Sports, over the years, has been an important part of society and one wonders if the focus has gained impetus in the last decade. 

It was rather exciting to interview Paul Weekes, a former England A team cricketer and now head coach at Hampstead cricket club and technical director at London Capital’s Cricket, to get his views on if sports has changed in the modern era.

Q: To start with, how has coaching evolved over the years?

‘Coaching has evolved primarily because of technology. Technology has allowed youngsters to review and look back at images and videos of them practising a skill. In cricket, as an example, technology has allowed coaches to use a bowling machine which makes it easier for them to focus on and address a specific problem.  And the young players pay more attention to the technical aspects of their game now’.

Q: Do you see any more emphasis on sports from parents/students than before?

‘No not really, I have been involved in cricket for many years and I think it still has the same amount of focus. The blend of academia and sports is probably still the same. Obviously, there is a lot more of access on tv now which one might think has been an emphasis but personally I think it has been as it has always been.’

Q: How much did England’s success in cricket help the current aspirants?

‘No, I don’t think England has much to do with it. Obviously, we live in England and from my playing days (2005), since England won the ashes and winning the world cup 2-3 years ago has highlighted that approach but what about the IPL? T20 cricket? the 100-ball competition? It’s more in our faces now on media, TV, YouTube. The accessibility of cricket is the driving force, as I mentioned earlier.  I don’t think England winning the ashes or the world cup has had a massive impact. Competitions such as T20, IPL and Big Bash becoming accessible has improved our game.’

Q: As a coach do you see sports playing a role in shaping personalities?

‘Sports is a massive factor in anyone’s life, it helps with their physical wellbeing and mental health. The team sports particularly help you learn working on plans together, integrate better, and build confidence - all of this led to overall development regardless of what level you play at. Confidence is an easy thing to get knocked but sports can teach you to strike a balance between wins and losses at an early age’

Q: What would be your wish list for cricket to go to an even greater height than it is in the UK?

‘It needs to be more diverse. There is a role to be played to make it accessible to the underprivileged. I think it is too driven by independent schools.’