Whimple CC have seen a threefold increase in their winter training participants after committing to a 20-week off-season programme.

"We've got around 50 this year, whereas last year we had 15," says Dan Williams, WCC's Junior Coordinator. Dan has been responsible for organising this year's extended winter training programme after last season's sessions yielded positive results.

"We've got such a good thing going in the summer that, every time I ask for help,
someone will jump in and give me a hand.

Winter training at Whimple CC.

"The difference between those who had participated in last year's winter training and those who didn't was quite noticeable. The younger group play with so much confidence now and we want that across all age groups."

This increase in confidence hasn't gone unnoticed amongst parents, who were very supportive when Dan proposed an extended winter programme.

"Last year we did six weeks before Christmas and six weeks after. When I asked parents if they'd like us to organise a longer programme they were all up for it."

Dan (left) says players who took part in winter training last year grew in confidence.

Extending the programme has brought its challenges though, with the club relying on a number of volunteers to ensure the sessions go ahead.

"I'm constantly asking parents to help," explains Dan. "I can't do it all on my own. But we're lucky, we've got such a good thing going in the summer that, every time I ask for help, someone will jump in and give me a hand."

Helping Dan run sessions is a group of 10 volunteer coaches, most of whom have kids playing at the club. "Once they see how much the kids love it and how rewarding it is, they're keen to come on board."

One such parent-coach is Tom who, after he stopped playing cricket at 19, has come back to the sport with his two sons joining WCC:

"I coach rugby too, so I enjoy getting involved. My eldest started playing and I didn't want to just sit and watch. From one season to another, you can see how much they've learned and developed. I don't mind giving up my time when I can see that."

Tom (left) started coaching after his son joined the club.

Speaking on his recommendation to other clubs, Dan said preparing early was key:

"Book facilities early. We booked this place [Broadclyst Sports Centre] back in August and even then we only got a two-hour slot!"

Dan also encouraged any parents with kids who may be interested in getting involved to contact either him or Club Chair, James Woolam, saying: "We are always looking out for young talent!"

Devon Cricket's East Devon Club & Community Coach, Damian Price, has been helping WCC by holding Club Development Meetings over the past few years and delivering six-week schools programmes at local schools (St Martins CofE, Broadclyst Community Primary School and Westclyst Community Primary School.

Our Club and Community Coaches are in place to support cricket clubs across the county. Get in touch with your local Club & Community Coach.