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The power of sports: How Cricket clinics are shaping the future of South Africa’s youth

Cricket School of Excellence's celebrate 25th anniversary milestone

by Tia

2023 has been one for the books when it comes to South Africa’s sporting victories. Banyana Banyana set the pace with their historic win against Italy, followed by the Springbok’s Rugby World Cup triumph and the Proteas’ semi-final placement in the Cricket World Cup. Through these, we have seen how sports is a unifying force in South Africa, with the ability to uplift communities, enrich lives and nurture young talent. It also highlights the opportunity to make sports – like cricket – more accessible, particularly in disadvantaged and underserved communities, in an effort to provide opportunities and positive pastimes for the youth.

For the Cricket School of Excellence (CSE), there is nothing more important than using the power of sport to shape the future of South Africa’s youth. Having been around for over two decades, January 2024 will mark CSE’s 25th anniversary as an initiative aimed at developing cricketing superstars and providing talented young people with the opportunity to build a career in sport.

CSE founder, Ryan Maron says some of the country’s most prolific sportsmen and women grew up in under-resourced townships. “In their success stories lie important lessons on the importance of teamwork, how to persevere through times of adversity and the many doors of opportunity that sport can open for those who are willing to put in the work. With the support of our sponsors, CSE has expanded its offering from technical and behavioural coaching to holiday clinics and private group coaching,” he says.

Championing youth development through sport

Online brokerage firm and trading platform, Tickmill, is the official sponsor of CSE. Most recently, Tickmill initiated the Adopt a School Programme, which allows for two qualified coaches to work in two schools in Khayelitsha, four days a week. These coaching sessions are geared towards developing the ‘ABCs’ of sport – agility, balance, and co-ordination.

Programmes of this nature play a pivotal role in making cricket more accessible and a means by which to teach young girls and boys about principles such as discipline, dedication, and a positive mindset. The programme also provides children with a constructive pastime, helping them to hone their skills and possibly, pursue a career in cricket.

Part of the CSE’s work also involves scouting for young talent, growing the national cricket network, and motivating for membership and bursaries for promising young talent. For Roger Eskinazi, Managing Partner at Tickmill, CSE’s Adopt a School Programme is a success story that South Africa needs to hear about and celebrate.

“The coaches who run the programme have demonstrated unwavering commitment to the communities they serve. Through it, they have been able to earn an income and continue playing at club level while nurturing their passion for the game. Several cricketers who have participated in the township programme have gone on to represent various Western Province youth sides.

CSE’s own professionals have worked hand in hand with township-based coaches, who have worked tirelessly with these young people every day.”

A legacy of excellence

CSE founder, Ryan Maron is a Cricket South Africa Level 3 Coach and has risen through the ranks of Western Province (WP) Cricket, having been selected to represent the province from 1997 to 2000. He then went on to represent WP ‘B’ up until 2004. During his tenure with the provincial team, Maron founded CSE, with a goal to demonstrate the life-changing potential of sport.

His experience as a coach has included successful stints as head coach at the University of Cape Town, Rondebosch Boys’ High School, as well as several prominent clubs in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Maron currently coaches the Afghanistan national side who have recently come off a very positive CRICKET WORLD CUP in India beating – England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands. He has also worked extensively with the national teams of the West Indies and Nepal.

Since 2018, Maron has partnered with cricket legend, Jonty Rhodes in establishing high-performance camps around the world running the Jonty Rhodes Way.

Upcoming CSE cricket clinics

CSE is currently gearing up to host two-holiday clinics at the Gary Kirsten Oval. These clinics will involve extensive coaching and training sessions over 4 days. The pre-launch event for these clinics will take place from 19 – 22 December at Claremont. To launch its holiday programme, CSE will also be hosting an opening event from 09 – 12 January 2024 to celebrate the accomplishments of programme participants, as well as the school’s 25th anniversary.

As Eskinazi concludes: “we anticipate that the upcoming holiday clinics will give many young people the boost they need to strive for excellence in sport. Together with CSE, we are committed to fostering physical wellness amongst children in underserved areas, as well as mental dexterity and most importantly, unyielding courage. With these factors, the sky really is the limit.”

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