How Freddie Flintoff is Helping to Build a New Cricket Education Tradition | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

How Freddie Flintoff is Helping to Build a New Cricket Education Tradition

Filed in:

30% of English professional cricketers are private school educated, despite only 10% of people going through paid-education. The system works. It's a wonderful tradition.

That's a system that the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy (AFCA) has decided to bring to colleges with no cricketing tradition. A new scheme is set to have cricket at the centre of a fully rounded education, without the need to pay high fees.

I'm not going to lie, I wish there was a model like this when I was 16.


I would have lapped up the combination of "proper" education with a cricketing element. And that's just me. Imagine how good someone like Freddie Flintoff would have been under a scheme like this!

So, green with envy for my lost youth, I got the details from Oliver Uffindall - the man charged by Freddie with setting up the cricket elements of the course - to find out more.

Creating a new tradition

Private schools in England have a great tradition of cricket, right up to the Eton and Harrow match still played annually at Lord's. New colleges barely even play cricket, so the first challenge is to start creating a new tradition.

Oliver told me that the best way to do this is to treat cricket as part of the curriculum, rather than a fun aside. So, the system is being trialled at two colleges: Derby and Barnet and Southgate, to provide a broad ranging qualification in sport.

The BTEC (an apprenticeship equivalent) includes practical skills in more general event management and sport science, but it also gives students a chance to pick up ECB qualifications in cricket coaching, scoring, umpiring and groundsmanship to open up the possibilities of careers in sport away from playing professionally.

Not just for "talented players"

Alongside this learning, there are 12 hours a week of pure cricket run by two senior coaches from the AFCA. For the students, this is a golden chance to have cricket as part of their development. Of course that means talented players can move through the system into the professional game (just like the good players in private schools).

It also means that everyone, regardless of talent, can learn more about the role that cricket takes in life, both personal and on a more social level. The course is open to all levels of cricketing skill, with intake based on academic results rather than the grace of your cover drive.

And it's this focus on participation as part of a holistic whole that will help the tradition grow in colleges.

While there are challenges to overcome to make the most of this chance - lack of a college league, a very short season and no links with clubs - the foundations are being laid by Oliver and the rest of the guys at AFCA and the colleges.

I'm optimistic for the innovation.

To find out more about the courses at Derby College and Barnet and Southgate College email

Broadcast Your Cricket Matches!

Ever wanted your skills to be shown to the world? PV/MATCH is the revolutionary product for cricket clubs and schools to stream matches, upload HD highlights instantly to Twitter and Facebook and make you a hero!

PV/MATCH let's you score the game, record video of each ball, share it and use the outcomes to take to training and improve you further.

Click here for details.