LCCC Academy Overview
December has been a challenging month however, there's been some fantastic work completed to finish 2020 on a high and to put us in the best position possible moving into 2021.
Academy Scholars induction evening, return to training and pre Christmas camp
The 11 academy scholars returned to training on 2 December, due to their status allowing them to train under the elite guidance as directed from the government. This status required daily monitoring and temperature checks and a strict adherence to the club’s policies, which allowed for them to return to the gym and the nets.
The players worked incredibly hard through November working remotely with support from Edd-Riley Gibson (assistant Strength and Conditioning coach) and Ryan Smith (Assistant Physio). This enabled them to achieve strong positive results in their Winter fitness testing and really push on with their cricket for a month before Christmas.
At the beginning of December, we had our Academy Scholarship induction evening via zoom. This takes place each year and provides players and parents with information and more of a background of what it means to be a scholar for the club. The evening consisted of myself, Paul Nixon, Charlie Mulraine (PCA) and Karl Steptoe (LCCC sport psychologist) all speaking in depth about the process and what it involves. Following this and for the weeks leading into Christmas, the players had an individual training plan which enabled them to focus on major areas of their Personal Development Plan. This PDP is created through initial coaching staff, case conferencing the individual player’s needs, and then, following the player’s appraisal, with myself, where we agree the three main areas of focus for the next 6 months. The PDP’s are reviewed quarterly and adjusted where necessary.
Once the players broke up from school, we held a two-day camp in the week leading up to Christmas. With the help of Jack Whalley (LCCC analyst) we videoed the players throwing, catching, bowling and batting techniques. We then discussed the footage in detail, using some of the technical models used by the world’s best players, for them to compare themselves against. Each player came away with access to their own footage, a better understanding and awareness of their own game and some time to practice and develop the areas that they feel need addressing. This camp was extremely useful.
Rehan Ahmed attending Young Lions camps
During the last few months, talented 16-year-old Rehan Ahmed has been training with the England Young Lions (England U19s). They have been working on their individual skill sets with specialist coaches. Rehan has particularly enjoyed some masterclasses that were put on by Ian Bell.
180 nominations for trials from local clubs and schools
During November, we invited clubs and schools in the county to nominate their best players between under 11 to under 18 age groups for county academy age group trials. We received 180 nominations from this process. The initial plan was to hold the under 11 and under 12 trials in January but with the latest government guidance we have postponed all trials until further notice. The situation may be that we have to wait now to hold trials outdoors in April. In my view, it is always a positive thing to see players playing outdoors rather than in indoor nets, and so this may work out better in the long run.
Academy Age group outdoor sessions, Nutrition zoom call and throwing competitions
2020 was a particularly tough year for the age group players and the last few months proved no exception. With no indoor cricketing activity for the squads, the coaching staff had to think on their feet about how to keep the players engaged and learning.
We focused on three main areas;
During this break, we had the view of, if we could improve one element of someone’s cricket during this period, then it would have had benefit. With my belief that most of the biggest cricketing development areas for young players is in their athleticism, I decided to focus on throwing (a fundamental athletic skill in multiple sports including our own). For two weeks, we ran a throwing competition where I circulated some throwing technique drills provided by England fielding coach Carl Hopkinson. The top three throwing techniques were then given coaching advice from Carl himself (week 1) and from LCCC new recruit Scott Steel (week 2). The effort put into this from both players and parents was exceptional and showed some real signs of improvement. The winners of each week were:
Week 1 - Toby Edwards, Tom Smith, Jaiden Patel
Week 2 - Zethan Bandi, Josh Fitzpatrick, Todd Mason
With the government allowing the continuation of outdoor sports for under 18s and continuing on the theme of athletic development, we also put on two weeks of outdoor fielding and athleticism sessions for the academy under 13/14/15 age groups at Ratcliffe college. These sessions were ran by Jigar Naik, Dave Whitmore and Edd Riley-Gibson and were designed to encourage movement and co-ordination, to help improve fielding and to bring the players together for some fun and activity.
Nutrition has been something that we have targeted over the last 12 months to improve across all age groups, with a key focus on educating the players and parents. The club Strength and Conditioning coaches Alex Carrie and Edd Riley-Gibson ran a zoom seminar which was very well received. During the interactive session, the players were asked questions and also had a Q&A session with our very own Jigar Naik about his experiences of nutrition. The session was very successful and we are looking to build on the momentum that we have gained in this area.
NACC Facebook live event
The final element of the pre-Christmas period was a Facebook live event which was run by the National Asian Cricket Council. The event was a Q&A seminar about talent identification and development involving myself, Jigar Naik, Mo Bobat (ECB head of performance) and Min Patel (Kent CCC Head of Pathway). This was well received and thoroughly enjoyable to be part of.
Looking forward to 2021
For January, the Academy scholarship players will begin training and continue their individual development under the government’s elite sports Covid-19 guidance. This will build in momentum towards the season with huge anticipation for what lies ahead. We at the LCCC Academy wish you all a happy and prosperous new year and look forward to seeing you in the summer.
Alastair Maiden - Head of Academy