After a two-year attachment with Cricket West Indies (CWI), former Barbados Cricket Association(BCA)Head Coach and national first-class player, Henderson Springer, has returned to the BCA as Head of Coaching and High Performance.
In announcing the appointment of the 56-year-old Springer, who has also served as a West Indies senior and ‘A’ team coach, BCA president Conde Riley told yours truly: “Hendy will be in charge of all coaching in Barbados. That includes the Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence (EWCOE), clubs, schools, improved coaching education, equipment for coaches, courses etc., and the architecture for high performance. He will be the boss”.
Springer has a very impressive background, which I will present before going into a Question and Answer on his role and expectations.
He joined the ranks of coaches 37 years ago just after leaving Combermere School and underwent career development training with the Barbados ‘O’ Level Institute; the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies; the Barbados Olympic Academy; the YMCA; the College of Professional Management (Jersey, UK); Perth College UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands) Perth, Scotland; Intec College (Capetown, South Africa); ALISON (Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online), Galway, Ireland; International Business Management Institute, New York; the Commonwealth Sport Development Programme; the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada; Coaching Association of Canada; University of Technology (UTECH), Jamaica; the Barbados Cricket Association; the England and Wales Cricket Board; Cricket Australia; and Cricket West Indies.
Springer is an unapologetic son of the most northern parish, St. Lucy, soil, and has had a long association with Barbados’ cricket and cricket in general, starting with playing at the schoolboy level, moving into club cricket for Spartan and the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) and culminating with representing both Barbados and Western Transvaal (South Africa) at first-class and List A level.
“Springs” also spent a number of seasons overseas playing and coaching professionally at clubs in Holland, Scotland, Wales and South Africa. He did some cricket analysis for Starcom Network in Barbados in the late 1990s as well.
His first association with the BCA came way back in the mid 1980s when he was invited by William “Bill” Bourne, a former Barbados and Warwickshire County fast bowler, who was also the first BCA paid coach, to Kensington Oval to take part in the Caribbean Home Insurance Company’s summer coaching camps as part of his apprenticeship.
Since then Springer has served the BCA in varying capacities as dressing room attendant, gateman, member of the Youth and Senior selection panels, medical, cricket development, scholarships and attachment and Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence committees, match manager, Man-of-the-Match adjudicator, Director of Coaching, Head Coach and Women’s team coach.
It is in the area of High Performance Coaching that Springer has made an outstanding contribution and has left an indelible mark on both the local and regional coaching landscape.
Springer coached the Barbados senior team from December 2000 to October 2016 when he was replaced. In that period of time he assisted many cricketers and coaches in their development, the teams and players won many accolades, while having a strong and productive presence on all West Indies representative sides.
He has proudly had a hand in the majority of the Barbadian players who would have made their international debuts after December 2000. He was also Head Coach at the BDFSP from January 1998 to May 2008.
levels of success. He is one of the few regional coaches to do so.
Springer has been involved in the professional development of many cricketers and coaches, as well as assisting with the construction and presentation of many coaching courses, as part of the Cricket West Indies Coach Education delivery team.
He has been a part-time presenter in the Co-curricular Credit Programme in Sports at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus for a number of years, as well as a Course conductor for the Coaching theory course hosted by the Caribbean
Association of National Olympic Committees.
Following is the interview with Springer on his new appointment:
HOLDER: What do your new roles at the BCA entail?
SPRINGER: My roles and responsibilities at the BCA will be, but not limited to the development and management of Coaching and Player High Performance plans and programmes.
My title is Head of Coaching and High Performance. Review, support and monitor. Develop, manage and implement plans aimed at: EWCOE, Schools, Clubs, National teams etc. The management, deployment of BCA coaching staff; to serve as a national selector; manage, support and review BCA club coaches; support local cricket clubs and schools with development programmes.
HOLDER: What was the title of your last job at CWI and how long were you working there?
SPRINGER: My title in my last job at CWI was Head Coach of CWI women. My contract was for two years.
HOLDER: In light of contracted BCA players and the current challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you intend to keep the players active?
SPRINGER: The BCA coaching staff are in the process of developing a programme, which will facilitate the safe return to training/practice of all BCA contracted players.
HOLDER: What do you see as the major difference between Barbados and other territories in the region, as far as having coaches impact is concerned?
SPRINGER: The main difference between Barbados and the other parts of the region in relation to coaching impact (for its size) is that we probably have more coaches per square mile than any other part of the region, and there are many opportunities to practise the skill; many human resources to assist in the acquisition of knowledge (former cricketers, coaches, Cricket Legends of Barbados).
We probably have more High Performance coaches than the rest, and this is manifested in the amount and quality of local coaches, who have served CWI at all levels.
HOLDER: How long have you been a coach and give us your attachments with Barbados and West Indies teams?
SPRINGER: I got my first coaching certification in 1983, but only started coaching seriously in 1987.
I coached the Barbados senior team from December 2000 to 2016. I have also coached the Barbados Under-17, Under-19 Women and Senior Women for one regional competition each as a stand-in.
I was involved with the coaching of West Indies teams from 2006 to 2019.
I have been the Head Coach of the men’s Senior team, the ‘A’ team and the Women’s Senior team.
I have also worked for one year with the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League in 2014 when they won, but I was never invited again.
I have travelled all over the region with the Barbados men’s team including Bermuda.
The only major international cricketing countries I have not visited with West Indies teams are Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
HOLDER: Who are the BCA coaches you will be working with?
SPRINGER: I will be working with Vasbert Drakes, Dexter Toppin, Emmerson Trotman, Ryan Hinds, Robin Parris and Corey Collymore, all BCA designated club coaches and just about any coach who may need my assistance.
HOLDER: Dexter Toppin or “Coach Dex” as he is affectionately called, was acting in your position for the last couple of years. You have known each other for a long time as club-mates at Spartan. How would you assess the work he has done?
SPRINGER: Dexter has worked really hard in my absence and for that I commend him. He has always been an integral part of all cricket development plans/programmes at the BCA.
HOLDER: What do you believe has made Barbados’ cricket so strong over the years?
SPRINGER: It is my belief that Barbados’ cricket is strong because of our structure and the amount of cricket that we play at all levels: Clubs, Schools, Masters.
Also the opportunities that players/coaches get to promote their improvement.
In addition, the EWCOE, the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme, junior programmes at some clubs, the development programme at UWI, scholarships and attachments overseas.
Furthermore, a vibrant Umpires’ Association, good sports medical and Strength & Conditioning support, Coach education programmes, the use of past players as a knowledge base (Cricket Legends of Barbados). And the fact that all the Barbadian players in CWI international teams at all levels still see it as an honour to represent Barbados.
HOLDER: Would you like to see matches in the major BCA competitions return to Kensington Oval?
SPRINGER: I would like to see BCA competitions return to Kensington Oval, or else how will we know how the pitches are playing (from a player, coach, groundsman and administration perspective).
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and International cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) Championship for over three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Email: [email protected]