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Simon Willis: Academy Blog, November

Thursday 10th November 2011

It’s been a while since my last blog, so apologies for that but some annual leave was required to reacquaint myself with the family as well as an opportunity to re-charge the batteries after a very busy summer of cricket.

The Assessment Module of the Academy programme is now well underway and as I mentioned in my previous blog this started with our Induction Day back in September. A lot was covered in the day, with the main aim of collecting as much data and information about our scholars as possible, as well as making them aware of the standards they need to achieve to be successful going forwards. Unfortunately our special guest Floyd Woodrow got called away on business overseas prior to the day so was unable to be with us, but I very much hope that we will be able to utilise his expertise some time in the future.

The Academy scholars will be working hard now until the Christmas break. Their week presently starts with individual 1:1 skills sessions either at Canterbury on Tuesday evenings or Tonbridge School on Wednesday evenings, and we are very lucky to have a number of pastand present Kent players delivering the coaching. Geraint Jones, Martin Saggers, Min Patel and Darren Scott work alongside Phil Relf and myself to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to these sessions. On a Thursday evening we have introduced a specific fitness/pilates session which is being delivered by both Peter Kelly and Max Ganderton to build on the excellent progress that was made in this area last winter. To conclude the week we meet very early on a Sunday morning as a group to work on a number of areas that include the tactical, psychological and lifestyle issues that they will come across in the modern game.

For those of you that have visited the Academy indoor facilities recently, you may have noticed a few changes. Once again the Kent County Cricket Club Supporters Club and Kent Youth Trust have donated the very generous financial support of £2,000 towards this year’s programme. To recognise this, we have purchased a variety of honours boards and photographs that are now positioned on the walls of the Academy. These date back to when the Academy was established in 2003 and include yearly cohorts, individuals who have made their debuts for Kent senior teams and England senior teams. We are very pleased with the final product and I would encourage you the next time you visit Canterbury to pop into the Academy and have a look for yourself.

We really do appreciate the efforts that go into raising these funds throughout the year on behalf of the Academy as it makes a significant difference to the programme and what we can deliver throughout the year.

Finally, given the departure of Director of Cricket, Paul Farbrace I want to take this opportunity to thank him for his efforts and contributions to the Academy programmes. During his time at the Club, Farby has always shown a great passion, commitment and belief in developing young players from within our system at Kent, and I am sure there are a number who are grateful for the opportunities he has given them over the past two seasons. He is a highly respected individual and coach and I would like to wish him all the very best for the next stage of his coaching journey.

Simon Willis

High Performance Director