Aldridge Cricket Academy (ACA) team
- Sport and fitness
Name: Alexia Walker
My job title: Director of Cricket – I run the cricket programme at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, as well as being the Sussex Women’s Head Coach.
My position in a nutshell… It encompasses a lot of different areas. I oversee and run the Cricket Centre at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, which we also let out to external partners – Sothern Vipers, Sussex Women & Girls or Sussex Men and local cricket clubs. I ensure all the fixtures are ready for the season and any other events that go on throughout the year – indoor competitions, Sussex County Cricket or festivals that we host as part of the Aldridge projects. I also Coach, which I really enjoy, and have a level four qualification. As well as coaching the ACA players, who are in year 7 through to year 13, I also work as Sussex Women’s coach, working with professional players and England players. I have lots of different things to focus on each day, but it makes the job incredibly interesting.
The best part of my job… I enjoy all of the different activities that I am involved in, whether that’s managing the centre, developing young players or going on cricket tour. I have been very lucky to go to Dubai, Sri Lanka and South Africa with our students over the last few years but most importantly, being on the side-line, watching people play and enjoy cricket and realise their potential.
The worst part of my job… There are a lot of things I have to manage and a lot of things going on. At certain times, the building is open 14 hours a day to give people the opportunity to develop their cricket, whether that’s at school, the Sussex women’s and girls’ pathway or the professional players that come. It’s great to see them develop, even if it means long hours and a lot of time management.
The key skills/attributes needed in your role… The management of the building and budgets means I need to ensure I have management skills – I did a Masters in Sports Management at Loughborough, which set me up very well for this job and gave me lots of different areas I could focus on – marketing, accounting and the general business world.
Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… As a coach, it’s really important to gain as much experience as possible, working with young players, older players, professional players (both men and women) has set me up to be a confident coach, know what my style is and understand how I can impact and make players better. I also share and take ideas from lots of different coaches. This building sees a lot of fantastic coaches through the door – Charlotte Edwards with the Southern Vipers and her teams as well as the Sussex Men’s staff. Taking ideas from them and talking things through is important. I always want to develop, even though I have been coaching for 20 years, there is always more I can learn about the game to help players get better.
Back yourself – whatever job or career you choose, make sure you have the confidence to know that with hard work and with feedback from people, you can always get better, always improve and always make a difference. In the world of sport, we are very lucky that our outcome is to be outside watching our young players do what they do best, do what they love and play the game of cricket.
Name: Georgia Adams
My job title: Coach and Professional Player
My position in a nutshell… I juggle my time between two different roles. At Brighton Aldridge Community Academy I look to develop young cricketers, enhance their knowledge of cricket, and improve their skills. I do this alongside my training as a professional athlete, fitting in my own personal training and doing tactical sessions.
The best part of my job… Seeing players get success out on the pitch when they have worked really hard all winter on technical and tactical elements.
The worst part of my job… Time keeping – having to constantly rush from A to B, between my own personal sessions and making sure that I am performing as a coach as well.
Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… Learn from and take ideas from other people and get involved in as many different activities, clubs or schools as you can to enhance your knowledge. My advice for getting into cricket is try your best, embrace the challenge, don’t be afraid of getting things wrong- just give it a go.
Name: Jack Baldwin
My job title: Strength and Conditioning Coach
My position in a nutshell… Overseeing physical development, specifically related to cricket but also all-round development as a whole athlete in their performance as cricketers.
The best part of my job… Seeing long term development, working with young athletes is a real opportunity to see them develop over a long period of time.
The worst part of my job… Logistics have been tough this year (due to the pandemic) and potentially not being able to make as much of an impact as possible but it’s part of the job and you have to adapt.
Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… Firstly, experiment with your own training, read up on all the different training methods that interest you. Secondly, get as much experience as possible, reach out to people in your local area, make it clear that you are keen to learn – people are responsive to that.