A GRANT of £600 from the David Shepherd Cricket Trust is helping Plymouth CC keep youngsters playing for the club.
All clubs who run youth sections will be familiar with the problem of youngsters aged 12-13 losing enthusiasm for the game.
Plymouth have been looking at the reasons for the drop-off and think they know why and what the answer to stopping it might be.
David Burke, the former Devon fast bowler, is the Plymouth committeeman whose brief includes player development. He said targeted coaching has a potentially big role to play in player retention.
“All clubs know about the drop-off of young players in from age 12-13,” said Burke.
“We have anecdotal evidence to suggest one of the main reasons is this is the age where the skills gap between the best players and the majority of the others becomes very wide.
“This is very disheartening for a lot of young players, who find they struggle to compete.”
Burke said players outside the county, district or private school system can find it difficult and expensive to access quality coaching to keep pace. Addressing that issue is where the Shepherd Trust grant money will be spent.
“In the past we have found it is often exactly those players outside the systems who play into adulthood, develop later and contribute significantly back to cricket,” said Burke.
“A number of our recent 1st XI captains are prime examples.
“We are going to use the grant to part-fund an extensive one-to-one indoor coaching program for parts of our junior section in the hope we can provide a quality opportunity for them to progress their skills and close the gap.”
Plymouth are putting their own money into the scheme, money raised internally and from the showcase match against the Lashings World XI back in May this year.