Building Confidence and Growing Cricket with Chance to Shine

Tuesday 21st May 2024

Building Confidence and Growing Cricket with Chance to Shine

Like all counties, Kent Cricket are hugely fortunate to be partnered with the nationwide charity, Chance to Shine. The shared ambition is for “all young people to have the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket.”

Through the funding that Kent Cricket receive, our team of Community Officers and Coaches are tasked to embed themselves within local settings. Predominantly this is through local primary schools. However, the county has a rapidly increasing presence of Street Cricket Clubs in community settings, due to reach 10 by the end of this year.

The hands on ‘coaching’ element in primary schools is undoubtedly the focal point. The lesson plans are mapped to the National Curriculum for Physical Education and each feature a life skill focus, such as resilience or decision making. Beyond the playground, staff are allocated time to fully embed cricket, encouraged to tailor their approach to the needs of the school; options include staff training, developing ‘Playground Leaders’ and providing opportunities to compete to name just a few.

We have spent recent weeks speaking to schools involved in the programme, to understand what impact it is having…

“You could see her confidence grow”

Iain, our Officer covering Bromley, recently re-invigorated the Bromley Primary School Cricket Championship, which in 2024 boasts 20 teams splits across four groups. Mr. Fricker from Red Hill Primary School shared the following story…

“One of the students I took had never taken part in a competitive cricket match before and she found the experience overwhelming. During the first game her nerves turned into tears and she refused to bat. However in the second game, she took a brilliant catch and you could see her confidence grow. As a result she said she would bat in the game, played some brilliant shots and ran over to her parents to give them both high fives! She now practices outside of the school and absolutely loves cricket.”

“I became more confident in speaking out loud to a large group.”

With the development of girls cricket at Chestfield CC, growing the game at the local school was a priority. Speaking to the teacher at the school, it was a real concern to hear that prior to Chance to Shine “many of the girls didn’t consider cricket to be a sport for girls”. Our Officer, Jamie, worked with the school across term 3. Part of the programme was to train Playground Leaders from Year 5 and 6, to teach basic cricket skills to infant classes.

Reflecting on their role as Playground Leaders, pupils from Years 5 and 6 spoke about “feeling proud to help other children be more active” (Grace – Year 5) and becoming “more confident” when speaking out loud to large groups (Albert – Year 5).

“They also have to accept winning and losing and how to deal with the emotions it brings”

Nationally, additional funding has been made available to provide cricket to schools where above 40% of their pupils are in receipt of free school meals, as these schools are considered as areas of very high deprivation. Oaks Primary Academy in Maidstone worked with our Coach, Adrian, this year describing his approach as calm, fun but firm. During the sessions, PE Lead, Mrs. Palmer, spotted that “children who don’t always excel in PE were beginning to shine through, with their confidence visibly growing during each session”.

A key pillar of Chance to Shine is what happens beyond the PE lesson and competition is a key part of that. We asked Mrs. Palmer what value the staff consider there to be within local competitions… “It gives our children the opportunity of experiencing a new venue, meeting other children and putting into practice all the skills they have learnt.  They also have to accept winning and losing and how to deal with the emotions it brings.”

Pictured below:

  • Richmond Academy in Sheerness with their new kit which will enable them to continue playing cricket (left).
  • Pupils from Key Stage 1 shake hands at The Spitfire Ground after representing their school in an indoor Rapid Fire festival (right)