It’s been a busy start for Eton’s new cricket professional Tim Roberts, who joined the school in September.

He may have joined outside the cricket season but Tim has been busy coaching, taking 1:1s and soccer training.

The former professional Northamptonshire and Lancashire player is also a qualified teacher and is teaching a programme called C: Perspectives, where speakers come to talk about current issues, which are later discussed and debated by C Block pupils. Subjects so far have included crime and punishment, fracking, freedom of speech and education. Tim is also taking tutorial groups and is part of a boarding house team.

Eton’s sports ethos is one of participation, enjoyment and performance. While the leading players are offered additional coaching to help them to excel, all boys are given opportunities to develop their skills, use the facilities and have access to coaches.

“Essentially it’s about encouraging participation, as well as excellence. We want as many boys as possible to take part in and love cricket but we also have provision for the top players too,” said Tim.

Tim has been holding 1:1s for all interested boys, irrespective of their abilities. The boys can opt to take part in these during their free periods, and in the evenings. Tim writes a report after each session and often includes a video, to help each player develop his skills further. Group sessions also take place throughout the 7 day boarding week to allow boys to foster their love for the game whilst improving their skills.

He also tries to encourage the pupils to make their own decisions about what they need to do to improve.

“It’s not all about me planning sessions for them, it’s about them taking ownership of their development too,” he said. “They know what it is they need and I am also there to guide them.”

Tim’s busiest time will be during the summer when he will work with the other coaches to oversee more than 25 cricket teams, as they take on other schools around the UK.

“That’s when we hope to see all that practice from this winter coming to fruition!” he said.