Dips earns Master Coach qualification

We are delighted that Dips Patel, our Indoor Centre Head Coach here at Grace Road is now the holder of the highest United Kingdom Coaching Certificate available; an ECB Level Four Master Coach qualification.

Patel joins John Sadler, Matt Mason and Andy Siddall as an ECB Level Four Master Coach in Leicestershire and underwent a strenuous few days of assessment at the National Performance Centre in Loughborough in a bid to be recognised for his skill set and knowledge of coaching in professional cricket.

Patel is recognised within Leicestershire cricket due to the time he spent playing at Loughborough Town CC, as well as being part of the Foxes coach team. Patel’s responsibilities evolved somewhat last season as he joined Tom Smith’s Second XI coaching team as his assistant after Smith was appointed Head Coach during the pre-season of 2018.

Patel gave us a bit of insight as to what an ECB Level Four Master Coach qualification entails. He said: “Before Christmas, I had the ECB Master Coach presentation where I had to do a 40-minute presentation and got grilled for about two or three hours after.

“We had two different types of topics that they bombarded us with questions on, both sport science and technical, so that was a gruelling day but a good experience. It was a good challenge for me as I am not great at standing up and speaking in front of people that are very professional and can do it in their sleep – it was different for me.”

Further, Patel added: “We also had a number of different assignments on things such as biomechanics, sport science, nutrition, psychology and team management and things like that – those were the nights where I had to sit in my office until about two or three in the morning after finishing coaching at 10pm.”

The qualification did not come through as quickly as expected though, but when the mark did finally come through on Monday (February, 11), Patel was delighted: “I got the mark on Monday,” he said. “Nathan Wood gave me the phone call and congratulated me on passing the ECB Level Four Master Coaching qualification, so I am officially fully qualified now.

“The ECB Level Four has changed now and you get a Post Graduate Diploma out of it, and then you can go on and do a Masters if you want. I’ll think about that, it might be a bit too much writing for me,” he joked.

“But, the ECB have cut it down so there is less writing and theory behind it which is better. But we still have the stamp of going to a ceremony and graduating. I am over the moon with that really.”

Being the fourth member of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club coaching team to have earned the Level Four qualification, Patel is now looking ahead. He said: “I think it’ll mean that I am just being more accounted for now and having more of a direct role in what I am doing, as my role at the moment has been a bit ad hoc.

“I have been doing a bit for the community team, I do a bit for myself and then I work for the professional team as well so I am scattered amongst everything – so it will be nice to have a bit more structure to my role.

“It will be nice to be told ‘this is your role now’, but my problem is that I do not like saying no to coaching because there is always someone out there that you can inspire and help.”

Patel was also a member of the Second XI coaching team in the 2018 season as he helped the arrival and transition for new Head Coach Tom Smith.

“It was brilliant, I loved it,“ he said. “He is a top guy as well Tom [Smith], I learned so much - especially from the players. It helped me with my Level Four as well, which is something that I wrote about in my portfolio – you could choose something or someone to write about.

“So you could choose a couple of players or a team and I chose the Second XI. I wrote about my experience in the Second team and a player who I worked with for a long time in Nat Bowley who is on the Academy. It was quite nice to try and bring that professional element into my portfolio. That helped me a lot.”

With the late nights now behind him, Patel looks back on the process that he started two-and-a-half years ago as he looks forward to graduating in November: “I was overwhelmed really. It has been a bit of a struggle, time wise, and trying to put the man hours in and trying to do your job to the best of your ability at the same time.

“For me especially, as somebody who is not very academic having not been to university or finishing school even - to get this done made me proud.”

Finally, he joked about the graduation ceremony as he is on the lookout for different attire than that of his Foxes gear: “I graduate in November, so I will have to get one of those square hats now - the only hat I have is this woolly one [referring to an LCCC bobble hat]. I have been told that I can’t wear my Leicestershire tracksuit.”