2012-13 school year and the following year they hosted  day long Advanced Cricket Camp, the first in Indiana and the Midwest states, to celebrate its first anniversary during 2013.

The camp was organized by Eileen Richards and was held at Highland Hills Middle School (HHMS) in Georgetown, Indiana. HHMS is nestled in beautiful Georgetown, Indiana, right across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. The school opened its doors in 2004 to students in grades six through eight, and in the fall of 2010 they welcomed the first-ever fifth grade class. HHMS is the largest middle-school in the State of Indiana with over 1550 eager learners in grades five through eight. The teaching team consists of 85 teachers, four counselors, three administrators and a full-time school resource officer.

The Indiana Youth Cricket Association (IYCA) has been actively involved in school and youth cricket in Indiana since 2010. In 2013 a certification program was established for “Basics of Cricket” and “Introduction to Cricket” for Indiana PE teachers. The program is now available online. The IYCA also rolled out state-wide Cricket Study Guide the same year, and it included a Cricketing Terms Glossary to help teachers follow along with the state wide cricket curriculum. Eileen Richards is one of the major contributors to the Indiana state wide school education program.

Ms. Richards, a PE/Health & Wellness Teacher and Coach, oversees all sports activities in all district schools, which includes three middle and nine elementary schools. Floyd County is located in southern Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. The camp was attended by more than 1000 students, and many area teachers who were present all day to raise the bar on their cricket coaching skills and to become ACF Level 2 certified coaches.

Eileen Richards recently remarked, “We had an awesome cricket day here, and we had the whole gym playing three courts, music, cricket showing on a large screen and iPads – I would like to do it again, and you could make tips for improving this, and using two batters and any as more tips as you have.”

It’s exciting to see so many school teachers in Indiana, take the game to the next level with a step by step approach and improving overall year by year. Eileen Richards is one of the teachers with the necessary cricket coaching credentials who is working to educate more scholars about the game every year.

The New Albany Floyd county school program is one of the major projects started, and is making a positive impact, as more than 25 percent, as 8th and final year Middle school students have gone through the cricket education program for the past four years. They experienced knowledge of the game through their own teachers and coaches. It’s amazing to see these teachers and coaches develop cricket skills in the schools without much outside help.

Jatin Patel, a pioneer in cricket education in USA said, “The objective is to support Eileen Richards and her coaching team in their coaching and educational needs. It’s a gradual and incremental training initiative, through a slow process, with everyone involved and enjoying it, to advance their skills and knowledge of the game.”