The Cricket Scotland Performance Academy, launched today (26 November), will support the development of young male and female cricketers and encourage the continuing development of the sport across the country. It will use Edinburgh Napier’s ENGAGE sports facility, where a two-bay net lane has been installed.
Players will also benefit from access to Edinburgh Napier’s on-site biomechanics laboratory, which provides high-tech visual representations of technique and offers insight and feedback on players’ skills. The university will provide strength and conditioning coaching and give academy members access to its ENGAGE gym facilities.
Players who are selected for the academy will have the opportunity to apply for a course at Edinburgh Napier, including a jointly funded PhD studentship in an area related to cricket. Athletes and coaches will access the university’s Centre for Developing Athletes, including its dual career policy to support their academic studies.
The dual career policy ensures students who are athletes are supported within the university through a designated academic or professional development adviser. The policy facilitates flexibility in teaching and learning approaches, a mentoring scheme and a series of relevant workshops.
Schools, community groups and other cricket clubs will also be able to use the two-bay net lane in ENGAGE at certain times, to encourage even more participation in the sport.
Cricket is growing in Scotland with the introduction of new formats and the number of participants now standing at more than 78,000, up 150 per cent over five years. The game has seen a surge in women and girls’ cricket. As one of Scotland’s most inclusive sports, there are now more than 140 clubs and schools playing on over 200 pitches across the country.
Dr Susan Brown, Edinburgh Napier University lead for partnerships and enterprise in sport, said: “Cricket is one of the biggest participation sports globally and its popularity is rapidly growing in Scotland, so we’re delighted to partner with Cricket Scotland to launch the Performance Academy.
“Our relationship with Cricket Scotland has evolved over the years and the Academy is the ideal way to support the development of both coaches and players.They will benefit from what we can offer academically through our Centre for Developing Athletes and our dual career policy, as well as through sports conditioning and training.
“The launch of the Cricket Scotland Performance Academy is part of our strategy for sport and our aim to bring together sport, exercise and well-being for the benefit of the entire university.”
Toby Bailey, national performance coach at Cricket Scotland, said: “The Cricket Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University partnership is a game changer for male and female cricketers wanting to bridge the gap between performance and high-performance cricket.
“The partnership will offer the chance for athletes to focus on developing dynamic cricket skills which Scotland is famous for, whilst also continuing with their studies.
“With the installation of new cricket nets, the amount of contact time focused on the next generation of Scotland’s finest will accelerate their learning. Additionally, through being surrounded by other performance athletes from different sports and with the strength and conditioning suite on campus, there is no doubt this environment will inspire future Scottish Cricketers.
“This partnership is an exciting opportunity and part of our long term strategy of developing home grown talent. We can’t wait to see who will be the first cricketer from the program to gain an international cap.”
The Academy was launched by representatives from Cricket Scotland, including: national performance coach Toby Bailey; players Abbi Aitken and Alasdair Evans; academy members Will Hardie, Megan McColl, Euan McBeth, Jonathan Chalmers, Ben Davidson and James Dickenson. Edinburgh Napier University was represented by Dr Susan Brown and lecturer Dr Cedric English of its sports, exercise and health sciences department.