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Starting the journey

Posted in Disability Cricket

The ECB Visually Impaired Talent Development Programme started back in January. So far we have completed three talent identification sessions which is the first part of our journey.

I can honestly say that this has been a positive start to our journey towards the 2012 Ashes. We have seen some new talented players and have also seen good performances from previous England players.

Before the start of the programme the player ‘base’ was 20 but now it is 50, which is great development for the international format of the game.

So far the coaches have set out the right foundations for the programme and have created a supportive and challenging environment which is based on the needs of the player.

The key coaching message - performance environment, discipline, development, team work, hard work, challenge and self-awareness.

What we are looking for in a player:

Batting - good basic set-up, balance and co-ordination, bat speed, consistency of strike, ability to hit gaps, ability to hit fours and sixes, good decision making, ability to learn quickly.

Bowling - strong repeatable action, team player, accuracy, good pace or spin, wicket-taking mindset.

Fielding - ability to field on the ‘one’ or on the boundary (stop and throw), ability to work in a team.

Wicketkeeping - good posture, movement, balance, good communicator.

Overall observations from the past three sessions:

Technical: Generally good but this is a player specific game and players need to develop their own style and approach to batting, bowling and fielding. Batting generally has been good and it's great to see sweeps and drives being used. Bowling is an area for development - we need strong, safe and repeatable actions which are accurate. Fielding was good and it was encouraging to see players working together and enjoying this part of the game.

Tactical: Good to hear and see that people have game plans and views on the international game. During the summer the coaches and players will be developing game plans and tactical awareness.

Physical: Some players are at the required fitness levels but there are a lot of players who need to work on this. All players have been tasked with developing their own fitness programme which will be reviewed in June.

Mental: Overall people enjoyed the sessions and there was a positive learning environment.

Lifestyle: This is a personal aspect and it was good to talk to players about non-cricket aspects. Our role is to develop players but also people.

April session: This will be a mop up session for players who did not attend one of the last three sessions.

Summer developments: Once we have completed the April sessions the coaches will review the players' performances and complete the first talent selection stage. The summer programme will be focused on playing the international game. This will give the players a chance to develop their skills and also give the coaches the opportunity to obverse them in a match environment.

Overall it has been a positive start to our journey.