The talent identification programme for cricket is a long programme that identifies talented athletes from the ages 6-18+. It is a structured and detailed programme that breaks down in to five stages that athletes will be identified to have potential for elite success in. The stages are fundamentals, learning to Train, Training to Train, Training to compete, and Training to Win. Fundamentals This is the first stage, where talent is identified at the ages of 6-9(boys) and 6-8(girls).
This stage is seen as the developmental stage, which aims to identify and provide young performers with the overall athletic skills in addition to a introduction to basic throwing, catching and striking skills. This stage uses drills involving Agility, co-ordination, and balance, speed, throwing, striking and catching. Also the approach towards these sessions is very personal, and about the game. The first stage is performed in a fun environment, performing drills and other sporting activities.
This stage is very beneficial because it identifies talented athletes at a young age. This is an advantage as being able to identify at a young age means that, they can be nurtured and moulded into a successful athlete. The youth that are selected for this programme show the ABC's specific movement skills(agility, balance, coordination, speed, striking ,catching and throwing) and are selected by coaches as they are watched performing, by coaches.
This is an early stage in talent identification, and only those athletes that show the charisma are selected at this stage for further development. This can be slightly stressful, especially as the athletes are quite young, and are still developing, physically and mentally. Also it can ruin confidence of some youths, however overall this stage is quite selective and only few people are selected at this stage, as the level of performance that is required is evident when selecting the players.
Commonly, like most of the stages the players are also recorded, in games or drills, without them being too aroused by it, so that they can perform in full confidence and in a stress free situation. This is a good way of making the assessment as at the age that they athletes are its not advisable to cause them, such a heavy pressure or burden and also if they have the charisma, it will be evident in natural, drills and games. An example of a cricketer that was founded at this stage is the great Sachin Tendulkar, who has gone on to become an icon in cricket and is commonly called the 'little master'.
Learning to train This is the second stage that identifies talent at the age 9-12(boys) and 8-11 (girls). Again similarly to the fundamentals stage it looks at the basic sport skills that athletes may have. The aim of identifying talents at this stage and at this age is to get athletes that can develop their movements associated with batting bowling, fielding and wicket keeping. Furthermore developing overall athletic skills they have.
Coaches that are assessing young talents at this stage are looking for athletes that again show the charisma, alongside key components such as strength flexibility and speed. They asses the players again through observation of performance and ability. And on selection they are introduces to the skills in more specificity. They will look at the techniques and movements of performing the specific skills, (batting bowling ECT...) along side will be introduced to training programmes that emphasise on the shoulders, elbow, spine, core, and ankle stability. Further more psychological skills will also be introduced near the end of stage.
This is very similar to the first stage and is still about developing talent and nurturing their techniques and the way they approach the game. This is very influential stage and has positive effects on the athletes as they are more likely to listen and undertake the desired and appropriate approach towards performing the different skills. Never the less this stage can again be to early for some of the athletes that might show the ability however they might not be mature enough to carry and understand the principles of this stage in the talent identification.
Training to Train This is the third stage, and is aimed towards 11-16(boys) 11-15(girls). It is a progression to the previous stage and aims to create further development on specifics skills and physical condition for the game. This stage is where it is more common for player to be identified as they are at a suitable age, and their abilities and talent is easier to indentify and work with. It is also a favoured stage by many coaches to identify talent as it is the stage where players have to focus on the physical and mental requirements.
This stage of the development programme looks to increase technical work, for example on the front foot, and back foot playing bother attacking and defensive shots; and for bowlers pace and spin techniques are enhanced. Also overall team work and team fielding and working as a team is emphasised on. This stage differs from the other to as the age difference is higher and therefore the training toll is also at increased intensity and this is the stage where the athletes are introduced to fitness tests which are established to benchmark and monitor development. Athletes also have to keep positive attitudes and this is reinforced on and off the pitch.
This stage is an important stage and very lucrative for the game as this is where most emerging cricketers are established. This stage of the development programme prepares them for the transaction to performing at a high level, and introduces and conditions them.
However on the flip side the only problem with this stage is that the training must be carried out depending on each players PHV, which is the peak height velocity, which is also known as a growth spurt. This can be a set back as each individual has different time when they grow and mature, and if training is done before this it can have detrimental effects.
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