Shane Watson considers extending T20 playing career, amidst coaching transition

The 36-year-old flies to the West Indies at the end of the month to honour the final year of his Caribbean Premier League contract with the St Lucia Stars, and will also make his Bangladesh Premier League debut in November for reigning champion Dhaka Dynamites.

They follow stints earlier this year with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, and Islamabad United in Pakistan.

Watson remains one of the most destructive batsmen on the international T20 circuit and will likely be in demand once he comes to the end of his three-year deal with the Thunder after the forthcoming summer.

"If I still know I can contribute on the field, and I'm still really enjoying it as much as I can, then I'll definitely continue to play on," Watson told Fairfax Media.

"I know how fortunate I am to have this period of time at the back end of my career to be able to play these brilliant tournaments. While I'm still enjoying it, I'll certainly continue to play.

"I'm able to spend time outside of just playing as well because I've got chunks of time off to be able to try and get the transition phase [into coaching] as smooth as it possibly can be out of my playing days because no doubt it's a challenging time for any athlete moving onto the next phase of their life.

"This Twenty20 circuit that I'm able to play now means I've got plenty of time in between to be able to set up other things outside of just my playing schedule."

Watson and wife Lee (nee Furlong) set up their coaching business Let's Activate earlier this year, which is aimed at developing sporting skills for young students through music.

The duo have teamed up with Greg Page, one of the original Wiggles, to develop a curriculum aimed at children from two to six years of age.

Page has written all of the music for the coaching clinics, to which participants learn basic sporting movements.

"You're learning the songs and the movements that go with the songs, which then means that you're indirectly learning how to catch a ball and throw a ball and kick a ball, just the basic athletic movements," Watson said.

"To integrate it through music as well, and the choreography and dance movements that goes with the songs is a new concept, which hasn't really been done before in the sports domain.

"It's a lot easier for them to be able to do compared to breaking down a specific skill and trying to teach a three-year-old or a two-year-old to be able to break down a skill to be able to underarm a ball, or throw a ball overarm or hit a ball.

"Imitation is the best way to be able to develop their skills and that's by indirectly being able to do it through music, and the movements around those songs is a very easy way to integrate it in.

"That's why we're fortunate to have Greg Page, who's written the songs, and wrote a lot of incredible songs for the Wiggles as well."

Watson said the clinics also offered an excellent vehicle for boosting confidence and self-esteem.

"They get stuck in front of the TVs and iPads quite regularly, so we're doing everything we can to keep our kids active and also in the process learning how to become a better athlete and build their confidence for the future," Watson said.

"If they don't build their confidence from a young age, research shows they are less likely to actually continue to take up sport in the adolescent years as well, and further on in the latter part of their life because they just don't have the confidence to expose themselves."

Sourced from the Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 2017

Posted on Thursday 13th July 2017
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