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The Andrew White NCU Cricket Academy

NCU Representative Directorate

The Andrew White NCU Cricket Academy continues to flourish with the 16 players being challenged across all aspects of their game and beyond.

Andrew has lent on the outstanding expertise of William Moore at Ulster University to oversee and monitor fitness programmes, and the results have been an eye opener for the NCU in terms of where our young players stand in terms of their functional movement. Understanding our young cricketers' involvement in winter sports and the volume of training involved within those sports has also increased awareness as to the demands on young sporting talent.

Continued work on player development and their own game has formed the basis of winter sessions and as players, the challenges have focused around understanding their strengths and weaknesses and trying to push beyond standards previously set. Eugene Moleon, Simon Johnston, Nigel Jones and Scott Irvine have all added their knowledge, experience and undoubted quality to the Academy sessions. Special attention has been paid to rotation of strike, batting against spin, batting against pace, bowling mechanics, bowling variations and fielding agility.

A new initiative that Andrew has introduced to the Academy has been to call on one Northern Ireland's Goalkeeping coaches to look at the similarities between fielding and goalkeeping. Michael Dougherty from the IFA has been superb in drilling the players in terms of footwork, movement and diving techniques and with Andrew's ability to transfer the skills to the cricket environment it has been a big success story of the Academy. This relationship has also illustrated that much can be learnt from other sports to advance the skill level of our cricketers.

Everyone is looking forward to Easter and the opportunity to get away from the cricket environment with some 'character building' around the 20k mountain bike trails at Castlewellan. Let's hope that the fitness work over the winter will allow everyone to enjoy the challenge.

Before the cricket season kicks off with an array of school and club matches the Academy will work in conjunction with Jo Hopkins of Performance Matters, as they delve into their mindset around cricket and the stepping stones to success, not only on the field of play but also away from it.