ACA Member, former Queensland Fire player, and current Australian and State indoor cricket player, Jude Coleman chats about her successes playing two very different forms of cricket, the upcoming Indoor Cricket Hall of Fame, Indoor at the Commonwealth Games or Olympics, what keeps her motivated and life away from cricket.
Jodie Fields (JF): Jude, your success in indoor cricket for both Australia and Queensland is quite remarkable. Captaining the Australian side since 2005, six-time World Cup winning player, won the National Championships with QLD eleven times, won the Monika Brogan medal for best female performer five times and the list goes on. What does all this success mean for you?
Jude Coleman (JC): I have been lucky enough to play a sport that I absolutely love at the highest level. The successes I have had have mainly been due to the fact that the Australian Indoor Cricket teams, both male and female, have dominated over the 15 years I have played. I have been surrounded by some of the best indoor cricketers in the world and it is easy to push yourself to improve when everyone around you is so talented.
JF: How do you feel about the initiative to introduce an Indoor Cricket Hall of Fame to recognise Indoor Cricket’s biggest contributors to the game?
JC: It is an exciting initiative and just another indication that Cricket Australia have embraced indoor cricket as part of their brand. As with any sport, it is really important to recognise those people who dedicate a great deal of time and effort to the growth of indoor cricket. To get this kind of recognition from Cricket Australia would certainly be just reward for their dedication to the game.
JF: You have played both outdoor cricket for the Queensland Fire and indoor cricket for Australia and Queensland – which cricket version gives you the greatest enjoyment or do you value both equally?
JC: I get enjoyment from both but for different reasons. I love the intensity that comes with the close proximity of indoor cricket, but the challenge of outdoor cricket always gave me great enjoyment. I am a better indoor cricketer than outdoor cricketer so I always found outdoor much more challenging and, as I am extremely competitive, this challenge of having to play above my skill level made outdoor cricket really exciting for me.
JF: Has playing indoor cricket complemented your outdoor cricket or vice versa or has it been hard to manage both sets of skills equally?
JC: I think it has been a great asset for my outdoor cricket. I get quite frustrated when I hear people tell young kids not to play indoor because it ruins your outdoor. Every year I was batting, bowling and fielding all year round. How can that be bad for your game? There are definitely differences to the batting side of both games but I started with a decent technique so I found it reasonably easy to transfer from one format to another. I think indoor has been good for my outdoor as it has given me the skill to hit the ball later and I think that is an important skill to have in outdoor cricket, particularly against the swinging ball. With respect to bowling, indoor has helped dramatically, as the skill of bowling variations in the game is so crucial and this is becoming more important with the shift to T20 cricket.
JF: What would it mean for indoor cricket as a sport if it was included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games or in a future Olympics?
JC: Olympic involvement would see a huge increase in the participation levels in Australia. This development would increase media coverage and introduce this cricket loving country to an exciting new brand of the game. Once people see how fast and intense the sport is, I believe participation will increase immensely.
JF: How do you stay motivated after a 16-year career playing sport at the elite level?
JC: I love competition and I think I would be lost without some sort of competition in my life. The fact that I can get this by playing a sport I love is an added bonus. I do have to admit though, it has been difficult to find this motivation in the past year. Golf is offering me that competition I need as I get older!
JF: You have been a Physical Education teacher and coach in your professional working career. You are an example of someone who has managed to further your goals in your professional work career but also strive forward with your cricket goals. How have you achieved this and do you have any advice for young cricketers on their journey into the professional sporting world, particularly those wanting to do two sports?
JC: When I started playing cricket, there wasn’t the possibility of getting contracted and earning money from the sport, so I had to work and train at the same time. There are so many female cricketers who have had to balance the two aspects over the years but you just make things work. I have been lucky that the Education Department have been so supportive during this time, giving me time off when I have needed to travel overseas for tournaments or play WNCL.
Hopefully the success of the women’s game will continue and young cricketers in the future won’t need advice on how to juggle both work and cricket. I will say to them though, that even if you are able to make cricket a career, think about life after cricket, and prepare yourself by gaining skills that will help you transition.
JF: How has the ACA supported you in your playing and off-field career?
JC: The ACA have supported me by negotiating more funding from Cricket Australia to further grow the women’s game and this has allowed for more financial support. ACA have supported me through yearly health checks, past player personal development grants and helping me to further develop my coaching interest through completing my Level 3 in Cricket Coaching. This support as well as the many services, advice and assistance the ACA have offered during my playing career and continue to offer me as a past player has significantly contributed to my welfare and allowed me to give back to the game.
JF: What do you enjoy off the field in your spare time away from the game of cricket?
JC: Spending time with my family and friends, drinking coffee, golf (although I don’t get to play that often), movies and finding new breakfast places!