T20 International run Natives cricket coaching course in Warsaw
On 23rd and 24th January, T20 International Director Robin Maslin, travelled to (what some might see as) an unlikely location, to deliver intensive cricket training weekend.
The destination, Warsaw in Poland: home of Pierogi, Marie Curie, and many cricket lovers! 14 Poles (and 1 Icelander!) who attended our 8-hour course, all eager to improve their skills and game awareness.
Our hosts for the weekend were Warsaw Hussars CC - a team almost exclusively of Polish-born cricketers. Assembled in early 2014 to "give it a go" at learning the art of cricket themselves, the results in 2 years have been inspiring. They now boast around 15 regular playing members, have secured a training ground for summer and winter, play regular matches against local teams, and more.
The standard of their cricket has improved beyond recognition since day 1, and have a few team wins to show for themselves.
More importantly, every week sees a new landmark, or step forward, for this exciting new club.
Over the 2 days, the players were subjected to a series of high energy and demanding activities, aimed at improving their overall game. Saturday was spent working on the core disciplines of batting, bowling and fielding. There was a strong emphasis on technique, with each individual given guidance on consistent hitting, bowling, catching and throwing.
The players returned to a different location on Sunday morning fresh and still willing to put their aching bodies through more intensive drills!
The focus shifted from technique to match play, with a few exercises on running and calling, and also group fielding and communication. Given how hard they had worked the day before; the commitment was extraordinary from every man.
We finished off with a full, 12 over match between 2 teams.
Every player took their opportunity to apply their new skills on the pitch in some way, whether it was pinching an extra single, keeping their wides to a minimum, or picking shots all over the ground. The game went to the very last ball, with the winning 2 struck by newcomer Matteusz (excelling in just his second cricket session), a fantastic way to cap off a very successful weekend!
Special mention should go to 12-year-old Stas, for his man-of-the-match performance of 10 not out, and 2 crucial wickets. One to watch for the future!
The future vision
Momentum is gathering in European cricket. In the 5 years our coaches have been visiting the Continent, more and more locals have been inspired to pick up a bat and ball. In 2013 we set up the T20 International European Development Cricket League, to gauge the long term progress of lesser-known cricket nations.
In December 2014, our first training course specifically for European-born players was held, in Warsaw. November 2015 saw our second foray into European women's coaching. A weekend trial and training course in Munich saw 19 attend from France, Germany, Belgium and Hungary.
We have also assisted in setting up tournaments for local born players. The Hussars ran the inaugural "Native 6's" competition, attended by a team of Estonians. 2016's version is set to be much larger, with interest from Macedonia, Hungary, Estonia and Italy among others.