Kadeer Ali believes his own experiences as a player have helped him develop as a coach as part of the Worcestershire CCC set-up.
Former Worcestershire and Gloucestershire batsman Kadeer says he put too much pressure on himself as a player and it held back his progress.
But Kadeer has used what happened to him to good effect in trying to ensure the current players he is he coaching at New Road stay relaxed and calm to help get the best out of their ability.
He is the Second Eleven Coach but has also assisted with the Bob Willis Trophy and Vitality Blast in 2020 and alongside Alan Richardson for last summer’s Royal London Cup.
Kadeer said: “I think as a player sometimes you can want it too much and put a lot of external pressure on your shoulders.
“I put too much pressure on myself to do well and that can sort of hold you back a little bit.
“I see young players who come through and want to do really well and there is a big burden on their shoulders
“I just try and take that off them a little bit now and just show them the bigger picture, that the more relaxed you are, the more you try and enjoy the journey, the more likely you are to do well.
“You obviously put the hard work in but it’s just more about having a relaxed mindset going into games and practice and not beating yourself up too much.
“Did that hold me back as a player? One hundred per cent. As a young lad I had a bit of a tough start, going into the first team as a 16-year-old.
“It wasn’t easy. I think I had four noughts in my first six knocks so mentally that was challenging.
“Then you are always searching for that score and when it doesn’t come sometimes it is not always your fault.
“You work hard, you do the right thing. The standard is good and you get some good deliveries but what happens is you are always searching for it all the time.
“It is important to try and stay nice and calm in that period. It took me a while to find my feet. I had a couple of good glimpses at Worcestershire but when I went to Gloucestershire, I played a lot better.
“They are learnings. For me it was a good life experience and I just try and pass on that knowledge and experience I ‘ve got now and experience to the younger lads.”
Kadeer joined the coaching staff two years ago but the pandemic meant Second Eleven cricket only returned last summer.
He said: “I really enjoyed it. There were so many positives. First and foremost, the second team cricket switching to four-day matches produced some really good cricket.
“The game naturally flowed, we had some good wins, the lads played well. For example, when guys missed out on the first team, they showed a great attitude in the second team which made my job a lot easier.
“Overall, a fantastic experience for me. The year before I was helping out Alex (Gidman) and Alan (Richardson) with the first team, and being around that environment, so to actually lead the second team myself, was a great experience.
“To have Kevin (Sharp) with me as well, bouncing ideas off him, having him around, was a big bonus for me. I really enjoyed it and glad it went pretty well.
Kadeer stressed the importance of man management with the Seconds in dealing with players in different scenarios like returning from injury, trying to force their way into the first team or looking to regain form.
He said: “It is very important. That’s the key, just being honest with the players and what they need to do to try and get back in or, if it’s a young lad coming in from the Academy, making them aware of the standards that you need to do well at this level.
“Keep the message strong that the second team is about performance and pushing the guys who are in the first team and if you want to stay to in the second team, whether you are a triallist or a guy coming from the Academy, that you’ve got to produce.
“That is what it is all about. We had 10 hundreds in the second team last summer. The lads did well and, once they got in, they got some big scores.
“Someone like Jack Haynes who missed out early season, he got a couple of big hundreds and forced his way back into the first team.
“Those are the attributes and character that you want to see from the young lads.”
Kadeer stepped up to first team duties again in 2021 alongside Alan Richardson when Alex Giddo was assisting Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred.
He said: “It was great to get stuck, and try and pass on some advice and experiences that I had to the younger lads.
“For me again, an amazing experience. Even though there were a lot of guys in The Hundred, there were still a lot of good cricketers around, and we had some young lads coming through who might not have played had we had the full squad available.
“To see those guys in that environment was great, and some of the young lads like Henry Cullen and Ben Parker who were around the squad as well.
“Just the conversations you have with those guys were amazing and it was a brilliant experience.”