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Academy benefit from RAF visit

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England women’s academy have been aided in their development via an exciting team-building day at RAF Cranwell.

Academy coach Lisa Keightley arranged the trip in order for her young charges to develop leadership skills and bond via a series of tasks centred round those facets.

It was an experience she believes will prove extremely beneficial in standing her players in good stead when it comes to the challenges that await on the cricket field.

“We have got quite a young squad and leadership is something we are trying to identify; the more leaders you have, the better,” Keightley told ecb.co.uk.

England women's academy

England women's academy at a team-building day at RAF Cranwell, which Lisa Keightley described to ecb.co.uk as "a fantastic learning curve"

“It was about trying to develop an understanding of what leadership is and how you can get the best out of those that you work with. It was about getting people to realise not everything is down to you.

“We picked up on people’s strengths and positives. There was no better place to go than the RAF; they were fantastic. We were only there for a day and a half, but the learning curve was fantastic.

“I could see the players were starting to get it and the instructors were brilliant. The things they set up – with reviews of all the tasks – were fantastic. You could see the players improving with every task.”

By their very nature, national sides will change over the course of years – particularly one such as the academy, which in place to supplement the main England XI.

That is shown by the fact the current crop shows several new faces. The trip to Cranwell has, therefore, played the crucial role of helping team unity also.

“The quicker you can get to know everyone before you go on tours and what not, the better,” added Keightley. “It was perfect when we did it in terms of timing.

“We have got a really young squad – with seven new players - so this was great to get them working together and realising what strengths and weaknesses there are as a group.”

One of the players involved in the exercises, Helen Shipman, certainly found it beneficial.

“We got to know each other outside of cricket, which will only enhance us on the pitch,” she revealed. “It was challenging but really enjoyable at the same time.

“The officers and the staff were with us the whole weekend and were great, really informative. It was very easy to relate what we were doing to cricket as well.”