CRICKET - Warwickshire's innovative youth trials system unearths exciting prospects - The Solihull Observer

CRICKET - Warwickshire's innovative youth trials system unearths exciting prospects

Solihull Editorial 8th Feb, 2023   0

WARWICKSHIRE’S move to open up its youth pathway system by accepting video trial footage from aspiring cricketers has been hailed a success after the pilot found several exciting new prospects.

Last September, the club revolutionised its selection process by encouraging youngsters to submit batting or bowling videos for assessment by the coaching staff.

Warwickshire is the first professional cricket club to introduce such a system.

Previously only local clubs, schools and cricket organisations could nominate players so this move opens up the Club’s selection processes.

The move follows PhD research – co-funded by the club and Birmingham City University – to identify how bias and a lack of objectivity can impact selection decisions.

In total, Warwickshire received 236 video submissions from prospects wanting to join the boys under-13 to under-18’s set-up of which 141 were from youngsters the club either hadn’t heard from before or hadn’t tried out for at least three years.

And some 60 players were selected to join five coaching sessions between October and December with 10 making it onto the county pathway structure.

A further 30 boys have been offered a place in development centre squads which feed into county age group cricket.

Warwickshire’s High Performance Manager Paul Greetham, said: “That’s 10 boys we’ve never seen before now in our county youth squads. If you consider there’s about 70 boys across the under-13 to under-18 squads, that’s a great result.

“The process has unearthed some real gems – and remember these are teenagers who to this point have had no county background or coaching. They have huge potential.

“If we’d run traditional trials then the chances are we wouldn’t have found these prospects. And who knows they could go on to be star performers for the Club.”

Warwickshire is looking to expand the new trials process to include boys in younger age groups and also for the girls pathway system.

Tom Brown, whose PhD research at Birmingham City University was the catalyst for the new talent identification project, added: “The new process allows for coaches to spend time getting to know players’ developmental needs, including understanding their backgrounds and cultures as well as collecting objective talent ID data such as players’ maturation status.

“It’s a holistic approach to coaching with a focus on really getting to know the children because we shouldn’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach.

“We launched the scheme in a bid to unearth these gems from across Warwickshire, players who’ve never before tried out or perhaps felt excluded. It’s been really encouraging and shows the Club is reaching potential new stars of the future.”


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