Any cricketer or cricket follower will know what an important role the county of Yorkshire has played in our national summer sport for well over a century. In fact more than 20% of all the cricket played in this country takes place in Yorkshire and the cities of Leeds and Bradford have historically been the focal point of Yorkshire cricket. The Headingley Stadium is known around the world and we also boast some of the strongest local leagues in the country. If you add to this the exceptional educational establishments available, it is easy to see why Leeds / Bradford UCCE is the ideal place to come for any aspiring young cricketer who also wishes to further their academic studies.
The cricket facilities we can offer are as good as those at most county clubs. Indeed much of our indoor training & coaching takes place at Yorkshire CCC’s Bradford & Bingley Indoor Cricket School at Headingley. We also have access to some of the most advanced gymnasiums around at both Leeds Metropolitan University & the University of Leeds for our fitness work, where we have access to some of the best sports science support staff. Our home ground is at Leeds University’s picturesque facility at Weetwood, where the Yorkshire Academy and 2nd XI also play their matches. Indeed we enjoy close links with the county club and liase closely with their coaches, as we do with the county coaches of all our students.
Our playing programme features over 30 days of strong, competitive cricket. We compete in the MCC Universities Championship playing 2-day Grade style matches against the other 5 UCCE centres (with the final between the two top teams taking place at Lord’s) and also play in the BUSA League (one-day 50 over matches). However, the highlights of the season are the matches we play against the first-class counties. Each season we three such matches, either home or away, which give our students the opportunity to play against some of the top national and international players and the experience of playing on some of the country’s premier grounds. It also gives the students an opportunity to put themselves in the shop window and enables counties have a good look at them in a match situation. Our own Ismail Dawood managed to gain a contract with Yorkshire following impressive displays against the county teams.
Our women also receive the same intensive coaching and training as the men, and have the chance to play for their own institutions in the BUSA competition.
Entry to one of our academic institutions does not guarantee admission into the UCCE squad. This will depend on a series of trials and one-to-one coaching sessions with our Head Coach and his team of specialist assistants. However, should you be selected, you will receive the most thorough, intensive and professional cricket education available outside the county circuit.
A. Professional Management & Administration of the UCCE Scheme
- Effective communication with partners including MCC, Bradford College, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Bradford, University of Leeds, UCCE staff and students by identifying the key individuals and holding regular partnership meetings.
B. A Comprehensive Cricket Education Programme to Raise Standards of Performance
- Selection of players on the basis of merit and commitment using a series of indoor nets as an initial selection tool, followed by further one-to-one sessions with the Head Coach. Initial squad to be selected October/November with final squad selection in January. Match selection will be on a match-by-match basis.
- High quality coaching through a comprehensive programme of group and one-to-one sessions, delivered by the Head Coach and his team of specialist coaches. Head Coach to keep a record of sessions delivered, backed up by students’ individual diaries.
- Provision of fitness programme with training plans tailored to suit each individual. Fitness tests will take place on a regular basis to monitor progress. Programme to be delivered by the Head Coach and his team of physiologists and fitness specialists. Head Coach to keep a record of all sessions, monitoring improvement in fitness levels over time. Students also to keep their own individual diaries to assist in this process.
- Provision of personal mentor for all squad members (resources permitting).
- Provision of lifestyle programme through workshops in areas such as Time Management, Nutrition, Financial Planning.
- Provision of Sports Science support, such as biomechanics/video analysis, physiotherapy, sports psychology, podiatry, optometry. Series of arrangements for different elements to be signposted by Head Coach. Record of use by Head Coach and by individual students in their diaries.
C. Comprehensive Match Programme
- High quality competitive cricket from early April to end of June.
- Three 3-day matches each season against First Class counties.
- One 2-day match against each of the other 5 UCCEs (Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Loughborough and Oxford).
- One-day matches in the BUSA League.
- Friendly matches against County Academy teams, Alumni, etc.
- Introductions to local League clubs.
D. Effective Communication with County Clubs, Boards and Associations
- Maintain contact with students’ home County club or board to advise parties as to progress and ease transition from University to County post-academic year.
- Liase with MCC regarding membership for students, possible tours etc.
A. Professional Conduct in Relation to the UCCE Partnership
- Maintain behaviour, appearance and attitude, on and off the field, which reflects the player, UCCE & MCC in a professional light.
- Manage and follow a balanced lifestyle, reflected in physical condition, performance and meeting academic requirements.
- Uphold the MCCs ‘Spirit of the Game’ at all times.
B. Committed Participation in the Comprehensive Cricket Education Programme
- Raise standards of performance.
- Take responsibility for personal progress in a positive and committed manner by agreeing with staff which elements to concentrate on.
- Keep a comprehensive diary of all activities and review as and when required with Head Coach or personal mentor.
- Full and punctual attendance at all organised sessions / activities.
C. Comprehensive Match Programme
- Ensure availability for fixtures as far as academic demands allow.
- Inform Head Coach at earliest opportunity of any academic situations (exams etc) which may clash with cricket programme.
- Seek Head Coach agreement to play in any non-UCCE matches.
- Recognise that selection for UCCE matches takes priority over ANY OTHER CRICKET.
- Make non-UCCE cricket contacts aware of these priorities.
D. Effective Communication with Leeds Bradford UCCE, County Clubs, Boards and Associations
- Maintain contact with home County club or board to advise as to progress, thereby easing transition from University to post-academic cricket.
