A new exciting intake of 16 players assembled at the start of January for the Gary Kirsten Cricket High Performance Academy. There were some familiar faces, with a few South African based players who have previously been part of the GKC High Performance pipeline as well as some attendees from the 2018 edition who returned for a second experience of this flagship program. It was great to welcome the new players and get understand their unique backgrounds and to improve their skills both on and off the field.
This year, the program was slightly altered from previous years, the duration was 8 weeks long and followed a theme based around “player responsibility”. This season each player received 3 “Team based sessions” including a masterclass, nets and matches every week as well as 2 One-on-One sessions. Players also then got an elective for additional services such as Mental sessions with Tom Dawson Squibb as well as conditioning sessions with Warwick Cross at Sports Science Institute of South Africa to supplement their skill work.
GKC once again enlisted some of the best names in coaching to share their experience and expertise. Led by Gary Kirsten, the program featured a High Performance Coaching Team including Adrian Birrell, Garreth Von Hoesslin and Ryan Cook along with specialists in their respective fields who conducted weekly sessions. An example of this occurred in the third week when the players had the privilege to a week practicing alongside Dane Vilas, former Proteas Wicket Keeper Batsman and current Lancashire captain as he modeled the consummate professional. In Week 4, Eric Simons ran a masterclass on modern day bowling strategies which was a true eye opener for not only the players but the coaches in attendance.
It has been incredible to see the growth and improvement in the players during the program. Each individual embraced the environment which placed emphasis on the attention to detail to the standard of performance which is required to become and succeed as a professional in the new cricketing landscape. The bonds formed between the players and the relationships with each other and the coaches forged through shared experiences are a hallmark of this program.
Keep an eye out for applications opening for our 2020 program!