Junior cricket is about fun, enjoyment, friendship, participation, skill development and competition. It is the foundation for New Zealand's main summer game.
Schools and clubs should provide appropriate opportunities for boys and girls to participate and enjoy cricket at their level of interest, ability and maturity. To do this schools and clubs need to implement and deliver cricket programmes which offer young cricketers a progression of clearly identifiable steps in terms of play, skill development and competitive challenge.
The player development pathway is a guide for best practice in schools and clubs - something to strive for and work towards. It focuses on putting children and young people first, on preparing them for the transition to youth cricket, and later adult cricket. They are cricket's grassroots, they are it's future.
To meet the needs of children and young people as they play and progress along the pathway, schools and clubs need to provide adequate facilities and encourage the involvement of teachers, parents and volunteer supporters as coaches and officials. Coaches in cricket are vital to the growth of the game and the development of our young cricketers.
Player Pathway- Steps
There are FIVE steps in the player development pathway that allow young cricketers to progressively acquire the skills and values of the game and to make the transition through youth to adult cricket. Young players progress along the pathway at varying rates.
Step 1. Have-A-Go Cricket
Have-A-Go Cricket is for beginners. It is pre-competition or nursery programme designed to introduce 6-8 year old boys and girls to the basic skills of cricket. The emphasis is on fun, participation and the learning of the essential skills of the game through a variety of activities, skill drills and minor games using safe, plastic equipment.
Step 2. Kiwi Cricket
Kiwi Cricket is for learners. It is a transition programme that provides an elementary competition and is designed to introduce 7-10 year old boys and girls to a simple modified version of the game. The emphasis is again on enjoyment, participation and the acquisition of further basic skills. Participants play with safe, plastic equipment and gain an awareness of the rudiments of the game of cricket.
Step 3. Junior Cricket
Junior Cricket is designed to introduce 9-13 year old cricketers to conventional ‘hard ball’ cricket. Opportunities are provided for participants who want to specialise in the game and require more intense, competitive challenges as well as those looking for more social and recreational experiences. The emphasis is still on enjoyment, participation and cricket skill acquisition as well as tactical awareness and a knowledge of scoring and umpiring. Improved facilities, structured competitions, talent identification and development, and representative opportunities have their beginnings at this level.
Steps 4/5. Youth And Adult Cricket
Youth and Adult Cricket are designed to meet the varied needs, interests and abilities of young people and adults. Opportunities are provided through secondary school and club competitions for participants who want to specialise in the game and require more intense, competitive challenges as well as those looking for more social and recreational experiences. Enjoyment, participation and more advanced skill development are still the emphasis along with the further development of tactical awareness, umpiring and scoring involvement and leadership possibilities. Better quality facilities, structured competitions, talent identification and extension, and district to international high performance opportunities are available at these levels.
Other Player Options
In addition to the steps on the conventional pathway, from junior cricket onwards, a number of modified and/or alternative action cricket options exist. Cricketers often participate concurrently in more than one of these steps and/or options.
A. Modified Action Cricket
Modified Action Cricket versions of the game are designed for a shorter duration and/or fewer playing numbers. The emphasis is on excitement and maximum participation with high intensity.
B. Alternative Action Cricket
Alternative Action Cricket versions of the game are designed for varying durations and playing numbers, can be either formal or informal, and require different playing surfaces and/or equipment. The emphasis is on excitement and maximum participation with high intensity.