Wiltshire Cricket

Wiltshire Cricket Limited holds evening on Under 9s Cricket in clubs

Many thanks to the clubs that attended the workshop on under 9s cricket at Biddestone CC.

Under 9s Coaching Programmes in your club:

We worked through a series of exercises in which we analysed the current experience that clubs provide for their under 9 parents and players. We then compared against the experience of All Stars Cricket. This culminated in an exercise discussing how we could improve our under 9 offering. The thoughts of the group are summarised below

Improvements to Under 9s Club Programmes:

  • Parent Engagement
    • Some of the strengths with All Stars include; a) getting parents involved in the delivery of sessions, b) providing refreshments and a social space for parents, c) ECB providing weekly comms. This can’t all be repeated at Under 9s but with an ethos of parent engagement being created at All Stars it is important to try to keep this going
  • Social Media
    • All Stars has a great presence on Social Media, but at Under 9s sometimes we stop talking about it as much. A concerted effort should be made to talk about Under 9s
  • Identity of Under 9s
    • All Stars has a strong brand and identity for players. Why not think of a quirky name for your under 9s programme in your club?
  • Off pitch activity
    • One of All Stars’ aims is to make cricket clubs a place for the family and community. Therefore, considering activity spaces for siblings of under 9s, running Barbecues etc, can all help to continue to make your cricket club an attractive place at under 9s
  • The right person delivering
    • A great lesson with All Stars is that there could be someone in your club, i.e. the ‘tigger’ type character, who doesn’t want to go through a lengthy Coach Education course but who is the right person for delivering a programme to young children. Think about this with under 9s too. Who is the right person to build on the fun environment of All Stars when delivering Under 9s cricket
  • A well designed coaching programme
    • Through All Stars there is a carefully designed curriculum that is easy for coaches to follow. It was discussed on the night that Wiltshire Cricket could provide something similar. This is something we are working on (see below). In the meantime though it is important for clubs to make use of the resources that do exist, e.g. icoach cricket
  • End of programme celebration
    • Most All Stars centres culminate in some sort of presentation, indeed some clubs conclude every session with a presentation of some sort. Why not do the same with Under 9s?
  • Giveaways
    • We fully recognise that there is not the national resource for under 9s as there is for All Stars and so matching the backpack and kit offer will be difficult. However, there are cheap alternatives that could be used for Under 9s to again give the programme some identity, e.g. why not produce one of; t shirts, water bottles, caps, with club logo to give away to under 9 participants?

We caveated all of the above by recognising that resource and volunteer time will differ from club to club and so some of the above will be more achievable than others. However, the purpose of producing the list above is just to get clubs considering what they could do to help enhance their under 9 offer.

Increasing the competition offer at Under 9s

The Wiltshire Youth Cricket League currently do a fantastic job in coordinating the hosting of under 9 festivals throughout the season. You as clubs then do a fantastic job in running those festivals. However, a key discussion at last week’s workshop focused around whether this is enough…

  • In 2018, there were 1027 All Stars children in the county. All clubs had double figures in terms of numbers of participants with many clubs having over 30 All Stars participants
  • At some stage, if All Stars is to have been successful, these children will move in to under 9s cricket. However, based on the current model there could only be the opportunity for clubs to take one team of 6 players to a festival each weekend.

We know that children want competition, particular by under 9s. If we do not provide more competition opportunities we risk losing children from the game.

So, what can we offer in addition to the Wiltshire Youth League organised U9 festivals?

  • Intra Club Festivals – For those clubs with bigger Under 9s sections, why not factor in a regular festival week to your programme? For example, once a month the under 9s coaching session will become a festival week with made up teams competing in some form of competition?
  • Localised cluster festivals – As well as entering the larger weekly festivals as coordinated by the WYCL, think about having discussions with a local group of clubs around having some mini festivals during the season. This could be 2-3 clubs, each hosting a festival each during the season and at each festival clubs can bring 2-3 teams

A key message for under 9s is that we can’t think that running one under 9 team of 6 players is success. We need to innovate to provide more competition for more players

How to run the perfect festival

A final group exercise that was run on the evening was to look at the under 9s festivals themselves, and to consider what would be a perfect festival. If run well, under 9 festivals can be a wonderful opportunity to showcase your club in a positive light; something so important in today’s competitive market for sport and leisure

The perfect under 9 festival would include…

  • Pre-festival communications to all teams
  • A briefing at the start of the day
  • A clearly defined end time for the day
  • A match schedule, ideally documented in a festival programme
  • A ground layout, communicated in the festival programme
  • First Aid provision
  • Pavilion/Indoor space access
  • Wifi
  • Clean toilets
  • Refreshments available
  • Organised car parking
  • Volunteers from the club
  • Clearly visible help desk/management desk
  • Music / PA system
  • Outdoor seating
  • A presentation ceremony and prizes at the end
  • Post festival thank you and communication conclusion

Other notes

A few other notes….

  • Stage appropriate - Make your programmes stage appropriate. Don’t be afraid of an All Star playing in under 9s if it is right for them, equally there will be the odd occasion where an 8/9 year old may want to do All Stars as they have never picked up a bat or ball before. This is fine and we shouldn’t be rigid with the age that All Stars finishes.
  • Under 9 rules – You’ll see a snapshot of the new Under 9 rules in the attached presentation, but for more detail on the new ECB Under 9 rules, visit https://www.ecb.co.uk/play/junior/junior-formats

Wiltshire Youth League Under 9 Festivals – These are now confirmed and open for entry I believe. Paul Rowson has sent details to all clubs but dates can also be found here; https://www.wiltshirecricket.co.uk/schools-and-youth-cricket/under-9s-cricket/wiltshire-youth-cricket-league-under-9-festivals/