THE SPENCER PATHWAY
At Spencer Cricket Club, our aim is that all junior members enjoy their cricket, develop to reach their potential and have a love of the game that means they continue playing as they become adults.
In 2013, the ECB commissioned an independent piece of research to investigate the issues that teenage players face around the game, and most importantly, understand the reasons why so many players of that age tend to drop out of the game.
Taking on board the insight gathered from 1,000 young players and the further information that became available from the National Playing Survey 2013, the ECB created a player retention model and subsequently the ‘Stay In the Game’ toolkit for clubs. The Pathway concentrates on one specific area of this research, namely Playing Opportunities and provides a framework for Spencer to adopt to help retain their young players. The following piece sets out the aims and methods of the Spencer Pathway.....
The Pathway Squad and Teams
The ECB allows boys to play in Men’s cricket from the age of 12. At Spencer, there is plenty of junior cricket for most boys up to and including the U15 age group, after which the number of competitive playing opportunities do decline as a result of a fallin the number of other clubs and teams participating in the U16 and U17 age groups. However, Spencer ensures the continuation of junior cricket for these higher age groups in their respective leagues.
Boys develop at different rates (physically, technically and mentally) and therefore some, such as those who have represented the District and County Age Groups, will benefit from the challenge of playing men’s cricket (as well as age group cricket) earlier than others.
The Spencer Pathway Programme was created to identify and work with the U16 to U19 age group and those in the Under 15’s and below who are in this category.
It actively encourages playing opportunities across a mixed age group whilst alsoliaising with the adult teams so as to ensure that boys get to play when the opportunity arises. In this way it complements rather than substitutes the work done with these players in the older junior age groups.
Independent of the eventual integration into adult cricket, the Pathway has, historically, been responsible for 3 teams:-
Spencer Development Team (Age 14 to 16) – training squad to represent Spencer in the Surrey Trust Development League where teams must contain seven players under the age of 18 of whom four must be under 16 (ages as at 1st September the year before).
Spencer Academy Team (Age 16 to 18) – training squad to represent Spencer in the Surrey Trust League where teams must contain six players under the age of 21 of whom four must be under 18 (ages as at 1st September the year before).
Spencer Spitfires (U19 T20 Team) – participation in the Surrey U19 T20 competition, where every element of the competition was mapped against the ECB’s player retention model to increase player satisfaction and engagement by not only providing Playing Opportunities but also Volunteering Opportunities where young players take ownership and have a better connection with the Club (being responsible for preparing the match–umpires, scorers, team selection and entertainment) and a chance to change the traditional Club Environment through the introduction of Music, BBQ’s and coloured kit.
In addition to the above, The Earls provide a further route for junior development into adult cricket with friendlies against a number of local teams and opportunities to play home games on the main Spencer ground.
A Sunday Surrey Slam Team (T20) has also been added this year to increase the playing opportunities.
From the age of 16, there will also be active encouragement for players to consider enrolment in the ECB Coach Support Worker courses to further enhance their development and to maintain a close association with Spencer.
What are we developing?
Technical, tactical, physical and mental skills. Batting, bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping performance. Good decision-making, mental toughness and the ability to problem solve. Fitness (strength and conditioning) to enhance performance andminimisethe risk of injury. Players setting their own realistic, specific and measurable goals, both in terms of performance (runs/wickets etc) and process(technical/physical improvements). Love and respect for the game of cricket.
How is it done?
Group coaching sessions. Individual 1:1 coaching sessions. Specialist coaching support focusing on specific skill disciplines. Scenario training sessions. Physical preparation including performance enhancementprogrammes. Nutritional advice Players progress towards own goals monitored using coach observations, video analysis and player reflections
When does it take place?
The assembled training squads will be able to participate in a winter and preseason indoor training programme with a weekly session at Spencer during the summer in addition to game playing opportunities. The fixture list is included below.
How does selection work?
Recommendations for inclusion in the Pathway Programme are considered through discussions with the Age Group Managers and senior club coaches.
If you would like to be considered and believe that you may have, perhaps, been overlooked, then please contact our pathway manager James Cunningham