BLOG: Warwickshire Cricket Board runs first 'Girls Development Centre' programme

Warwickshire Cricket Board ran their first 'Girls Development Centre' programme over the summer for 36 girls between U12 and U14 at Moseley Cricket Club. Three of the girls were happy to share their experience of the programme with us.

Warwickshire Cricket Board recently ran their first ‘Girls Development Centre programme’, for girls between U12 and U14, over the summer at Moseley Cricket Club.

The programme was available to those girls who weren’t part of the county pathways and they were put forward by their clubs as those with a real passion for the game and potential to thrive under guidance of an all-female coaching team. It was a chance for these girls to play some internal matches, practice different skills in the nets and have fielding practice.

The programme ran over three days and used a total of 10 different female coaches. All of the coaches had been through county pathways themselves as junior players with two current members of the Central Sparks squad and two with playing experience with Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred

Having this many positive role models in one place for the 36 girls who attended, provided an experience that they probably wouldn't have had or seen before. 

Some of the girls shared their experience with us:

Sophie Goonewardane Brown

Sophie Goonewardane Brown

‘I really liked the development centre because it made me enjoy my cricket even more than I was. I had only played cricket (hardball) since May and I think it made me go from liking cricket to full on loving it.

'I met a lot of friends who I hadn’t met before it and some people I already knew (which was great. 😂) It was a really good experience and the days went really fast but the first thing I wanted to do after was just play more cricket.

'I learnt a lot from Gwen about keeping wicket and how my feet are supposed move, and when I’m standing up to always take it back to the stumps. I am definitely not much of a batter and before the development centre I was really scared of it, but now I am definitely less scared and I think that was something the coaches helped me with over the three days.

I think that, in the least cheesy way possible, the development centre was inspiring. I liked how I could see that there is a place for girls and women to become professional cricketers and that there is no reason why girls can’t earn a living out of playing cricket.

Maisie Thomas

Maisie Thomas

The coaches: They were great - they taught me how to do loads to improve. My main takeaway from the three days was that I need to stand shoulder-width apart while batting. Now I am very comfortable and stronger while batting.

The people there - playing with only girls and at a similar age - made me feel more comfortable. It's also so nice to make new friends with people who have the same interests as me.

The matches: These were a big boost for me. Normally I play matches in a mixed team which is mainly all boys, so having a different atmosphere - one where your team mates cheer you on whilst bowling and batting - really boosted my confidence.

The nets: These were so helpful to me. We had separate nets to practise different skills. What I loved a lot was learning how to wicket keep. It was really fun and I am really good at now.

Another highlight was that I caught a ball in a match!

Shruti Jammalamadugu Venkata

Shruti Jammalamadugu Venkata

I really liked how each person got 1-2-1 time with coaches, so I could ask questions, talk about things I wasn't getting right and also get plenty of tips and tricks to improve.

Because of the number of coaches available, I felt I got loads of attention when bowling and batting in nets which helped with my confidence. 

It was not just about nets, we also played matches and spent lots of time on fielding. It made me realise that fielding is as important as batting and bowling for a game.

This was my first year of playing matches and also coaching intensely. Spending time at the camp encouraged me to send my videos for county trials. I never thought I could be good enough for that level, however the camp really helped me to gain the confidence to apply. And showed that I can push myself.

Finally, the camp gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make friends with a lot of whom I'm still in contact with 😁

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