Gallery: Youngsters given a chance to shine

PUBLISHED: 14:55 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:20 26 October 2009

A pupil hits out at Oak View Primary School

A pupil hits out at Oak View Primary School

WHT reporter John Hutchinson went to Oak View Primary School to see how the Chance 2 Shine cricket initiative is attracting youngsters into the sport THE CHANCE 2 SHINE Cricket Programme has been set up by the English Cricket Board to give quality crick

James Hewitt doing some coaching

WHT reporter John Hutchinson went to Oak View Primary School to see how the Chance 2 Shine cricket initiative is attracting youngsters into the sport

THE CHANCE 2 SHINE Cricket Programme has been set up by the English Cricket Board to give quality cricket coaching to young people.

It is also designed to give pupils the opportunity to play in competitive matches throughout the summer term, and to give teachers the chance to develop their own skills through coaching courses.

Around 20 primary and secondary schools in the Welwyn Hatfield Sports Partnership have taken up the opportunity to have this coaching, which is being delivered through the summer term by former Kent and Middlesex all-rounder and WGC cricket player James Hewitt.

England women's cricket captain Charlotte Edwards was in attendance at Oak View Primary School in Hatfield to see the scheme in action.

With the kids enjoying themselves under the expert tuition of Hewitt, I spoke to Charlotte for her take on what the initiative aims to achieve.

She said: "I'm thrilled to be involved and to be given the chance to introduce cricket to youngsters in the area.

"One of my main aims is to get more women and girls into the sport, and hopefully they will see me and try and aspire to achieve what I have in the game."

The format of the coaching involves the children working on their fitness and basic skills - catching, running and aiming - followed by a fun and competitive game.

It's plain to see all of the children enjoy the session, with the continual encouragement from Hewitt, the teachers and Edwards herself keeping them involved and excited.

And keeping communication with the children is seen as vital, in Edwards' opinion, both on and off the pitch.

She added: "I am really looking forward to the challenge of promoting cricket to kids.

"I think cricket is perhaps the hardest sport to teach, and I think communication with the children, the schools and the local clubs is vital for the game to consistently evolve.

"I'm astounded personally by the reaction I have got since touring with the scheme, and if in some way I can inspire kids to get involved and enjoy their cricket I will be extremely pleased."

The ECB is particularly supportive of coaching schemes, and provide excellent streams of sponsorship in the hope of improving the progression of the game.

WGC cricketer and coach Hewitt is pleased with the results.

He said: "We receive good support from the ECB, and with cricket obviously in the spotlight now as the new season begins, it's an excellent opportunity to introduce cricket into schools.

"I personally find the coaching really rewarding; to see the kids enjoying the game is fantastic.

"If the kids then take what they have learnt in school to joining a club or playing with friends then we have achieved something."

In my opinion the best way of getting kids into sport is to make it fun, friendly and relaxed, and importantly to ensure the coaching is delivered encouragingly and effectively.

The Chance 2 Shine sessions certainly do all this, and it was clear to see at the end the kids walked out with smiles on their faces - albeit perhaps not looking forward to an hour of maths!

The pupils' reaction

NINE-year-old Sophie Bitcock was delighted to take part in the Chance 2 Shine coaching programme.

"I really enjoyed playing today, it was great fun and exciting," said the Hatfield girl.

"My favourite part of the session was the running and fitness work, and then the batting. I love hitting the ball and scoring runs!"

Sophie said she had learnt a lot more about the game from the session, and that she will be playing cricket in the summer with her friends more regularly.

Fellow pupil Regan Still agreed that his interest in cricket has grown since the coaching class.

He said: "The best thing for me in the session was learning from the coaches, they are really good.

"I also learnt a bit more on how to bowl, although I prefer batting as you can help your team to a big score."

The Oak View Primary pupil added: "I only play football and rugby outside school, but now I think I will be playing cricket too."

If the Chance 2 Shine scheme aims to encourage participation in cricket, both in and out of school, it has certainly succeeded here.


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