How the Western Academy Works

From Iain Stewart, West Community Development Manager.

Western Cricket AcademyI have had several discussions and received a few emails surrounding the Academy and Area set up and how things work in the winter, summer and how selection works. This is understandable as new Junior Convenors and coaches have come to the fore this season (which is great to see) and also parents, some of whom are only now discovering cricket through their children, are also curious about how it all works. So here is an effort to answer the queries that have arisen…

In the rest of the country they have an Eastern Regional Academy (Head Coach, last year’s Western Academy coach Simon Smith) and in the North District they have ‘rebranded’ as the Caledonian Academies (Neil Burnett is Head Coach in Tayside & Fife sub-academy and Neil Nicol is Head Coach for the other sub-academy in Grampian & Highlands which make up the Caledoinan Academies).

Academies have an Under 14 Junior Academy Squad and an Over 14 Senior Academy squad. Players over 16 are only eligible for the winter training if they are in or are deemed to have the potential to play national level. These players are to get extra mid week 1-2-1 sessions and are known as the Performance Squad.

Last winter squads trained on alternate weeks and this will most probably be the same this winter. 9am – 12pm for cricket specific training, 12pm -1pm for fitness and also there are sport psychology seminars and nutrition workshops spread through the winter.

The Western Academy has the following Coaching/Management team:
Head Coach – Iain Stewart (Level 3)
Asst Head Coach – Iain Kennedy (Level 3 & mentor coach to Head Coach)
Administrator – Tim Hart
Performance Squad Lead Coach – Isaac Umeed
Senior Academy Team Manager – John Blair
Junior Academy Lead Coach – Joshua Johnston
Specialist Batting Coach – Bruce Patterson
Pace Bowling Coach – Paul Hoffmann
Spin Bowling Coach – Richard Young
Wicket Keeping Coach – Dougie Lockhart
Coaching Assistant – Ian Young

As mentioned above we bring in specialists for fitness, psychology and nutrition/lifestyle.

The Area Development Groups & Western Academy Inter-Area Championships 2009.htm is link for info on matches and the Scottish Inter-Academy Festival dates (and for who the guest 4th sides will be),

Each summer for the last several years has seen the local ‘Area’ Development Groups, on top of their development role, run U13, U15 and now U17 Inter Area festival weeks (with U11 being proposed for 2010).

These are tournaments that are to be used as selection tools for the Western Academy although final selection process will be confirmed shortly. I’d prefer to trial any ‘maybes’ through outdoor games and practice in September rather than do an indoor trial in late October, but discussions are on going between the coaching team and the Cricket Scotland Youth Performance Manager. Players and Coaches of Area sides will know before the tournament begins.

Last year, although not part of the Academy coaching staff at the time, I was asked to and took in a game each day (bar one when it rained at ALL venues!) and Simon Smith, then Head Coach, took in several. Tim Hart took in games as South Glasgow’s team manager and Iain Kennedy also watched a couple around his work commitments. This year we will be keeping up this effort to watch games and not ‘pick from the paper’.

The Areas for those who are not familiar with them are: Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Clyde Sharks*, Glasgow North, Lanarkshire, South Glasgow. *Clyde covers-Argyll&Bute, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde & Dunbartonshire. Competitions 2009.htm is the link for Inter-Area games. D&G have pulled out of U15 competition this year and the U17 Inter Area consists of Ayrshire, All-Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway.

The winners play the winners of the 3 team East competition (Edinburgh, Lothian, Borders) for the title of Lowlands U17 Champions. Next year the Caledonian Areas hope to join to make a Scottish title at this age.

Initially junior convenors would be asked to nominate candidates on the basis of form, ability and potential shown in the Junior Union leagues and in senior WDCU or SNCL matches.

If you have done a UKCC/ECB coaching course lately you will have come across these terms. LTPD means Long Term Player Development.

This is why the Academy starts at U14 as it ties in with this. However I feel due to the technical nature of cricket we should reintroduce winter training for U12 representative cricket and I have had dialogue with the WDJCU about this.

Indeed a match was played at this level in May against Northumberland U11’s and the East District (who have kept U12’s going outwith the Eastern Academy structure but link closely with it) wishes a fixture later in the summer holidays.

LTCD  means Long Term Coach Development. This refers to the progression of coaches. It may be that a coach wants to be the best coach of primary school cricket that is around or get involved with coaching at representative standard.

I am always keen to hear from guys who wish to progress as coaches through doing courses and coaching a lot of hours to gain the experience to improve. My advice to any coaches who wish to coach in the Academy set up is to get involved with your local Area Development Group and coach that level of junior representative cricket as well as at your club. We can then look to bring the best aspiring coaches into the set up to be mentored with the view to them becoming fully fledged coaches within the Regional Academy set up.