Steve Snell looks back on valuable Academy tour

The young cricketers involved with the Somerset Academy and Potential Somerset Player Programme (PSPP) have now returned from a cricket camp in Mumbai.

Academy Director, Steve Snell was in charge of the touring party and believes that the experience was of genuine benefit to those involved.

“It was a excellent opportunity for the guys to progress their development and to transition some of the work that they’ve been doing this winter onto grass surfaces,” he said.

“One of the aspects of the trip that I most enjoyed was that we were able to find out so much more about the players in terms of them as people and not just as cricketers. Two weeks away in India is a long time for a young person. Dealing with a different environment and culture for that amount of time can be tough and we really relish seeing them overcoming barriers and developing coping strategies.

“This trip was a really good combination of developing those skills away from the park because these will, in turn, benefit them when it comes to developing their decision making, communication and strategising on the field. Holistically, it was a really good opportunity to develop all of those aspects. It was great to see the huge level of care that the players took in helping their teammates through some difficult times when there was a bit of illness in the camp. At times some of the players had to show some real toughness to get back on the pitch when they weren’t perhaps 100%. That shows that they are made of strong stuff.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that over the course of the trip we saw some huge strides in the level of understanding and awareness of the game both on and off the field and I was really impressed by what I saw.

“Cricket is a skills-based game of bat against ball. This trip for the bowlers was about helping them develop their ability to spin the ball past the batsmen and for the batters it was about them seeing the ball out of the hand against seamers and spinners. It was about how they can score runs and manage an innings.

“At this time of year you can only do so much indoors with a slinger or a bowling machine, so to be able to expose them to bat versus ball outside in challenging conditions has been invaluable. Several of the players hadn’t experienced these sort of conditions before, which highlights that adaptability is fundamentally important because no two games of cricket are ever the same. They will always be challenged by weather or surfaces or any of the other variables that can occur.

“We were joined by Sandy Allen, the Devon Cricket Pathway and Coaching Manager, and Alex Barrow, who’s been working with the Devon Academy, and I think it was a really good opportunity for them to interact and integrate with the Somerset Academy tour and they really added a huge amount of proactive thought, encouragement, confidence and skill to the trip. I was extremely impressed with the way that they engaged, motivated and supported our young players. There was a huge level of thoughtfulness in their coaching throughout the trip and I hope that they viewed it as a positive experience because I was really impressed with what I saw from them.”

Following the trip, Sandy Allen said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Steve Snell for the invitation to join him and the Academy in Mumbai along with Matt Theedom and Devon for allowing me to go.

“The 11 days spent in Mumbai were hugely beneficial on the pitch in terms of the learning I have taken away. I enjoyed working alongside Steve and Alex Barrow, sharing ideas and discussing cricket 24 hours a day. Working with the local Indian coaches was a great learning curve and allowed us to cross check ideas and theories. There were also excellent conversations about how they coach and the key fundamentals that they look for in batters playing against spin and for spinners bowling.

“Off the pitch the trip was a great cultural experience. Seeing at first hand the love of cricket that Indians have is an eye opener. The Indian net bowlers were there for six or seven hours a day bowling at the Academy batters. Their focus, dedication and love of bowling was great to see.

“I’m sure all players and coaches learnt a lot on the trip about cricket, themselves and each other.”

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