Can you sum up your career history?
I made my debut for England in 2003 aged 17 and went on to represent England for over 13 years (225 caps). I was fortunate enough to be part of two World Cup winning teams and five Ashes series wins.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Being part of a successful team and contributing to the team in a positive way. Personally, I was proud to be England’s Player of the Year in 2013 and shortlisted World Player of The Year on two occasions. For me it was very much being part of a special group of players and staff who all had a common goal.
What inspired you to create Cricket for Girls?
I have always coached, even when I was playing, and I was delivering in schools and clubs from the age of 16. It is extremely rewarding, but the most rewarding aspect is walking into a session as a female coach and seeing the faces of young girls change – it is often a picture of relief and realisation that cricket is a sport for them as well.
Young girls having female role models is vital in building their aspirations and that is largely what motivated me to set up Cricket for Girls. In what has been traditionally a male-dominated sport, being able to provide something for females that is specific to them is a powerful experience.
How did your spring/summer Cricket for Girls events go this year?
Brilliantly! This year we have run eight weeks of holiday camps in seven different locations. We also ran our first-ever residential camp aimed at hard ball cricketers wanting to take their game to the next level. It included skill-specific masterclasses with guest coaches, as well as classroom workshops such as goal setting, how to develop mental toughness and tactical awareness.
The group also went to watch a Kia Super League game where they met some of their heroes: Sarah Taylor, Natalie Sciver and Katherine Brunt, to name a few!
Our teacher CPD courses were also as popular as ever, running them at Lord’s we had over 120 teachers attend the courses. We also delivered tailored courses at schools not able to make the courses. We will be announcing our courses for next year shortly.
Lastly, we launched our online resource this year which has been extremely well received and this is something we will be developing over the next two years.
What issue in education are you most passionate about?
Developing confidence and self-esteem among females through the power of sport. If we can create a positive experience for young girls within our lessons and sessions, the effect that can have on them outside of PE can be unbelievable.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Assuming PE is a given, my second favourite subject was English.
What is your favourite book?
I really enjoy reading biography books. I find people from all walks of life fascinating and enjoy learning from real-life experiences. Looking back on my time at school I enjoyed reading and analysing To Kill a Mockingbird – we had a great teacher called Mrs Eddie who took us through the book with such passion!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Since retiring from cricket, I have got into road cycling – you can’t beat the English countryside, although similar to any cricketer, if there is any sign of rain there is no chance of me going outside! I’m also going to start playing hockey again this winter (something we weren’t able to do as professional cricketers in case we got injured).
What are your plans for Cricket for Girls going forward?
To continue to work with and help as many schools as possible to deliver an effective girls’ cricket programme.
We are continuing to build our online resource which will take schools through a four-year cricket programme, starting from introducing soft ball to advancing hard ball cricket. It includes a full scheme of work and supporting lesson plans, as well as video demonstrations for skills and techniques and many other helpful resources.
We will also be announcing our teacher CPD courses for next year which will include the Level 1 and Level 2 as well as new skill-specific masterclasses. Schools can sign up to our newsletter to receive the dates and locations of these courses at www.cricketforgirls.com
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you do instead?
I’m not too sure! I enjoy variety and being outdoors so something that ticks those two boxes, perhaps a PE teacher!
For more information or questions, schools can email firstname.lastname@example.org