- Maintain contact with UCCE staff as to cricketing performance post-academic year.
There are a number of vital areas of assistance, which can greatly help you in improving your cricketing abilities as well as benefiting you on a personal and academic side. We call these the Key Elements and have identified them as follows:
- Access to Sports Facilities
- One-to-One Coaching
- Time Management
- Sports Psychology
Please see below to find out how these services can be of help to you and how to access that help:
ACCESS TO SPORTS FACILITIES
The opportunity or subsidised use of facilities varies across institutions, but it is fair to say that the sport, fitness and recreational facilities at all institutions represent good value for money.
Bradford College: Access to gym facilities costs £80 per annum
Bradford University: UCCE students will receive full membership of the sports centre, gym, pool etc for free.
Leeds Metropolitan University: It will be possible for arrangements to be made for you to work with a Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Leeds University: UCCE students will receive free membership of the sports facilities and free access to the fitness facilities. Contact Lynne Wallis (0113 3437269) in the SportLeeds office in the Sports Centre to arrange for a reimbursement or free Sports User Card.
How can a mentor help me?
Each University has a mentor contact for their UCCE players. The reason for putting this person in place is that the mentor is someone who is familiar with University processes, and also has an understanding of the demands upon you as a student and member of the UCCE squad. He/she will encourage you to plan ahead, to look for potential difficulties or clashes between academic and cricketing demands, and will be able to help you identify a way forward whereby you may be able to resolve the problem.
The provision of a mentor does not mean that he/she will solve the problem for you, or, for example, that the mentor will be able to arrange changes to deadlines for you. The mentor, however, will, be able to advise you of the process or whom to contact. The key is to plan ahead, and to contact your mentor well in advance.
How do I access help?
One to one coaching is available on most weekday afternoons, initially to the provisional squad and then the final squad. You will need to make an appointment by telephoning or sending a text to the Head Coach or by personal arrangement at a squad session.
The majority of one to one sessions are delivered at the Yorkshire Cricket Centre, Headingley, for which we are indebted to the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
OPTOMETRY Vision In Sport
How can Optometry help me?
It is always assumed I open my eyes I can see.
20/20 vision is not good enough.
Sports vision in its simplest form will ensure you are
- seeing to your maximum
- wearing the best form of correction
- using the most applicable form of correction
- using the correct optical filter (sunglasses)
However, the visual system is far more complex. An in depth look at the whole of the processing system and delivery of appropriate visual training drills can lead to a higher level of vision, better concentration and better performance.
How do I access help?
We have an arrangement with Dr Mowat in the Optometry Department at Bradford University. To make an appointment with Dr Mowat for eye tests, etc., please speak to his colleague, Rob Bromley.
We also have an arrangement with Simon Falk who has vast experience in dealing with sports related optometry and is the official optometrist to Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Simon can also supply lenses and sunglasses at a discounted rate to UCCE squad members.
What can nutrition advice do for me?
Until a few years ago, the only sportsmen who took nutrition seriously were bodybuilders. However, the other sports are catching up and in cricket, just as in activities such as football, athletics, and swimming, nutrition is assuming the same importance as training and for a very good reason. Optimum nutrition can make a vast difference to how your body responds to training itself, and how you perform in your sport. It can be the difference between winning and losing, in many instances. The questions therefore are, what constitutes good nutrition? How can the ideal programme be formulated to give optimum results? Although a good diet is important to everyone, to the athlete its vital, so take advantage of the workshops offered to you.
What can physiotherapy do for me?
The early diagnosis and advice/treatment of sports injuries is essential to not only speed recovery but also to avoid long-term problems.
How do I access help?
The Centre has an agreement with Alison Rose and Graeme Everard, who operate a clinic at Leeds Metropolitan University’s Sports Centre. Members of the squad can arrange treatment first by agreement with the Head Coach, and then by making an appointment with the clinic directly.
What can Sport Psychology do for me?
Ideally sport psychology can help improve your performance. Individually you can learn, practise and use various mental skills to improve your ability to play cricket. Examples of this might be learning how to use goal setting to keep you motivated, learning how to relax to deal with nervousness, and learning how to build a routine to help maintain concentration. From a broader perspective, sport psychology can also be used to enhance skill learning and coaching practices, develop communication skills in a team and help cope with the demands of a student/sport lifestyle.
How do I access help?
You can access sport psychology support through a number of avenues. You could buy or borrow a do-it-yourself sport psychology book and work through the exercises in it. This is easy and can be done when you want to, however it may not be personalised and may not be cricket specific. You can contact Adrian Schonfeld who is the sport psychologist associated with the UCCE team. Adrian can meet you at a time convenient to you and work with you to improve your individual game. You could locate a different sport psychologist who could offer a similar service, although they may want to charge you for it.
What can time management skills do for me?
Time management skills are essential for successful people – these are the practical techniques which have helped the leading people in business, sport and public service reach the pinnacles of their careers. Workshops and the skills delivered through them help you to become highly effective and show you how to identify and focus on the activities that give you the greatest returns. So, whether it is balancing academic study and playing cricket to a high standard, or negotiating issues that impact on this balance, everyone has something to learn.
How do I access help?
Initially, you must attend the workshop. Thereafter you need to put theory into practice!