PitchVision Academy Adopts Club for the 2011 Summer | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

PitchVision Academy Adopts Club for the 2011 Summer

Cricket clubs around the world face the same coaching and playing challenges. Good clubs and coaches develop innovative ways to deal with these issues. That’s why I decided that, this UK summer, PitchVision Academy should adopt a real-life club to follow through the season.

Together we can see how they deal with things so you can learn from a club just like yours.

So, after a long search and painstaking negotiations the lucky club was selected as Watsonian CC.

You may recognise Watsonian as a club similar to yours. Club President Ross Brooks gave me the inside track recently.

The club has 3 senior teams and a large, healthy youth section.

Playing at the picturesque Myreside ground in Edinburgh, the squad is entirely amateur (barring the professional and coach; Tim Weston). However, standards are high with a second place finish in the top-tier Scottish National Cricket League (SNCL) Premier Division in 2010.

The club plays on Saturday afternoons between May and August. The league is a 50 over limited over format. They train twice a week under the watchful eye of Weston and club captain Craig Wright.

Like any club, it’s hard to manage the difference in standard and goals of players. Standards range from Scottish squad players and aspiring professionals through to the recreational club cricketers playing purely for fun. Ultimately, everyone wants the same thing: Watsonians to be successful and for everyone to enjoy playing along the way.

This is an area we will be looking at closely through the summer as it resonates with so many teams.

The youth section, under the charge of the club's Head of Youth Cricket Simon Counsell , has grown to 120 members from 8 to 16 years old and the club also run girls only sessions.

Watsonians, like your club, are very much an amateur club with an amateur club budget. Dedicated members work hard to operate the club by raising funds to reinvest in cricket in the area.

The ambition for 2011 on the field is to go one step further and win the SNCL Premiership. As a progressive-minded club I think they are in a supreme position to make it all the way.

PitchVision Academy will be there every step of the way, talking to the senior and junior coaches, profiling the players, getting analysis on games and looking at training methods used by the club.

You can stay up-to-date with the inside track on the case study by getting the free PitchVision Academy newsletter. It’s going to be an exciting and educational summer! 

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Is this purely an observational case study where you simply observe and report what they do or is it an action case study where the aim is to improve the club and get directly involved? More details would be appreciated. The idea is a good one.

It's very much a 2-way thing. I'll help with ideas and suggestions and be as involved as the club allows.

That said, the club has several experienced coaches and some high performance players (in the current Scotland team) and an S&C expert. I would not presume to thunder in and start telling people what they are doing wrong because in many cases they know better than me, especially when it comes to their own unique circumstances.

I think this case study would have been much better conducted with your typical club side. This club is probably semi-pro. it would have been a very good story if the case study involved turning around your average club side. That way the methods we talk about on the site could have been put to trial. With these guys, as you said, you can't really try to change the ship too much. But if the case study involved a club that were the perennial no hopers and you are able to turn them into a competitive unit, that would have much greater implications.

I take your point Alek but don't think Watsonians are an unusual club in any way. They are certainly NOT semi-pro. If they were I wouldn't have picked them.

There is a clear balance to be made, like many clubs.

They have 1 pro. They have an ambitious but non-professional first team all who have other jobs and pressure on their time. They need to balance cricket with 'real life'.

They also have guys who play purely for recreation who don't want to spend time training. They pay their subs, turn out for lesser teams and enjoy a good tea.

They have a youth section that they want to use to develop players at all levels for the future.

They are run by enthusiastic amateurs who never have quite enough time but somehow find a way to keep the budget going and the club in good working order.

These are competing pressures. Every club I have played for has the same pressures.

Watsonians typify these challenges. The only difference is that approach them with a progressive vigor that many clubs can learn. That's where I see the benefit of this study - a 'typical' club that can have success on the field, be run efficiently and be progressive. Hence the Watsonians side.

I doubt many perennial no-hopers would care enough to be aware of pitchvision academy.

using no-hopers would be a fun 'rags-to-riches' story and interesting proof of PVA methods but that's not the story I wanted to tell. I want to resonate with club members in clubs that are like Watsonians.

