IAN Gill is the sergeant-major of cricket at Westfields Sports High School's cricket program.
Gill is the head of cricket and development, charting the progress of players from year 7 to year 12.
The program is part of the south west Sydney school's education curriculum.
Cricketers train several periods a week and play in school competitions.
And there's a long list of budding cricketers in year 6 at primary school who nominate for Westfields hoping to get into the program when they reach year 7.
Gill tutors the 61 students, aided by his assistant coach and school physical education teacher Daniel Rixon.
Rixon is also the first grade wicket-keeper with Sutherland in the Sydney grade competition.
"Daniel is very astute, he's a great teacher," Gill said.
Gill, a stickler for the fundamentals of the game, said that with all the debate about the strength and future development of cricket at all levels, it was important to start with the basics at an early age.
There has been a generation of batsmen dining out in Twenty20 tournaments, earning big money, and playing a "thrash and bash" game, but while their bank accounts have swelled, their techniques have declined.
"You have to have the basics right and that's what we very much work on," Gill said. Cricket NSW has endorsed the school's program as one of the best in the state for teaching and development.
"We work on putting down the building blocks and laying the foundations," Gill said. "No matter what level of cricket you play you have to have a good technique as a batsman.
Gill, an experienced coach of two decades standing, said the foremost things taught to the young batsmen was their stance, grip, balance, footwork and technique.
He said the program worked on the players adopting the fundamentals whether batting or bowling in any version, no slogging for the batsmen, and bowlers sticking to their routine with run-ups, bowling actions and delivery.
"For batsmen it starts with having a good defence," Gill said.
"We teach the batsmen to stand side-on so they don't get squared up at the crease, they are little things but very important."
He said the bowlers, wicketkeepers and batsmen all did "individual specific" things to enhance their abilities, as well as group training.
Gill said over the years the school's program has churned out many junior representative and Australian players, including skipper Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja.
Some NSW players who came through the school program are, Josh Lalor, Matt Foster, Simon Keen and top female player Kate Waetford.
"Kate was the last girl to come through our program," Gill said.
"We haven't got any girls there at present.
"And for the past 10 years we have also been state schoolboys champion school in the Alan Davidson Shield, which is named after former Australian all-rounder, Alan Davidson.
"Overall we have provided 150 players to the Sydney grade ranks, 50 of them in first grade and 95 players in various NSW age representative teams," Gill said.