ULTIMATE TEACHER: Don Bambling with his young charges.
ULTIMATE TEACHER: Don Bambling with his young charges. Contributed

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Q&A; with Don Bambling

DON Bambling has been coaching club and representative cricket on the Sunshine Coast since 1978 on a volunteer basis.

He is now 73 and there is no end in sight for this champion bloke and true gentleman.

He has been recognised for his efforts by earning runner-up honours in the Sunshine Coast Daily and Bundaberg Rum Local Sports Legends competition. The winner will be revealed in tomorrow's edition.

Q. What do you love about volunteering?

"I got a lot of enjoyment out of playing so when I stepped away from playing I said I wanted to give back what I got out of it, which was a lot. I am very passionate about the game because cricket builds great character. You can get a hundred one day and then get out for a duck in your next innings. That is great preparation for life which is full of successes and problems. I feel a bit embarrassed to be recognised to be honest, because I love doing it. There are other people out there who volunteer for people with cancer and that sort of thing who deserve this more than me. But it is nice."



Q. What do you try and instil in your young players?

"I tell them that I want them to be better persons at the end of the season than they were at the start. At the start of the year they have their heads down low and I tell them to make eye contact and show they are proud of who they are. To put their heads up and show some pride. A few of them had their hats around backwards and I asked them if they were ashamed of the club. They said they weren't and put their hat around the right way. They don't wear their hats like that anymore. It's little things like that. I see my players years later and they are good people."

Q. Who taught you the ropes?

"I was lucky to grow up with blokes who were disciplinarians, who taught me to play tactical cricket. To get him (opponent) out mentally by working out his fault and persevering and getting him out that way. It is frustrating when I see bowlers tear in these days and try to knock his head off. That is something I have never taught. It's funny because a few years ago I took some boys away from the Coast and I had actually coached their dads. That's how long I have been around."

Q. When it comes to technique, what do you teach the boys?

"I find that kids these don't ride bikes that much so they are very upright. They also don't do a lot of things with their left hand (if they are right-handed) which affects the way they bat too. Because they are so upright I get them skipping which helps with that. I also get them running backwards because a lot of these kids get their feet in the air. I suppose it is evolution of humans. When we go away I get the boys to squeeze rubber balls (in their non-dominant hand) to get their strength up so they are not so top heavy. I also tell them to hit a punching bag to get that strength up."

Q. Is there any moment that stands out?

"A couple of years ago the under-15 Coast side made the final against a red-hot Brisbane outfit. I told our captain if he won the toss to send them in to bat. We won the toss and our captain said the other boy's jaw dropped. We bowled beautifully and got them out for about 168. We ended up beating them. At the restaurant that night the Brisbane team did not show up but when our side walked in we got a standing ovation for our efforts.