Simon Willis – Academy Blog – September

Thursday 8th September 2011

It is a great pleasure to bring you my first monthly Academy blog, following the announcement this week of the individuals that have been selected for this year’s Academy programme. This will be the ninth year of operation and we are very much looking forward to working with both scholars and parents in maintaining a positive learning environment for our Academy.

Ten scholars that consist of eight boys and two girls between the age ranges of 14 and 18 make up the ninth year’s cohort. The group is made up of one specialist batsman, three pace bowlers, two all-rounders, two spin bowlers and two wicket keepers. The three new scholars are Junaid Nadir, Deanna Cooper and Alice Davidson-Richards.

The scholars have been selected mainly by recommendations from our Kent Young Cricketers coaches based on the criteria of having ‘demonstrated potential’ of developing into a first class quality player over the next five to eight years. Most of the players have been outstanding in their own age group and have shown good performances both with their peers and when asked to play at a higher level.

During the past year I have had the opportunity to witness the professionalism and level of commitment shown by our Kent Young Cricketers’ coaches and managers which is greatly appreciated. Their tireless efforts play a significant part in the development of these young scholars who are in essence the future of Kent Cricket.

To the scholars who have naturally come to the end of their time on the Academy I would like to thank them all for the contribution they have made since I took over from Philip Relf back in January. I very much hope they have seen the benefits of being part of the Kent Cricket Academy and I would like to wish them all the very best in the next phase of their lives.

On Monday 12th September we will be hosting a ‘Welcome Meeting’ for our new cohort scholars and parents at Canterbury to meet senior staff and myself. We will look to provide parents with information that will help them support their son’s/daughter’s transition onto the Academy. There will also be the opportunity for them to ask any questions and share information with us. The added bonus to this meeting now is that they will all get some cricket to watch, hopefully making the evening a little more appealing – weather permitting.

We then look forward to our Academy programme officially starting with the Assessment Module on Sunday 2nd October with a full Induction Day. This will include the first fitness testing of the winter along with various profiling undertaken by our specialists in the areas of skills, physical, mental and lifestyle. We are hoping to have a special guest attending the day as well that I hope to be able to tell you more about in my next monthly blog.

Finally, I would like to finish by thanking Director of Cricket, Paul Farbrace and High Performance Manager Jason Weaver for their help and input during the Academy selection process and the Club’s Management Board for their continued support of our Academy programmes.

Simon Willis

High Performance Director