An interview with Alex Gidman (J S R 1991 – 1999) how his long-term focussed approach has led to success in cricket.
What do you do?
I’m currently the head coach of Worcestershire County Cricket Club, and assistant coach of the Birmingham Phoenix Franchise.
When were you at Wycliffe and what A levels did you study?
I was at Wycliffe between 1991- 1999 and I only studied two A levels which were Sport Studies and Business Studies
What did you enjoy most about Wycliffe / Did you have a particularly inspirational teacher? Particular memories from school?
I enjoyed loads about Wycliffe. When I started at the Junior School I was exposed to skills that I never would have thought I would have enjoyed, especially drama and music and being part of performances are still very fond memories even now. The Junior School was where I started really loving sport, and that was driven very much by two teachers Roger Kirby and John Newns. They were great people who I have a lot to thank, there is no doubt that they are responsible for some key characteristics that I needed in 14 years of professional sport.
What did you study at university and where?
I didn’t go to University! Academia wasn’t my strong point, and by the age of 14/15 I had decided that I wanted to pursue a career in professional cricket, I was very clear and focused on that.
Were you interested in sport when you were at Wycliffe?
Yes, as I mentioned earlier sport became a huge part of my life from a very early age. I was involved in every sport possible then that started to change the older I got, which is pretty natural I think. By the age of 14/15 I was cricket mad, but still enjoyed playing school sport, I think playing different sports for as long as possible is really important and beneficial.
What impact did sports at Wycliffe have on your personal development and your career?
There is no doubt that a lot of what I learnt as a youngster impacted my profession. The more I played in teams and even individual sports subconsciously benefited me. Playing in different sports means I played with different characters and personalities and even though I was young I believe I was learning all the time.
As I got older and went through Wycliffe I started leading teams and again that was crucial learning. I captained nice years out of my 14 as a professional cricketer and I’m convinced that those skills began at Wycliffe.
Also the basic life skills that are needed in professional sport but also life. I had to be fit, and eat well, and although I had a good social life, I had to make some choices that meant I missed out on certain things but that’s the route I chose.
Did you study PE at Wycliffe? If so why?
I studied PE at GCSE and Sport Studies at A level. To be totally honest, I didn’t really have any other interests, I wanted to learn about sport, it was all I was interested in!
What’s the biggest challenge in your career – it might be juggling a family!
Playing sport and now coaching professionally throws up many challenges, but the enjoyment and thrills massively outweigh those challenges!
It’s a very high pressure world, with expectations from many areas; family, friends, the team, social media, media etc etc and that can cause some sleepless nights but I soon learnt how to deal with those.
There is always the fear of it ending, sport has become so ruthless that I could be out of a job very quickly and that obviously leads to some worry but again I have learnt to be resilient and develop a very thick skin – that helps.
Most sports at elite level demand a lot of time away from home which can be challenging, especially with young kids, but they have already developed an understanding of why I’m away a lot and developed their form of resilience and ability to deal with it, I’m also very lucky to have a very supportive wife who understands the world I live in.