Under 9s Cricket
Under 9s Coaching Programmes in your club:
All Stars Cricket provides a fantastic first experience of cricket. Taking the lessons learned through All Stars how can we ensure our under 9s programme are as effective as possible?
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?
- 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 caveat 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. Clubs then do a fantastic job in running those festivals. However, with the high number of children now participating in All Stars Cricket it is essential that there is an increased competition offer for under 9s in addition to the larger festivals that are coordinated by the Wiltshire Youth Cricket League.
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
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
- 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
Under 9s Cricket Rules
For full details on the ECB's recommended rules for under 9s cricket visit https://www.ecb.co.uk/play/junior/junior-formats