I've tried to incorporate some PVA ideas into my club's net sessions, although its difficult because we only get 2 hours and we have about 16 people to get through who all want a good bat. But I have insisted on doing some ground fielding along with the traditional "stand in a circle and take slip catches", I've split the nets into a seamers net and a spinners net (with keeper), and have also talked to specific batsmen before their bat about what I want them to focus on practicing.

I still think we need to have a couple of sessions out on the field before the start of the season - get the batsmen practicing pushing the ball into gaps and stealing singles, the bowlers bowling to a field, and obviously lots of team fielding drills.

Firstly a Big Thanks to David and Pitchvision for giving Watsonian CC the opportunity to be featured throughout the season in this way.

I am in my third year as President of Watsonian CC and try to be very much hands on in my role at the club. As a club we are maybe seen as privileged in many ways with our ground and relationship with a private school however from the inside I know that this also creates barriers to how we can operate as a club.

We are a very 'normal' club, experiencing 'normal' problems and ones that many individuals have to work hard at solving. The one thing we now have at the club is a clear vision and a strategy of what we want to achieve over the next five years. I have tried to structure and make changes to how the club operates over the past few years to ensure we are maximising our financial resources and also trying to increase the numbers of volunteers we have supporting all areas of the club.

Our 3 senior XI's are of varying standards and abilities, we have selection problems at times like most and we face similar issues in all areas of cricket the same as all clubs do. Also remember that despite there being more cricket clubs than rugby clubs in Scotland we play a minority sport in our country, I'm sure this is something other associate countries can appreciate.

We have made mistakes along the way and I have an extensive to-do list of things I want and/or need to do as long as my arm. I hoping this experience along with Pitchvision this summer will help us learn from others as well as others learning from us.

So here's to a summer following our highs and lows and I'm hoping some of you will adopt us as your Scottish club!

Log on to www.watsoniancricket.co.uk for a quick look around

Enjoy the summer, it's almost here!

Ross Brooks
President - Watsonian CC

It's great to have such a passionate person on-board. Should be fun!

Dave, by your report, they have several coaches, high performance players and a strength and conditioning coach. Most average clubs wouldn't even have a coach, let alone an S&C expert. And the fact that this club is actually feeding guys into the national squad shows that they are a bit different to your village team. I don't for one doubt that the case study will reveal gems, but the 'rags to riches story' would have been, in my view, much more appropriate as a case study. As you said, that would have been an ideal place to verify the PVA method.

Maybe the rags to riches will be tried in a future case study. Anyhow the decision has been made and I am looking forward to the results of this case study.

Good on you Ross. My club president wouldn't know what the strategy and vision for next week is, let alone for the next five years. If the blokes at the top know what they are doing, it will filter through the rest of the club.

I'll give you that Alek, they are not a village side. They are a fully fledged league club. I reckon even village teams will see things they can use as we go through how the club deal with issues like training, playing, making teas and getting sponsors!

Maybe it's a village team next UK season? Or maybe an Indian club side (anyone in India who plays for a keen team, get in touch)...

I think something like this could be done with my club in Sydney, Australia. I am not sure as to the exact role it could be, but ideally it would be great if we can get Pitchvision involved in some sort of consultancy role that in itself could form the basis of a case study. I think that could be very interesting and a very good way for Pitchvision Academy to expand the brand internationally.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this Dave.

email me some details Alek, no promises as we have to get this one right first. But it is certainly an option.

I haven't looked at how old this thread is but I would definitely like to see this 'rags to riches' case study that has been mentioned. I have a team in mind that literally at one point couldn't get any worse, maybe that would be a true test of the pva systems affect on performance, start at the bottom so to speak.
Another idea could be a University team, I know plenty including my own that are severely under supported with no budget, basically the bare essentials in terms of equipment and no coach. Its sad to see such potential wasted due to the lack of a support system for cricket teams.

One step at a time. Lets look at the Watsonian example first. I know your teams will learn from their experiences, they maybe higher up the chain but they still face similar issues.

hi David
thanks for the great videos of warm ups n other basics skill
i m really applying it n getting benefit
i want to play in Scottish National Cricket League
i m leg spinner who can bat playing Division A cricket in West Bengal, India
Wat is the process of applying to it
i m ready for trials also
can any 1 help
thank u