Recently several promising youngsters came to Spain with the Tom Maynard Junior Academy to work on their cricketing skills. Cameron Herring of Gloucestershire CCC gives feedback on the experience ..
Cameron Herring has just returned from a training camp in Spain organised by the Tom Maynard Trust.
In an exclusive blog written for the Gloucestershire CCC website, the young wicketk eeper gives supporters an insight into his experiences on what proved an enjoyable and valuable trip.
With the winter coming to a close and pre-season just around the corner, I was lucky enough to go on an inaugural ten-day training camp with the Tom Maynard Trust Academy to Desert Springs in Spain.
After staying in Bristol throughout the winter and training from the start of November, I was certainly looking forward to getting outside and making final preparations for the season. The trip gave me the ideal opportunity to get away from an extremely wet UK!
Before I left I really didn’t know what to expect as it was the first trip of this kind for the Trust, so I was venturing into the unknown. I was, however, genuinely looking forward to it as I knew I would be working with some high quality coaches and former international players. Matt Maynard, Paul Nixon and ex-Gloucestershire player Ian Harvey were among those who accompanied us.
After the meet-and-greets with the players and coaches, the two-hour flight and the long drive to the Desert Springs resort, I was itching to get going. Training on the opening day was the first time the grass nets had been used at the Desert Springs complex and after volunteering to have first hit I admit my first thought was “What’s going to happen here?”
However, having safely negotiated the first few balls I quickly made the transition from indoor to outdoor nets. The wicket played like an English pitch all through the week, with the ball nipping around, making it tough to play shots. But I knew this would be beneficial for me as it replicated conditions I can expect when the season starts back in the UK. There were a few subtle differences – namely sunshine, cloudless skies and a pleasant 23 degrees!!!
All week nets were competitive, facing fast high-intensity spells from the bowlers along with undertaking specific drills with the coaches. Most of my batting drills were done with former England batsman Matt Maynard and my wicketkeeping drills with former England keeper Paul Nixon, so I really was in good company!
The drills were very specific to my needs and after nine days of intensive work I genuinely believe they have made a huge improvement to my game, which will undoubtedly put me in good stead for the start of the 2014 season.
Along with set gym sessions in the afternoons, there was the occasional bike ride to the local harbour and beaches, which I must admit was a little more enjoyable than sitting on the bike in the gym and running on Filton track in the pouring rain.
The late afternoons and evenings brought some free time for the lads. Some played golf, while others grabbed the opportunity to catch some much-needed sun and relax after tough fitness sessions. There were also presentations on a number of different cricketing subjects that I may encounter both on and off the field throughout in my career, which again were extremely beneficial.
Ex-England player Jamie Dalrymple gave a very interesting talk about leadership, what it takes to become a winning team and various other aspects of the mental side of the game. Each part of the presentation was beneficial for me and helped me understand a little more about what it takes to become a top player and play in a successful team which I hope I can experience here with Gloucestershire starting in 2014
There were numerous other meetings to attend, which ranged from understanding and undertaking game plans, to match-fixing and anti-doping, all of which I found extremely relevant.
Finally, I undertook a one-to-one session with the Head of Elite Coaching Development for the ECB, Gordon Lord, in which we identified my personality type and what helps keep me ‘in the zone’ when playing. Everything from which eye is more dominant to internal values were identified, thus giving me the understanding and knowledge of my own body and my own game which will certainly assist me moving forward with my career.
In the evenings I was keen to pick the brains of all the coaches, especially Paul Nixon on wicketkeeping and Ian Harvey about his successful years at Gloucestershire. I spent hours chatting, trying to take in some small details I could use to improve my own game. It really was a fascinating experience.
The camp finished off with a 40-over contest against the Spanish national side at the wonderful La Manga complex and it really was great to get a game on grass in the middle of February with the sun on your back. The match turned out to be a relatively successful one for me. I opened the batting and scored a quick-fire 42 and kept wicket well on a difficult track, which helped the Tom Maynard Trust Academy XI to a well deserved 42-run victory.
The camp was hugely beneficial for me personally, not only getting outside nets in February, but also discussing and understanding a number of off-field issues, which may arise in the future. Despite being brought back down to earth with a bang with an hour delay for the return flight and the temperature difference when we landed, the week was thoroughly enjoyable.
I would like to thank the club and the Tom Maynard Trust for making the training camp happen. It was a brilliant experience and hopefully I can now take what I have learnt at Desert Springs into the season and make it a successful one not only for me but also the team.