Sunday 23 August 2020

St Joseph’s College – Exciting times for cricket and why it is so important for young people

It is hard to believe that the summer term of 2020 did not see a single ball bowled at the award winning, picturesque grounds of St Joseph’s. Students trained long hours throughout the winter, patiently waiting for their moment in the sun; the moment that unfortunately never came.

Cricket is not the only sport that has missed out in these unprecedented times. Every sport has been affected in some way, with the majority yet to return to any type of competitive form. However, in the last few weeks professional, semi-professional and amateur cricket has restarted, albeit in a ‘new normal’ format…

Within the current climate I have considered why cricket is so important, now more than ever before. The significance of this return is unmeasurable as children and young people have had very little access to sport over the past five months. We all know the positive effects sport has on our physical and mental health and therefore, right now, it is hugely important for cricket to be taking place within schools. Students will have the opportunity to fulfil their competitive needs, their love for playing within a team and feeling a part of something special. If ever there was a chance for young people to try their hand at a new sport and ‘have a go’ at cricket, now is quite possibly the best time!

Even in ‘normal’ circumstances cricket had become hugely important within schools, which is why, here at St Jo’s, we are so lucky to have received the capital investment into the sport that we have had over recent years. Cricket has the capacity to teach our students so many life skills. Cricket is recognised as a team game played by individuals. Individual performances are emphasised more than they might be in a traditional team sport such as rugby or football. In many ways, I believe cricket relates closely to everyday life, more so than the traditional team sports. For example, within a single game of cricket there are moments in a game where a player is on their own, relying solely on their own performance. Other moments require teamwork, as a fielding team, or as a partnership when batting. There are times when batting when you might have to survive and overcome a tricky patch, similar to the current situation in the world today. Other times the conditions are perfect and runs flow easily from the bat, so much so that you almost forget making a mistake could lead to your game being over. Ultimately the game can be cruel, but learning from your mistakes is essential to personal success and development.

One thing is for sure, cricket will be back stronger than ever at St Joseph’s College. This academic year sees us building on previous strengths with the full-time employment of former professional cricketer Matt Hunn, who had five successful years as a fast bowler on the staff at Kent CCC. He will help us to increase the high quality one-to-one and small group sessions we deliver as part of the year-round cricket programme in our new indoor cricket performance area. Not only is his appointment going to assist me with delivering all aspects of the College’s cricket provision, it is also a great opportunity for our high-performance and ‘new to cricket’ cricketers to further develop through a professional coaching environment.  Cricket is now available for girls and boys from Year 4 to Year 13, with access to training for up to three hours a week in the Christmas term and up to 10 hours a week in the Summer term.

Something that has always been very important to me as a coach is that we are able to spend time with individuals, understanding their game as well as knowing each of them as a person. The one-to-one sessions allow this time for individuals. My journey at St Joseph’s College began over five years ago and since joining much has changed around the cricket provision. I have been lucky enough to coach so many great and successful young students whilst also having the opportunity to enhance my own professional development through the completion of the ECB Performance coach, Level 3 award.

I strongly believe this is one of the most exciting times for cricket at St Jo’s. With wonderful new facilities, new connections and more exciting plans ahead, I cannot wait to return and provide cricket for all at St Joseph’s College.

Mr E Tyler

Head of Cricket

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