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What is a District Development Group?

District Development Groups


Firstly, let’s establish the definition of ‘Cricket Development’ as the first five steps of the ECB’s National Strategy – a national framework within which cricket is being delivered locally to Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Clubs, Districts and Representative Cricket. 

Not so long ago, Cricket Development consisted of Kwik Cricket sets and a few posters!  Now, initiatives include Playground Markings in Primary Schools … HOWZAT!  1st and 2nd Innings – considered THE most effective school sport development resource for youngsters and Teachers … Inter-Cricket, Club Accreditation, Women and Girl’s Club development, the Facilities Strategy, the Volunteer Strategy, the Disabilities Strategy … and these are just a selection from the rich stream of integrated programmes created in the last five years.

The opportunity now exists for Cricket to recruit and retain players AND a wide variety of talented volunteers to support our great game … from cradle to grave … from playground to Test arena … from across the Country to across the road.

However, competition for our time and energy has never been so intense.  Choice of sports, computer games, TV channels and other leisure interests increases at an amazing rate.  The real challenge is where to invest our finite time in order to achieve and be recognised for our achievements – a combination creating the highest level of personal satisfaction.

This is where Cricket offers so much. A potent combination exists of modern and traditional values, a rich product base for recreational Cricket AND a delivery strategy that really makes a difference for the individual and the Community.  The success of the delivery strategy hinges on the District Development Group (DDG).

With an enhanced profile, the DDG is rapidly becoming the delivery vehicle for the County Development Plan and the National Strategy.  Why?  Because people in a small, identifiable area invest their time, achieve the goals and see the benefits in shorter timescales.  For example, funding can be generated and applied to a local scheme which quickly improves not only the standard of Cricket but also the standard of the Community.  Cricket has the potential to, once again, be a true ‘hub’ of the Community throughout the year… indoors and outdoors … positively influencing Community challenges such as health, crime, equality and education.

We have summarised our ‘top ten’ components of a successful DDG’s …

v        Recruiting a DDG leader with the right blend of skills, knowledge and, most important, the right attitude and attributes to enthusiastically drive the District forward;

v        Creating a Constitution and District Plan which complements the County plan – thus ensuring high credibility with the ECB, Sport England, the Local Authority and sponsors

v        Establishing project ‘hot groups’ – small teams with specific, short-term project objectives – task focused and full of passion – achieving momentum through early success

v        Widening the DDG vision to include influencing and ownership of District matters, such as …

-          fundraising

-          recruiting and retaining high calibre volunteers

-          developing IT to communicate effectively e.g.

-          cooperative purchasing for club, school and district needs

-          Active Sport programme coordination

-          coordinating coaching activities and coach education

-          pooling players to maximise fixtures

-          coordinating pitch advisors and ground maintenance

-          organising talent identification

-          fostering the District squad for the benefit of the County

v        Encouraging Clubs to adopt the ClubMark/ECB Accreditation approach; while appreciating not all clubs can embrace the approach – and that’s OK

v        Creating real partnerships with Schools and Specialist Sports Colleges – not just paper-based links

v        Creating a strong relationship with the Local Authority which may include multi-sport cooperation

v        Fostering a strategic relationship with the County’s Cricket Development Officer rather than expecting them to DO everything because they are the employed professional

v        Celebrating small or large successes … saying “thank you” - recognising individual achievements

v        Generating fun, satisfaction and public awareness of Cricket supporting the Community.

These are key ingredients to achieve comprehensive DDG success.  Districts and Clubs waiting for the ECB and the Development Officer to DO everything are in for a very long wait!!  It is no longer feasible for the National Governing Body, First Class Counties and the relatively few employed professionals to DO everything … the rules have changed … the game has moved on … the opportunities too numerous. The great news is that power really does exist for visionary, focused and enthusiastic District people.

Go on, get involved … you really can make a difference.


 KCB April 2010


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