Coaches endorse INSPORTS cricket clinic
Livingston Scott, Gleaner Writer
The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), on Thursday, started its first in a series of youth cricket clinics in the Corporate Area and across the island, which is geared at unearthing and inspiring young talent.
The first of the five camps for the Corporate Area was held at the Maxfield Park cricket ground, where the youngsters were instructed and mentored by top-class local coaches and former cricketers Robert Haynes, Robert Samuels and Junior Bennett, among others.
However, Haynes, Samuels and Bennett all agreed that this project is a positive step for local cricket and believe it augurs well for the future of the sport locally.
According to Samuels, the clinic allows youngsters to rub shoulders with renowned former players and coaches, and that can only serve to inspire these young, promising talents.
"The quality of coaching is here with former Jamaica coach Robert Haynes and present coach Junior Bennett. The intention is to get the players to interact with them and be inspired.
"So it (the camp) is to inspire them and give them our knowledge and understanding of cricket. It's not enough time to spend with the youngsters, but, at least, they will understand that this is where we are coming from and what it takes to get to the top," the former West Indies batsman pointed out.
However, he added that the next step is to continue to develop talents after it is identified.
"Although it's talent identification, we allow the players to enjoy themselves as we will spot them, but the next step, after we identify the talent, is to find a programme to put them into," he added.
Bennett, the present Jamaica coach, told The Gleaner that the only way to develop capable, top-class international players is by starting with the very young and monitoring their development after they have been identified. He believes that the clinic is doing that job.
"It's always a very good idea to have youngsters at ages 10, 11 and 12 to start to expose them to the game. To teach them the basics is extremely important. And when you have people like Robert Haynes and Robert Samuels around the youngsters it will certainly help them.
"So, we welcome these clinics, because in every community there is talent and we need to unearth them and give them the opportunity so they can go on and represent their country," he said. "This is a very positive move for cricket and we have to give INSPORTS credit."
Former national coach and cricketer, Haynes, was full of praise for the project and called on corporate Jamaica to partner with INSPORTS and help to grow and develop the initiative.
"I am hoping corporate Jamaica can see the importance of camps like these and partner with us; that would only mean the programme would get bigger and better and we would be able to identify and develop more young local talents," he stated.
The Maxfield Park clinic had 58 participants, including two females and 23 primary school students, from the surrounding area.
The students came from the Norman Manley High School, St Andrew Technical High School, Haile Selassie High, Cockburn Gardens Junior High and Dallas Primary.
The clinic ends today, but there are plans to host four others at Lucas, Kensington, Melbourne and Boys' Town cricket clubs before venturing into the rural areas, starting in Manchester.
Although INSPORTS' executive director Ian Andrew was disappointed at the low turnout for the opening clinic, he is expecting things to grow from strength to strength with each camp.
"I am bit disappointed today, as we had about five schools and we expected more than that," Andrews admitted.
"But we are just starting and we are hoping that it improves as we go around the Corporate Area and outside of Kingston," he said.