Members of Levante Cricket club took part in their fourth Street Cricket 20 activity as their home venue was used for the first time. In association with the Astros Baseball team, who LCC share a ground with, and the Firebats American Football team, they took to Independence day for their next bout of coaching schoolchildren the basics of the game of cricket.
The children, from a local Valencia school and all Spanish, ranged from the ages of 3 to 8 and were a mixture of boys and girls. There were 33 children in total so they were split into three groups of 11 with each group spending around 50 minutes with representatives of the three sports. Regular LCC attendees to the Street20 sessions Scott Burchell and Dave Tivey were joined by club skipper Jason Noon for the first time.
The cricket section started off with the younger children between the ages of 3-4. This made any serious coaching difficult so the three LCC members tried to have some fun with the youngsters. We started by putting the children into pairs and showing them some very basic fielding drills such as rolling the ball along the floor to each other or catching the ball off a gentle bounce. Some of the children showed good hand to eye ability whilst all of them had a real willingness to learn considering their ages and the fact they had never heard of the game of cricket before. Other games included earning points for hitting the stumps when throwing the ball and also being shown how to bowl underarm. Finally the youngsters were shown how to hold a bat although their ages prevented them from being able to have a small game.
After a short break we were then given the middle aged children ranging from 5-6yo. Similar drills as before were used but as the kids were older, they had a better and clearer grasp of what was being coached. They could catch the ball from a short distance and they could hit the stumps from further away than the youngsters. Towards the end of the session they took it in turns to hold a cricket bat and try to hit balls that were bowled underarm by the other children.
The final session of the day was with children who were 7 and 8. The difference in age was clear and the children were able to follow more complex activities. After a couple of training activities the coaches set up a game of quick cricket. Each child had the opportunity to bowl, field and bat whilst learning how to run for a point or how to take a wicket. The children had a lot of fun and enjoyed the more competitive nature of a game, where points were scored and a winner declared.
At the end of the session cricket was well received by the children, and although a run through the water sprinklers brought about the most laughs, the children seemed to really enjoy learning this strange new sport.
Levante CC are delighted to be a part of the new Street20 cricket initiative in association with ICC Europe and Cricket Espsaña. It is designed to improve awareness and participation of the sport in areas and countries where it would not normally be played or even heard of.