Over 100 PCA playing members have been pursuing their personal development away from the cricket pitch during the first 50 days of Coronavirus-enforced lockdown through enrolling on online courses.
The PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare team have been working hard to ensure that professional cricketers in England and Wales are able to put their time to good use as they stay at home.
In an unprecedented uptake in personal development for this period of the year, learning has involved committing to online courses via platforms such as OpenLearn and Udemy, covering areas including accounting and finance, foreign languages and more.
Outside of that group, there are also players who are continuing their ECB Levels 2 and 3 coaching badges, as well as those who have already started online degree courses.
Whilst a handful of players have already finished short courses, the majority will continue to study over a period of weeks or months before completion. In addition to the upsurge in independent study amongst PCA members, over 70 players have attended webinars organised by the players’ association. Topics have included how to set up a business, property investment, franchise businesses as well as various sessions delivered and hosted by LinkedIn.
Last week, four PCA England Masters players used their morning to hone their public speaking skills during a tailored Zoom workshop run by Duncan Holmes of Speak the Speech.
Under usual circumstances, October is the most popular time of year for players to focus on their personal development, with the cricket season and many professional contracts simultaneously coming to an end.
However, with professional cricket postponed until at least 1st July, the PCA’s network of Personal Development Managers (PDMs) have been working hard to cope with the increase in demand for their services over the course of a period that would usually play host to the first part of the domestic season.
On top of sourcing and organising many of the aforementioned courses, that has involved creating a bespoke Weekly Isolation Guide, offering comprehensive contractual advice and ensuring the general welfare needs of players are met.
The PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP) is accessible to all current and former professional cricketers in England and Wales. The aim of the PDWP is to enable individuals to excel and develop sustainable performance within and outside of cricket.
to improve players’ performance on the field by minimising distractions off it, as well as better preparing individuals for life after the game.
To gain a better insight into how players have been learning new skills since lockdown was introduced, we spoke to four PCA members who have gone down very different paths over the course of the past 50 days.
Like many professional cricketers, Daniel Bell-Drummond is interested in the property landscape, and has recently taken steps towards increasing his understanding of the industry by attending webinars and looking into online courses.
The Kent man lives a short hop away from northern France, and will perhaps be planning a post-lockdown visit as he has taken up learning French in recent weeks.
“I’ve been ‘virtually’ attending property webinars quite often as well as looking into property and real estate courses.
“I’m quite enjoying learning French as well during lockdown. I studied it a little at school and have always wanted to speak another language!”
The 2019 PCA Young Player of the Year award nominee clearly has a bright future in the game ahead of him, but the importance of personal development away from the game is not lost on aspiring journalist Bracey.
“I’ve been writing various mock pieces about my England Lions experiences and adjusting them to suit different types of audience. At the same time I’ve started an online diploma in journalism with Alison.
“The current situation has highlighted just how important it is to plan for your future career. It’s provided a taste of life without cricket, so thinking about the transition now is certainly going to be helpful for me when it actually comes to moving away from playing, whenever that may be!”
Maths enthusiast Fisher had long been considering taking on an accountancy qualification, and has now used the opportunity presented by lockdown to dip his toe in the water.
The 22-year-old has signed up for a ‘Fundamentals of Accounting’ course delivered by the Open University. Consisting of eight separate modules, the course will run for nine months and is open to anyone who possesses basic skills in numeracy and literacy.
“When I am studying maths, I feel like I am almost in a flow state,” Fisher explains. “I love that there is an actual answer at the end of the question. It has tested me and reconnected me with the feelings of studying which I have previously enjoyed.
“During lockdown I have been extremely motivated to study and use the time well. Whatever the outcome of this summer, I will definitely continue studying and will take the leap towards the next level when the schedules allow.”
More well-known as a prodigiously talented youngster with both bat and ball in hand, England Women rookie Lamb also harbours an artistic streak.
Alongside creating new pieces during lockdown, the 22-year-old has been looking at ways to market and sell her work in order to create a second source of income.
“My art has helped me to take my mind away from the stress of not being able to play cricket at the moment. It gives me a challenge and something to focus on outside of training.
“It’s something I enjoy doing so lockdown has definitely given me the impetus to do this more in the future and possibly set up a side business.”
The PCA’s joint Lead Personal Development Manager Charlie Mulraine reflected on these four players and more making the most of their time in lockdown: “During these hard times it’s been wonderful to see the players adapt to the unprecedented circumstances and approach their personal development with such open minds.
“We have found this is also really helping with the wellbeing of players to provide distractions away from the worries society faces.
“Our team has been happy to assist players in finding online courses and we’ve also supplemented this by organising a series of online webinars for PCA members ourselves. My message to any current or former player who is considering pursuing their personal development would be: don’t hesitate to get in touch with your regional PDM.”
Take a look at the PCA’s tailored Weekly Isolation Guide.
Find out more about the PCA's Personal Development and Welfare Programme.