When we were children, many of us played sport, and we spent much of our free time out of doors. Today, too many children exhaust their days in front of a television, computer screen or video game console, without ever leaving their homes. This dearth of physical activity can lead to an increase in childhood obesity and poor overall health.
Some of these children might play a sport and better their chances at a healthy lifestyle, but find themselves embarrassed by their lack of athleticism, and so shrink away from competitive environments. If, however, while they were still in primary school, they could be introduced to a sport where natural physical attributes are of secondary importance to patience, intelligence and learned skills, these at-risk children might yet be saved.
This is the mission of Ingram Jones, the director of Baylor International Champions, an organization based in High Wycombe that seeks to make a difference in the lives of children by providing sport and educational opportunities for young people through cricket. Baylor IC plans on visiting schools in the UK to establish cricket development programmes, while at the same time creating strong ties between schools and local cricket clubs. Primary school sessions are in the form of Kwik Cricket, while secondary schools will play hard ball, with advanced skills being taught.
Jones’ long association with cricket began as a player at age eleven, with district cricket for Clay Hall Cricket Club in Essex. In London, he also played in the West Indian World League and the Clive Lloyd Cup on the team of his father, who is from Trinidad. As he matured, Jones discovered that he had a natural knack for coaching, and soon found himself drawn to that aspect of the game. After running afoul of an umpire for coaching on the field, Jones decided to take the leap and give it his complete attention.
In early 2009, having coached tournament-winning teams at schools and clubs in both the UK and Australia, Jones decided that the time was right to launch a brand that would allow his coaching philosophy to flourish. From this decision came the birth of Baylor International Champions, which has since become his passion. At BaylorIC, players are encouraged to not stand around, to keep moving and to stay focused. Endurance, strength and stamina are stressed in intense physical training sessions. Players are grouped into squads that reflect their level of cricket proficiency, and better players are introduced to coaching, as they are encouraged to work with players of lesser ability.
As the BaylorIC programme expanded, an opportunity arose to collaborate with 4 Media Students from Oprington College to produce a DVD called “The Takeoff;’ the project was just recently completed. The film includes many on-screen interviews with BaylorIC players, who reveal their feelings about cricket and the BaylorIC experience. “The Takeoff” will debut on the Community Channel programme “Your Sport” on 12 April.
Recently, Jones has been engaged in talks with cricket proponents in America who are interested in exploring how his unique coaching programme might be transplanted to the States. The results have been promising so far.
“I’m really excited about what Ingram’s doing with BaylorIC,” said Jamie Harrison of the Maryland Youth Cricket Association. “His programme is exactly what we need to have in the US, and I’m optimistic that we can find a way to make that happen.”
For Ingram Jones and Baylor International Champions the sky is the limit, which is fitting, as “The Takeoff” uses a dove to symbolize the freedom that children experience when imposed restraints are removed and they are allowed to reach their potential. At BaylorIC, helping children reach their potential is at the heart of their mission, and it is their dedication to this mission that gives the children involved a chance to soar above the clouds.
For more information on the BaylorIC programme, contact Ingram Jones at: info@BaylorIC or visit their website at http://www.BaylorIC.com/.