Cricket hero Ben Stokes was 'a kinaesthetic learner'

Former PE teacher of world cup star says he may have lacked concentration at school but his focus on the field 'is unbelievable'

Tes Reporter

Ben Stokes, world cup cricketer

England cricketer Ben Stokes’ performance in the world cup final came as no surprise to his former secondary school PE teacher, who had seen similar feats in the past.

Stokes produced a crucial knock as England won the world cup for the first time, making an unbeaten 84 to force a super over in which he and Jos Buttler scored 15 to help the hosts to victory at Lord's.

"It's one of the privileges of my job," said PE teacher Chris Hayes, who taught Stokes for four years at Cockermouth School in Cumbria.

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"You get to have these children and people that cross your path and you have moments with them and they are memorable moments that nobody can ever take away. We had some great adventures," the PE teacher added.

Hayes, who watched every ball of the world cup final, said: "I was absolutely convinced he would not be out. I've seen that in him before. He won't give his wicket away.

"He'll take that responsibility to try to see the job through and close the deal. He had that determination all the time, that game management as well as the talent. It doesn't surprise me at all that he was able to do that.

"You talk about his lack of concentration in the team meeting or school environment, but the ability to concentrate with that bat in hand is unbelievable and he showed that on many occasions with us."

Hayes soon found out Stokes learned best by doing, and believes PE was "his natural environment"

He said: "One of the terms is a kinaesthetic learner, which basically means you only learn through movement."

Meanwhile, Cockermouth School put out a tweet saying everyone was proud of the former pupil.

Stokes' family had moved over from New Zealand after father Ged became head coach for rugby league side Workington. He joined the school aged 12, in 2003, and also shined at rugby and football.

Hayes, who is about to retire after spending 27 years at the school, said: "[Stokes] was a naturally able sportsman, physically very able and highly coordinated.

"He wanted to be involved in all formats of the game –his batting, his bowling, his fielding. He could throw the ball further than anybody I'd ever seen."

Stokes' arrival added to a team Hayes said already had a number of "very talented cricketers" and he named that group as the highlight of his coaching career.

"They were the most able team that I've ever had," he added. "We were able to compete as a state secondary school with the elite of the public schools, on an equal level in terms of ability. And we beat quite a few of them."

The performance on Sunday was no surprise to Hayes, who has received a signed shirt from Stokes to mark his upcoming retirement, and he is left to reflect on having a role in the development of a player named man of the match in a world cup final.

"I was pretty convinced he would be a professional cricketer. He's not just a professional cricketer, he's not just an international cricketer, he's actually a world-class cricketer. You can't really spot that!

"You think this lad is good and he'll make a cricketer, but to go on and be a world-class cricketer... he's been unbelievable."

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Tes Reporter

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