Van Bunge headed up the assistant coaching role at the recent National Deaf Squad Training Camp in Brisbane from 14–22 April.

The nine-day camp at the National Performance Centre saw the most talented cricketers who are deaf or hard of hearing from around the country come together to learn about training methods, nutrition, team bonding and culture sessions and play four T20 matches.

Four West Australian cricketers in Kory Booth, David Melling, Shahrukh Syed and Cam Wilson were fortunate enough to travel to Brisbane, with fellow squad members Matt Shenton and James Johnston unavailable for the camp.

Squad members from across the country had access to a high calibre of guest speakers in Nathan Lyon, Michael Kasprowicz and former Australian captain Michael Parramore, and were mentored by Olympian Dean Barton-Smith throughout the week.

High Performance staff from the National Cricket Centre also engaged with the players in a number of team and individual sessions.

It was an opportunity for players and coaches to use different communication methods as some prefer to sign and some prefer oral, the squad worked together to have a unified approach and improve performance.

For van Bunge, the camp was a rewarding one.

“There were many highlights, but the main ones were to connect with the group at a deeper level and come together as a group in such a short amount of time, and seeing the group progress throughout the week because of it,” van Bunge said.

I’ve learned more about the deaf cricketing world and how that works, as well as about my style of communication which evolved at this camp.

“As communication with the deaf and hard of hearing players was new to me, I had to find different ways of connecting with the players and coaching them. 

“It was a great experience and an excellent opportunity to share some of my learnings over the years with this group of cricketers, assisting them in their own cricket journey. I would highly recommend other coaches to broaden their horizons outside the mainstream cricket environment”.

When asked whether he could see himself in a role working more closely with people with a disability, the answer was a resounding yes.

“I definitely could see that happening. Working with people who have a disability provides a rewarding opportunity to stretch and evolve yourself and give back to your community. Hopefully I will get more opportunities like this going forward,” van Bunge said.

The benefits from the camp will leave all players in good stead to represent their states in the National Cricket Inclusion Championships.

The WACA have opportunities in both elite and grass roots pathways for players who are deaf or hard of hearing, please contact Job van Bunge - job.vanbunge@waca.com.au or Madonna Blyth - madonna.blyth@waca.com.au for more information.