THREE teams from two different sports have benefited from the experience of Matt Williams this weekend as he tours the region running some workshops.
Williams has played baseball for the Sydney Blue Sox and Australia in the 2009 World Cup, as well as playing in the United States for seven years, including some minor league appearances.
A pitcher, Williams is currently studying at UNE in Armidale and took some time out to come to Tamworth to help coach the Central North Cricket Academy and the Tamworth Cougars baseball side.
On Sunday morning the baseball star was at Farrer taking the Central North academy squad through some fielding and throwing techniques.
The throwing clinic focuses on technique with a major focus on injury prevention.
“I helped them change a few things to maximise efficiency and also to stop them hurting themselves further down the line when they are older,” Williams said.
The boys were also put through some fielding practice and technique.
“Getting to the ball, and footwork near the ball to get into a throwing position is important because you can cut down the batsman’s time and have better accuracy.
“They are a good squad – keen to learn and listen.
“I was surprised with the skill level out there.”
Sunday afternoon saw Williams return to his preferred sport of baseball, putting the Cougars through their paces before the season, as well as helping out with some coaching accreditations.
Coach Matthew Mellross and some others are completing their level III coaching certificate so a Tamworth side can be entered in the country championships next month, and Williams is helping them become accredited.
“It is great for him to volunteer his time and knowledge to us,” Mellross said.
The Cougars have quite a few new players this season who were given the opportunity to learn the basics from the best, as Williams put them through a standard training run.
The side was put through some hitting and fielding drills as well as the pitchers getting a personal clinic from the star.
Williams was also putting the Warriors through a training session before returning to Armidale to continue his studies.