Joined up thinking
Posted in England Women
I am going to be clocking up the miles over the next fortnight. You name me a county and I will probably be driving there. It's important I do this though.
In my role of Women's and Girls' High Performance Manager, it's key that I build relationships with the counties to ensure our best young players, namely the ones in the women's academy, receive consistent coaching.
If we are working on something with a player then it must be replicated by their county. It works the other way around too.
We have identified 38 high potential players who are put into specific groups depending on when we think they will play for England. That could range from one year to four years.
I then meet up with each player's county to chat to the academy director and the support staff. We talk about the player's strengths and areas they need to work on. It's a consistent approach to player development.
If you look at our women's academy programme, there are four weekend camps each winter, matches in the summer and a high performance camp in India, but the contact time we have with the players is quite small.
The players spend more time with their counties. As such we need to have a good relationship with the counties to make sure we are working on the same areas of development.
It's a trust thing too. The counties are aware of what we need to achieve with the players and we get a better understanding of what each county needs to achieve with the same player.
Both ECB and the counties have to support the players appropriately. We are part of the same structure and want to achieve very similar objectives with the players we work with.
The first county I visited was Essex on Thursday. I met John Childs who is the academy director. We are quite similar - he's a little taller though - in terms of our view on people development being important.
We both believe that to be a world's best cricketer you need life skills. If you have an independently thinking cricketer with world class skills then there is a good chance they can reach the top.
My next county will be at Warwickshire on Tuesday then two or three a day for the next week. I will be in Middlesex, Kent, Devon, Somerset, Lancashire, Yorkshire, MCC, a couple of universities - you name it and I'm there.
My aim is to speak to the counties again in September and October to chat about what their players have planned for the winter and how both the counties and ECB can support the players consistently.