One of our main aims as we look to increase the number of young people playing Cricket is finding ways to avoid young players choosing to give up the game.
We have identified a major cause for dropouts, which we feel could easily be avoided with a few alterations to junior club and schools cricket games.
The idea that everyone needs to bat AND bowl in a children's Cricket match is great in theory. It seems fair that everyone gets a go, no one is left out. great right? Well, that's not quite how it pans out in reality.
The reality is that, especially in the younger age ranges, the thought of bowling (overarm) in a match when you haven't practiced enough to be competent or confident leaves the youngster exposed to a potentially traumatic and embarrassing few minutes. They stand there in the isolated position of bowler having dreaded the moment coming and then they send ball after ball trickling aimlessly toward the other end before being bludgeoned (or ignored) by a bored, insufficiently tested batter.
All that this does is leaves the bowler scared to bowl and probably reluctant to play as they are forced to go through this experience again (that's if the coach picks them again). It also has a knock on effect to everyone else playing. The batters only face on average 12 balls per game in pairs cricket, if 6 of them are unhittable then you're not getting a fulfilling experience. Then there's the fielders. It's not much fun standing there if nothing is going to be hit at you, again, the boredom sets in.
All of this is avoidable. I'm all for inclusion and everyone who wants a go at bowling / batting should have their chance. But the children who are not interested in bowling or ready for bowling should never be made to go through it for their own and everyone else's sake.
The drop off rate in Cricket in the 8-9 year old range must be extremely high. We need to tackle that problem and keep more players in the game!