If a child is interested in cricket, many parents will not know what they should be doing in order to help their child become a cricketer. I know this was definitely the case with my parents when I was a junior! At an early age I became obsessed with the game, but neither my mum or dad were that interested in it, so they didn’t know what sorts of things they should be pushing me to do in order to go to the next level. Some other parents may love cricket themselves and want their children to get involved, but they’re not sure how to pass on that love of cricket to their kids!
If any of the things above sound relevant to you, or even if you’re just a parent who is looking for a few tips you can use to improve your child’s cricket skills, then this is the post for you! In this post I’m going to talk about the best ways to inspire them to fall in love with the game, the ways you can help them excel in cricket at a young age, and the kinds of opportunities you should be on the lookout for so that they can challenge themselves and improve!
Here are my tips that you should use to help your child to become a cricketer:
- Make Sure They Have the Right Equipment (In The Right Size)
- Teach Them Some Of The Correct Techniques
- Look For Local Cricket Clubs They Can Join
- Spend As Much Time As Possible Practicing With Them
- Encourage Them To Get Involved With All The Aspects Of Cricket When They’re Young
- Take Them To A Match – Or Watch On TV Regularly!
- Play Catch With Them
- Look For Cricket Camps They Can Attend
- Don’t Be Too Pushy – Try To Encourage & Have Fun
I’ll now go through each of these tips individually so you can see exactly what you need to do for each of them!
Make Sure They Have the Right Equipment (In The Right Size)
It’s so important that your child has all correct equipment available to them if they’re going to make it as a cricketer. It’s also important that the equipment is the right size for their body! Having the right stuff available means your child can practice at home, and that they will be able to work on all their skills. They will also be safe while playing! So, what will they need?
If Your Child Is Around 5 Years Old or Younger…
If your child is around this age then it’s not necessary to buy loads of equipment. I would simply recommend buying a plastic bat, some plastic stumps and some tennis balls for kids that are in this age bracket! These things will allow them to get comfortable with how to hold the bat and how to use it to hit the ball. It’s never too early to start building that hand-eye co-ordination! The use of tennis balls ensure that your child won’t be in any danger, and they can also use these to learn how to bowl – using the stumps as a target!
If you have a child that is around this age, I’d recommend having a look at this cricket set by clicking here! It’s cheap and should be good enough quality to give them a solid introduction to the game of cricket! If your child is showing a particular interest in cricket already and has developed some good skills, you may prefer to get them a small wooden cricket bat instead – click here to check out a wooden cricket set on Amazon!
If Your Child Is Around 5 – 11 Years Old…
As your child progresses in age up to 11 years old, you can start to think about buying them equipment that is a bit higher in quality. Because they’ll probably be a bit taller and stronger, you’ll probably want to think about investing in a cricket bat that is decent quality! The type of cricket bat that you should be buying your child depends on a number of factors, and the most important of these is probably their height! If you want to read more about selecting the correct cricket bat, I’d recommend reading my detailed post on it by clicking here!
At this age, they probably won’t be using a hard cricket ball yet. Instead, they may be using a tennis ball or a rubber wind ball. Wind balls are a great middle ground between tennis balls and proper cricket balls, so you may want to invest in some of those! Once you begin using wind balls, it may be wise to invest in some batting gloves and batting pads! Wind balls aren’t as hard as proper cricket balls but it still isn’t nice to be hit directly on the shin or on the fingers by one! The gloves and the pads will give your child that extra confidence to keep batting against a slightly harder ball, and they’re available in a range of junior sizes to suit all cricketers.
If Your Child Is 11 – 17 Years Old…
As your child moves past the age of 11, they will start to get involved in proper cricket using a proper cricket ball. As a result, they will definitely need all of the standard protective equipment like a helmet, batting gloves, batting pads, and a box/abdomen guard. You can read more about all of these items in my cricket equipment post by clicking here! That post lists all of the essential items a cricketer will need, alongside many non-essential items – it’s the post you need to read if you want to evaluate what equipment your child needs! If they’re playing with a proper cricket ball, your kid will definitely need all of the essential items listed in that post – but the non-essential items are their choice. For example, some children will feel more comfortable batting while wearing an arm guard and a chest guard, but this isn’t essential for all players! You will need to speak to your child in order to find out which non-essential equipment they feel like they need.
Your child will also need slightly bigger bats as they advance through the age groups! Again, feel free to check my post linked here to see what size bat they will require based on their height and strength level. Getting a bat that is perfectly sized and not too heavy is a critical part of being able to bat effectively during a game!
