Students offered chance to swot up on cricket skills alongside studies
The Gloucestershire Cricket Board has joined forces with the
City Academy Bristol to offer students a unique opportunity to develop their skills
alongside their studies.
The new Performance Cricket programme will provide promising
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players aged 16 and above with six hours of high-class coaching a week from GCB
development officer and level three coach Chris Munden.
The scheme is open to youngsters from the Academy and other
schools around Bristol with the aim of setting up a team to play competitive
Chris Munden said: "It is a brilliant opportunity. The
facilities there are fantastic – there is even top equipment like a bowling
machine. It is the nearest thing you can get to being a professional while you
are still in college without being part of a county set-up.
"We are looking to recruit the best players we can but we
don't want to turn anyone away – the most important thing is to keep people
playing cricket. We want to attract people already at the school but if we can
get people from outside it as well then it will only make it stronger."
Cricket is one of five sports offered to talented post -16
students at the school alongside football, netball, basketball and boxing. Some
of the youngsters are invited to be part of the scheme after being identified
through the school's gifted and talented programmes, while others are selected
from open trials.
And Academy performance
development officer Alicia John said: "By the time they are post 16 they
will be specialising in one sport and if they have decided cricket is for them
we want to provide them with the opportunity to progress and develop.
"The GCB have been great in supporting the programme and
Chris' involvement means that we are able to offer top level specialist coaching
that our students wouldn't get elsewhere."
And as well as improving the player's cricket skills Alicia
says the performance scheme also helps develop them as people.
She said: "On the one hand we want to raise the standard of
what we have – there are only eight in the cricket programme so far- and on the
other hand we are looking at encouraging a large group of people to play that
might drop out of education or sport.
"If we end up creating world-class players it will be a
bonus. What we are really looking to do is use sport to make better people. We
believe these programmes will improve them on court, on a pitch or in the ring
but also in the classroom. "
As part of the programme the students are provided with free
Puma kit and access to a sport physiotherapist and
advice on strength and conditioning, sports psychology and nutrition.
They also have opportunity to
take sports leadership courses and benefit from a link between the Academy and the
University of Bath.
Alicia said: "Sport really helps to develop them and it also
gives them aspirations. When we visit Bath University the kids see the
student's union, the radio station and things like the footballers using the
hydrotherapy pool and it gives them a taste of what they could have if they
For information on how to join the programme visit http://www.cityacademyperformance.co.uk/index.asp