In response to a recent article shared by Cricket Switzerland on soicial media about cricket development at Highgate CC, Darren Talbot of T20 Community Cricket Limited has outlined the key points he employed at Weybridge Cricket Club.
Over the last 4 years Darren has expanded Weybridge CC from 189 juniors to 520 this year, or in percentage terms 179%. He did this broadly by following the points explained in this article.
Darren has been involved in Swiss junior cricket development for many years, helping junior clubs across Switzerland, coaching & training, and runs the annual summer cricket camp in Basel each year - so he has a vested interest in junior cricket development in Switzerland and is keen to help.
"Not all will be practical for you in Switzerland", explains Darren, "but hopefully some ideas might be helpful".
Director of Cricket role
The best way to develop a junior section is to give an individual, who has the time and expertise, clear responsibility to develop the juniors at each club. This may not necessarily be the person currently running things! The role would entail: -
• Oversee all cricket delivery including coaching plans, fixture organisation and result/scorecard recording
• Oversee development of every player including offering 121s
• Develop and expand the junior section, including player recruitment from local ex-pat networks and local schools
• Aim to have at least 11+ players at each of under 9,10,11 and then 7+ players at under 12,13,14 and 15. This enables 6 a side teams at every age group for indoors and 11 a side outdoor teams at under 11, 13 and 15
• “Minis” – develop a minis structure to get as many under 5-8s as possible with regular fun summer coaching sessions. Ideal for the local Swiss market so there is a chance of engraining a cricketing culture at an early age
Key Areas to consider
• Delivery - frequency, location, coaching quality, enjoyment, equipment, value for money
• Matches - frequency, involvement/inclusivity
• Pathway - to senior cricket and international representation
• Weekly sessions throughout the summer and, ideally, weekly sessions over the winter
• Facilities. Can they be improved?
• No substitute for level 2 qualified coaches!
• Coaching plans
• Player centric approach
• If it’s not fun, juniors won’t come back!
• Inclusive for all levels of player receiving equal opportunities
• Do players have access to the right equipment to help them develop?
• Do coaches have access to the right equipment to deliver good sessions?
Value for Money
• £5 per training session/match rule of thumb increased/decreased according to demographics
• Use any surplus to re-invest in junior development
• 10-20 matches - indoors & outdoors - per year minimum per player - every player not just the best ones. We’ve noticed that in Switzerland they need more outdoor matches to develop their skills
• Ensure that matches are run with an eye on inclusivity to ensure every player’s development. Amended rules may be necessary to achieve that, eg pairs
• Record scorecards and player statistics to aid player development (Play-Cricket)
• Important all players feel they have a pathway whether it’s to the national team or senior cricket
• From 13, the stronger juniors should have access to open age group cricket particularly international squad players to aid their development