If your child is a bowler, you should probably think about buying them 1 or 2 cricket balls that they can practice with, as well as 1 or 2 rubber wind balls that they can use to practice on hard surfaces! If your child is a wicket keeper, you’ll need to get them some specialist equipment like wicketkeeping gloves and wicketkeeping pads.
When buying equipment, the number one thing you need to keep in mind is to buy items that are the correct size for your child. Batting in pads that are too big, or with a bat that is too heavy can really hamper the development of a young cricketer because all of their movements will be slowed down slightly.
A lot of parents have a temptation to buy cricket gear that their kids can ‘grow into’, so that they get more use out of it and therefore more value for money. However, this isn’t the way I would go. I would much rather buy equipment that is a bit cheaper but is the perfect size, than spend more on equipment that is too heavy or big. Obviously, this will come down to your budget, but I think this is vital to keep in mind! A child with the correct equipment in the right sizes has the basic tools they will need to start improving their cricket skills.
Teach Them Some Of The Correct Techniques
It will be much easier for your child to become a successful cricketer if they get a good grasp of the basic techniques that are required to play the game early in their career. If you’ve never played cricket yourself, it can be hard to know what these basic techniques are, and even when you try to do research you will get a lot of conflicting information!
In the sections below I will cover the basic techniques you should be trying to teach your children in the areas of batting, bowling and fielding!
If your child is just getting involved in cricket and is just learning how to bat, there are a few specific things you may want to make sure that they start to learn. Here are some of them:
- How To Hold The Bat With The Correct Grip – Having a suitable grip is one of the foundations of a solid batting technique. If you’d like to learn how your child should be holding the cricket bat – click here!
- How To Stand At The Crease – Young children should just adopt a basic batting stance, but for more detail on stances and how they can benefit batsmen – read this post!
- How To Hit The Ball Straight And Through The Off Side
- How To Use Their Feet – Displaying good footwork is critical if you want to be a good batsman. I’ve written down all my thoughts about how to practice batting footwork in the post linked here!
In addition to the posts I’ve linked above, I’ve also written a ‘batting for beginners’ post, and you can read that here! I also have specific posts covering batting footwork as well as a variety of other topics! Head to the batting tips page if you want to have a look through all of them!
The process and movements required to become a bowler can seem quite complicated when a child first starts out on their cricket career. But, getting into good habits early can help to ensure that they make things easier for themselves. Here are a few things you should be trying to teach young bowlers:
- How To Hold The Ball – this is different for fast bowlers and spinners! To read a post about the grip for fast bowling click here. I also have a post dedicated to leg spin here, and one dedicated to off spin here!
- How To Develop A Basic Run Up – Run ups are one of the things that young bowlers overlook, but they can help to bring a lot of consistency to your deliveries. I’ve written a full post on how to design your own bowling run up – if you’re interested you can read that here.
- How To Release The Ball With A Level Of Accuracy – Accuracy is probably the most important thing for a bowler, so it’s a good thing to start working on early! If you want some ideas of drills you can use to help your child improve their accuracy – read this post linked here!
I’ve covered most of the things above in my ‘fast bowling for beginners’ post – which you can read by clicking here! I also have specific posts covering accuracy and how to bowl certain types of deliveries like outswing and slower balls! Head over to the bowling tips page if you want some extra ideas for things to teach your children – just make sure you’re not getting too advanced too soon, it’s important to nail the basics first!
I think it’s important for children to develop a good base level of fielding skill early in their career. Fielding is an often overlooked part of the game, but it is vitally important! An individual fielder can make a huge difference to a game of cricket.
So, what sort of fielding skills should you be looking to help your child build early in their career? Here are the main ones you should aim to teach:
- Basic catching techniques – This includes high catches and low catches. For particularly young children, it’s best to start practicing simple catches with a tennis ball. Then you can work your way up from there. If you want to check out my post that will give you plenty of info on how to teach people how to properly catch a ball, click here!
- Basic methods of stopping the ball like the long barrier technique – to read more about the long barrier as well as several other top fielding techniques, click here.
- Proper throwing technique – I’ve written a whole post that explores the intricacies of the throwing motion! If you’d like to read it, click this link!
Look For Local Cricket Clubs They Can Join
Practicing at home with family or on their own can be useful for children in early stages of their cricket development, but the real opportunities for development occur when they join a cricket club and begin competing against other kids from their age group. Testing themselves against players of a similar skill level is a great way to build confidence and to improve.
