From our Junior Correspondent 6 of 7

6. Hockey and Cricket

As the RCC women & girls’ section has grown over the last few seasons, the number of girls taking part in Middlesex or Surrey age group programmes has increased with twenty current RCC players having country experience. Six of these girls (Alessia, CJ, Charlotte, Emily, Laila and Molly) have also been part of the equivalent county hockey programmes. As described in our history series [link], cricket and hockey have had a long connection at Old Deer Park and for the next instalment of “from our junior correspondent”, we asked these six girls to describe their learning experience from their pathway programmes and have summarised their replies.

Q1) What can you learn for cricket from playing hockey?

1.1) Mental
- How to think and react quickly
- Confidence about your abilities affects how you play
- Intensity of pathway sessions with more experienced players

1.2) Batting
- Hand-eye coordination
- Hitting power
- Quick wrist action
- Getting low to play shots
- Leg-side shots (pull, sweep, slog-sweep) are made easier as they have the same sort of movement
- 3D/aerial hockey skills make it easier to hit a cricket ball, as the bat is bigger than a hockey stick

1.3) Strength & Conditioning
- Endurance – there is a lot of running in hockey (and it’s more fun than a county S&C programme)
- Speed - hockey requires explosive bursts of speed
- Stamina - required for batting or fielding for a long period
- Hockey is a full body work out - and so helps develop many muscles in your body

1.4) Fielding
- Movement and balance
- Hand-eye coordination
- Ability to move quickly in the field
- Quick changes of direction

1.5) Wicketkeeping
- Fast reactions
- Ability to cope with a spinning or swinging ball.
- Similar footwork and agility

Q2) What can you learn for hockey from playing cricket?

2.1) Mental
- Staying focused, keeping concentration
- Staying positive throughout and never giving up
- Teamwork

2.2) Outfield play
- Hand-eye coordination
- Balance
- Accuracy, strength and quality of ball striking
- Reacting to aerial hockey passes is helped by batting practice

2.3) Goalkeeping (hockey goalkeepers make a lot of noise – like cricket wicketkeepers)
- Teamwork and communication – e.g. organising my defence, helping when a player is unmarked or if there is a good pass open which my teammate hasn’t seen.
- Improves arm strength which helps save more shots in the air
- Getting low is important for both wicketkeepers and goalkeepers
- Cricket can be a very vocal sport and transferring the positive communication to hockey can help bring your team together.

Q3) What have you learnt from your coaches in one sport that is a good lesson in the other?

3.1) Mental
- Anything is achievable if you put your mind to it
- Believe in your own ability
- Be confident to what you’re about to do and put everything into it
- Trust in your team-mates
- Encourage your team-mates in the right way

3.2) Communication & Teamwork
- Focus on team performance not the individual performances
- It is about the performance and progress of the team not just the result
- Positive communication and teamwork are essential

3.3) Technical
- Movement (hand-eye coordination, balance, staying low, footwork)
- Finer movements (when hitting shots)
- Shot strength, accuracy, and quality
- Hitting through the ball
- Drills from one sport translate to the other
- Wicketkeeper and goalkeeper skills translate easily and fluidly.

3.4) Tactical
- [Ball, shot, pass or tackle selection] – “do the right thing at the right time “
- [As a goalkeeper] if I hesitate the ball will be in the goal. This applies to batting – if I need to think too much about what shot to play, it will be too late.

3.5) Strength & Conditioning
- Strength and conditioning programmes from one sport help with the other.

At Richmond CC, we are very lucky to have many talented players playing a variety of sports. Many thanks to all their coaches at schools, clubs, both counties, and national pathways, and an extra big shout out for Sonia and the other five RCC women who qualified as coaches this winter!

Once cricket resumes, the RCC women & girls’ section will be expanding with the women’s team and a new u17 team playing games, in addition to the existing u10 - u15 girls’ teams and u6 - u10 Sunday morning training. Please encourage any women or girls who may be interested in playing cricket to get in touch [link or email].

Many thanks to Dave Burt photography for the image from Gu13 Sussex vs Middlesex (2019).