Bowling, rolling and cuddling lions

By Anna Nicholls & Alex MacDonald

Following a three-day training camp at the National Cricket Performance Centre (NCPC) in January, eight seamers from the England Women’s Development Programme Under-19s (EWDP U19s) and two players from the England Women’s Academy (EWA) headed off to South Africa for a specialist pace bowling camp.

Over the past 10 days, we have been based at the Sports Village of North West University, Potchefstroom, and following the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who trained with the England Performance Programme (EPP) fast bowlers before Christmas. We have enjoyed the use of the ground at Senwes Park and the high performance gym to help hone our skills.

















For the first few days we focussed on personal, technical areas off short run-ups and gradually built up the pace in order to ensure the improvements stayed present in our actions in any situation. The final test of this was competitive full pace net sessions where we were able to test our new skills against each other (and some of the coaches, which was entertaining!).

A big focus has been on trying to get us used to understanding our own bowling actions through both feel and video analysis, which has charted our development over the last couple of months.  This has accelerated our technical learning and ability to have a strong say in what we do during training sessions, which is vital for us to live up to one of our squad values of personal responsibility for our own development.

















Having access to world-class facilities and beautiful weather, we have also had the opportunity to ramp up the volume and intensity of our fielding, and there has also been lots of time to focus on other development areas too. Indeed, it has also given us the chance to practice new skills such as rolling and slip catching (which fast became a team favourite!).

Away from the cricket we made a cheeky trip to a local lion sanctuary, where we got to cuddle some baby lions and come within a fence of being attacked by some very big ones!

Overall it has been an amazing experience for all of us and we hope to take all the hard work into the start of the season in a couple of months.