In most major cricket playing nations like England, Australia and India, everyone will be able to find a cricket club that is pretty local to them. If your child really wants to begin playing cricket competitively, all you have to do is select a club and then speak to one of the coaches and ask if your child can come down to join in with the team practice sessions. From there, they will fight to get themselves selected in the squad.
In the two sections below I’ll cover what sort of cricket your child can expect to be getting involved with if they’re of a certain age…
Children Under The Age Of 11
Many cricket clubs will have under-11’s, under-9’s and under-7’s teams that your children can join when your child is 11 or younger. At this age it’s unlikely that they’ll be playing full cricket matches like T20 games. Instead, the focus of cricket is more on participation and giving each child a chance to take part in the game and get involved.
The games that these young children will be playing will often be less focused on keeping score and more about concentrating on executing specific skills like catching, bowling accurately, or hitting the ball far. Children from 5 – 9 years old will often also play reduced forms of cricket like ‘Kwik cricket’, with a sponge ball or a tennis ball. In these matches, all children will get a chance to bat and bowl. For the batters, a wicket doesn’t mean that your time spent batting is over, it just means that 5 runs will be subtracted from your score. This gives all players of all abilities a good opportunity to get some experience of cricket competition.
Between the ages of 9 – 11, children will probably be representing their under-11’s team. Most cricket clubs should offer this age group! They are still not likely to be playing full cricket matches yet, and they still may not be using a proper cricket ball. At these ages, they’re more likely to be using rubber wind balls! Many under-11’s games will last for around 12 – 16 overs, and will still be focused on keeping all of the players involved and giving them a role in the game. It’s also likely that these games will be played on a smaller field.
If your child is younger than 11 but is already showing very good cricket skills, you should maybe think about asking some local clubs if they can fight for a place in the under-13’s team. Moving up an age group is a great way for the most advanced cricketers to keep improving at a young age – just make sure you ask your child if they’re ok with that first!
Children From 11 – 17 Years Old
Beyond the age of 11, children will either be representing the under-13’s, under-15’s or under-17’s team. Again, most cricket clubs that are local to you should offer these teams for youngsters! In these age groups, most cricket clubs will offer weekly practice sessions where your children can work on their cricket skills, as well as one match per week against another local cricket club. These matches will mostly be T20 matches, although there are some sides that will take part in 40 and 50 over games too.
In these teams, young cricketers will begin to specialise in certain areas of the game like bowling, batting or wicket keeping. The emphasis will now be less on participation, with more focus on winning and competition.
As children move from under-11’s cricket to under-13’s cricket, this will probably be the first time that they begin using a real cricket ball, and as they progress towards the under-17’s team they will start to need larger equipment like bats, pads and helmets.
For teams that have a lot of players wanting to play, each age group may get segregated into different teams. For example, if there is a lot of demand for the under-15 team at a certain club, they may choose to create an ‘A team’ and a ‘B team’ and divide the players up based on how skilled they are. The most skilled cricketers will end up representing the A team, while the players in the B team will fight for their chance to move up into that squad.
For the most skilled cricketers in these age groups, there should be an opportunity to step up and play for the age group above. This is a great way to expose your child to an increased level of competition and could help them improve their skills massively. They may also have an opportunity to play small roles for senior teams, which is a large, but potentially rewarding challenge. When I was 15/16 I spent many weeks playing for the 2nd Senior XI in my club, and this experience was vital for me!
Spend As Much Time As Possible Practicing With Them
If you’re a parent, then you’ll be well aware of all the different things that demand your time and attention on a weekly basis. However, if you’re passionate about your child succeeding in cricket, it’s always a good idea to try to find some time to help them practice. Practicing with them at home can really make a difference to a child’s cricket career!
If you have the time, I would recommend spending an hour a week with your child working on some cricket skills. If you have even more time available, then you can choose to have a bit longer session! This extra bit of practice away from their club could really help them to increase their confidence and get ahead of their team mates!
You can choose to work on whatever they feel they need to practice. All you have to do is ask them what they feel that the weakest part of their game is and then spend some time working on it. For example, if they feel that playing the short ball is one of their weaknesses, do some drills with them that will help them get comfortable facing hostile bowling. If you can’t bowl like a cricket player then that’s fine – simply throwing some tennis balls underarm towards their head is a good way to help them work on playing the short ball. You can also find plenty of other tips on that by clicking here! Whatever they want to work on, you should be able to find some good ideas of how to practice it here on Cricketers Hub!
