Ian Dews took his Yorkshire Academy squad to Loughborough over the weekend, where they made use of the National Performance Centre’s facilities following an invitation from the ECB.
The crop of 2019 enjoyed cricket-based sessions, strength and conditioning training, as well as a number of lifestyle and leadership workshops – a repeat of the club’s trip to the Midlands this time last year.
The previous visit was hailed a huge success by the club’s coaches, not only in terms of the cricket and fitness, but also squad bonding and development of camaraderie amongst the players, especially given the involvement of an overnight stay.
“This time last year we became aware that Loughborough would be available to us and we felt it would be a great opportunity to take the lads down and show them the national centre,” said Dews, Yorkshire’s 2nd XI Coach & Academy Director.
“Above that, it is a really good chance to allow the lads that had just joined to knit together.”
Dews continued: “There was a little bit of cricket. We tend to not do too much at this time of year, but they continue their strength and conditioning work, more team building, leadership and quality time spent pulling them together as a group.
“It’s a tough couple of days. We were there really early on the Saturday, and it’s a long day.
“It gives them a glimpse as to what could happen if they really want it – encouraging them to buy in and give it a good go.
“We’ve got a strong group who did really well and when you look at the successful U17s, a lot of them were under 16 so that bodes well for this year. But it also makes things tough for us because we need to make sure these lads are getting an opportunity and that they push the senior lads.”
The Academy is where potential county cricketers of the future continue their path as talented teens; not quite a finishing school but a respected cog in the production line from a junior to a Yorkshire first-teamer.
The Academy seeks out and schools the county’s best young professionals, something Dews has been a part of for the last 16 years.
“I’ve been involved with the Academy for a number of years and it improves year on year,” said Dews.
“The opportunities they get are fantastic and we keep saying to them to take everything they can and give it their best shot.
“We are very lucky in that the Academy have the same access to the coaches that Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow get when they come back. It’s one team.”