The Gordon Cricket Academy (“The Academy”) was established back in 2000 as an operating entity wholly within the Gordon District Cricket Club, with the following mission statement to guide its cricketing aims:
“The Academy’s aim is to focus on the development of Junior Players (Under 21) from within the Gordon district and beyond in order to maximize their potential development and performances in relation to cricket as well as assisting in their overall personal development.”
Academy squads remain the same
While the Academy has now expanded into providing service beyond the cricketers within the Gordon District Cricket Club, we are still operating the same “Performance Squads” within our structure as we have in the past. The main difference is that these squads are formed through “invitation only” by the Academy committee and the costs of coaching services are either subsidised (Junior and Under 19 Development squads) or are made available free of charge (Under 21 High Performance Squad and Green Shield Squad).
How the performance squads operate
The performance squads are spilt into 4 divisions, the Junior Development Squad, the Green Shield Squad, the Under 19 Development Squad and the Under 21 High Performance Squad.
The reason for having four divisions is to recognise that the commitments to School and different stages of personal development require a different approach to the management of each member’s cricketing ability.
Membership into these squads is based on invitation only from the Academy Management Committee. Players invited may be current members of our club or players identified as future club members. These may be players who are not in a position to play for the club at the present time due to their age, their school commitments or where they live (country etc.)
The four academy divisions are described as follows:
Junior Development Squad
This division is made up of players between 12-13 years of age who have displayed a high level of skill within their school, club or representative cricket and can be assisted further with high level coaching. This squad is designed to form the basis of our future Green Shield squad and is intended to allow them to access a level of coaching they have not experienced to date in their short careers.
The squad will have access to high level coaches including our current club coach Ed Howitt in a specifically designed program over a 5 week period during the winter months. The program will set them up to develop their skills and be ready for the demands of Green Shield cricket as they hone their cricketing skills and their mental capacity to manage them effectively.
Green Shield Squad
This squad is made up of players who have been selected in the official Green Shield Squad to play within the SCA A.W. Green Shield Competition representing the Gordon District Cricket Club. The squad will also have access to high level coaches in a specifically designed program over a 4 month period from the start of the pre-season to the completion of the Green Shield matches. The program will not only include the development of their individual skill sets but also the broader strategies of cricket matches and how to contribute to a team environment.
This squad will have net, fielding and communication sessions from October through to the end of January.
Under 19 Development Squad
The Under 19 Division is made up mostly of players who have played in the club’s Green Shield team and their priority is now their school sport and studies.
While School is obviously a priority it is our goal to keep these players within the Gordon “family” and provide high level skills training through specific sessions including a weekend session, matches against School and University teams and importantly through an invitation to join the Club’s training sessions on Tuesday’s and a session with the 1st Grade squad. They will also have access to sessions that include communications, team building, fitness and nutrition. While many of the Academies programs are free of charge through our sponsorship, a fee to cover costs only is agreed with this squad prior to starting.
Every opportunity is also made for these players to attend Grade Training sessions when time permits with their school responsibilities. We want these Academy members to feel they are part of the club.
Under 21 High Performance Division
The Under 21 division consists of invited players whom the committee believe have the potential at this stage of their development to become Gordon First grade players or higher. Invitation to become an Under 21 Academy member is on a season by season basis and can be reviewed at any time if the player’s attitude or performance does not meet the standards of the Academy.
To date the Academy has produced some 30 players who have played first grade for the club and 5 who have progressed to NSW 2nd XI level.
The Under 21 Squad has full access to the Club’s coaching staff and high level sessions with coaches for all disciplines are organised throughout the pre-season and early season up to the selection of the Poidevin Gray teams. The Squad will also have access to our head coaches for “one on one” sessions during the year. Members of the Under 21 Squad are generally existing club grade players, however the Committee may from time to time include a younger player who shows exceptional skills.
Other aspects of the Academy
The performance squads have access to the Tier 2 and tier 3 levels coaches where each player receives an individually tailored program designed to concentrate and accelerate their cricket education and will be judged on performance and potential, the latter being assessed in the five core areas of technical, tactical, physical, mental, and lifestyle capabilities of playing at the highest level. Performances will be judged in the context of their attitude and participation in the team environment and not solely on weight of runs, wickets taken, or dismissals achieved.
Alliance with Macquarie University
The Club has an established alliance with Macquarie University and based on various academic and cricket capabilities, members of the Academy are chosen for Scholarships at the University. The Alliance has provided many scholarships over the length of its association with the Academy and plans to extend these in the years to come.
The Academy also plays matches against School teams and combined grade teams. This enables the Academy coaches to analyse the skills of the players in match conditions, particularly when an Academy member does not play grade for the club at this stage.
This season we plan to play Academy matches against the Shore School, other Green Shield teams prior to the competition starting, as well as inter Academy matches.
The schedule of sessions and games is adjusted each year to suit the requirements of the members and the club. Sessions are designed to supplement other activities of the member, and due to these commitments attendance at each session is not mandatory.
The games are played during school holidays or on a weekend when available and we use the Gordon First grade ground when available or the various school grounds.
Session times and venues are distributed to the individual squad members.