Most young cricketers will get an average of 1-hour practice per week with their club, but in my opinion, this isn’t enough if they’re going to rise through the ranks quickly and really progress as a player. If they want to become elite and pursue cricket as a potential career, they need to get a bit more practice! When I was younger, I definitely suffered from a lack of batting practice. During my net sessions with my club, I would only get an average of 15 minutes batting practice per week, and when I was at home I hardly ever had anyone to practice with! It was easy to practice my bowling alone at home, so as a result I ended up spending a lot more time practicing bowling than batting! I’m sure this is why I ended up a slightly better bowler than a batsman.
Like I said, if you’re not a fan of cricket or you don’t know how to help your child work on their game, then use this site as a resource! There’s plenty of tips and drills contained within all of these posts, so have a flick through, try some out and see what works!
Encourage Them To Get Involved With All The Aspects Of Cricket When They’re Young
When your children are young (especially before they hit their mid-teenage years), it’s a good opportunity to encourage them to take part in all aspects of cricket. If they get good exposure to batting, bowling, fielding and maybe even wicket keeping at a young age, they will know which parts of the game they prefer and they will get a good idea of which area(s) they want to specialise in.
When you’re playing cricket with your young child, let them spend a good amount of time batting so they can get comfortable with hitting the ball and improve their hand-eye co-ordination. Let them get used to having the ball in their hand and challenge them to bowl it at you and get you out. Play catch with them as I mentioned in the earlier section, and make them practice fielding and retrieving the ball, and also let them have a go at wicket keeping! Keeping wicket is often overlooked by a lot of kids as a route into cricket, but I found it a lot of fun when I tried it! Your child may enjoy it too, but you’ll never know unless you expose them to it early enough!
Most cricketers will start to make decisions about what kind of cricketer they’re going to be by the time they’re 14/15 years old, and will probably continue in that way for the rest of their career. For example, a 15 year old that really isn’t a fan of bowling will probably not choose to continue working heavily on that part of their game, and will devote more time to batting practice instead. A good experience of batting, bowling, wicket keeping and fielding before that can help them to make good decisions and settle in to the part of cricket that is right for them!
Take Them To A Match – Or Watch On TV Regularly!
I find that the best way to inspire a child to get involved with a sport is to get them involved in the story and the drama of the game. By regularly tuning in to live cricket matches, and attending the matches of teams like your local county or your international side, you can provide your child with cricketing heroes that they will look up to and seek to emulate!
I’ve included this tip because I have experienced the effects of it personally. My love for cricket, and my desire to play the game was born in the summer of 2005 when I became hooked on watching the Ashes series between England and Australia. That was one of the greatest series of cricket ever, and the whole country was completely gripped – including me! Because I spent so much time watching it that summer I quickly developed a passion for the game and players like Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen became idols of mine! I knew that I wanted to be like them, and as a result I ended up playing for a cricket team in less than a year!
My love of the game was enhanced even further when I went to see some games in person! My parents bought me some tickets to see Yorkshire play at Headingley, and before long I’d been to see England play Pakistan and Sri Lanka too. Being able to sit in the crowd and really take in the atmosphere of a real international cricket match is very inspiring, and may provide your child with that extra little motivation they need to get involved in the game.
If you’ve never bought tickets for cricket matches before, you may be very surprised at how simple (and potentially cheap it is) compared to some other sports! If you live within travelling distance of a county or state team cricket ground like Old Trafford in the UK, or like the SCG in Australia, why not try to pick up some tickets for a county/state T20 match? Some of these tickets will be sold for around £20 on the team websites, and many teams will often offer discounts if you’re planning to bring children along!
International matches will cost more than county/state matches, but these are the games that everyone wants to see! If you fancy going to see an international match, I would recommend checking out ticket selling websites like www.stubhub.com and www.viagogo.com to see if there are any games that are within your budget and within your travelling zone. Attending international matches has provided me with memories that will last a lifetime and I’m very glad my parents introduced me to them at a young age! Why not introduce your kids to them too and see if the experience sparks something inside them?
Play Catch With Them
Cricket is a sport that is based on hand-eye co-ordination. The cricketers who display excellent levels of hand-eye co-ordination are more likely to be better batsmen, and better fielders. As a result, they will be a much more important asset to their team! So, if you want a really simple way to help your child improve their cricket abilities, playing catch with them is a great option!
If you’re playing catch with a child that is particularly young (under 4 years old), you may want to consider using a sponge ball. Beyond this extremely young age you can move on to using tennis balls and rubber balls, and then eventually on to proper cricket balls once your child is approaching their teenage years.
If you’re playing catch with a young, inexperienced cricketer, you should start off by standing close to them and gently throwing the ball underarm towards them. As you do this, give them some guidance on how to catch the ball if they need it, such as keeping their hands close together and not snatching at the ball as it travels towards them.
When they show development catching the ball at close distances, widen the gap between the two of you and put a bit more speed on the throw. Build up the difficulty of the throws and the catches gradually, giving your child a good opportunity to learn and get acclimated to the new standard as they progress. Once they are showing a very good level of catching skill, you can challenge them further by having them jump to catch the ball, or throwing the ball extremely high in the air and having them catch that.
It’s very easy to play catch, so if you’re looking to help your child improve their hand-eye co-ordination, try to get a bit of catching practice once a week! You can even do it inside your house – just make sure there’s nothing valuable in the way!
Look For Cricket Camps They Can Attend
Back when I was 14/15, I spent two summers enrolled in a ‘cricket camp’ over the summer holidays. The school holidays meant I had a lot of time on my hands, so when my parents saw an advert for the cricket camp in a local newspaper, they immediately asked me if it was something I’d like to join in with! The camp was located at a local school and ran every week day for 3 weeks – which was a perfect fit for my schedule at the time!
This cricket camp was great for me as it allowed me to get much more practice than I was used to. Instead of having one practice session per week, I was getting at least 5 a week instead – and I was playing for my club at the weekend! It allowed me to work on lots of different skills and to compete against other cricketers in my age group that I’d never come up against before. Having this kind of competition each day can really help a child to improve their game.
If your child is interested in attending a cricket camp, I’d recommend checking online to see if there are any being run close to where you live. Try searching ‘local cricket camps for kids near me’ or something similar to that on google. Also, keep an eye out in any local newspapers and on any community messaging boards – something may crop up in those areas from time to time!
Don’t Be Too Pushy – Try To Encourage & Have Fun
It’s a fact that many young children are put off competing in sport due to having parents who are too pushy or forceful. Parents who put too much pressure on their children to succeed in cricket will often achieve the opposite effect of the one they intended, and end up driving their child out of the sport altogether!
In my experience, children find it much easier to learn when they are in a supportive environment and are having fun! As a parent, you should try to provide moral support and aim to instil the belief in your child that they have what it takes to succeed. You will no doubt have a close relationship with your child, so if you are constantly expressing doubts about their ability or being negative the majority of the time, this could severely knock their confidence. In a sport like cricket confidence is vital, so try not to be too overly critical!
If your child fails to impress during a cricket match, why not ask them how they feel about it instead of telling them that they should be disappointed in themselves. Then, once they let you know their thoughts on their performance, you can put together a little plan of how they are going to do better next time. By doing this, you have addressed their poor performance in a constructive way, rather than a way that is too critical and will make them feel bad.
For younger children, the most important thing is to make training sessions fun. All young cricketers want to learn to hit the ball for six like their favourite stars on TV, and want to hit the wickets when they’re bowling. Setting up little challenges for your kids that help them to learn these skills are always a good idea and help to keep things fun and engaging. If you get too technical and strict early in their cricket career, they may not enjoy the game as much and may get bored of playing!
Obviously, there are times when it’s suitable to be critical of your child’s performance, and there are also times when practice isn’t fun! I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever offer constructive criticism, or introduce your children to a tough, rigorous practice session! I’m just saying that it’s important to do these things in the right way, at the right time. Slightly older children who are in their teenage years and have been playing cricket for a while will be more receptive to criticism due to the fact they will have been playing longer, and many of them will be looking for things to do to improve. As long as the criticism you give is designed to make your child a better player, and it is delivered in a kind-hearted way, the message should hit home!
I hope this post has given you some inspiration that will help you work with your child and assist them in improving their chances of becoming a cricketer! I’d like to close out this post by reminding you to display a positive attitude and to not be too pushy if you have a young child that is interested in the sport. In my experience, a child who is having fun and sees cricket as an enjoyable game is much more likely to succeed than a child who fears failure and puts themselves under too much pressure to do well. If you can ensure that your child approaches the game in the correct way, and practices hard with their club and at home, that will go a long way towards making them a successful player!