Surrey and England cricketer Sam Curran was a guest speaker at the annual PCA Rookie Camp on Tuesday, sharing his experiences with new professionals in the game.
After the pandemic moved the annual PCA event online last year, the 2022 edition, which was themed around maximising performance through personal development, saw 57 rookies from across 16 first-class counties and five regional centres in attendance in Birmingham. That’s the highest number for a non-virtual Rookie Camp and only two fewer than the 2021 figure.
There were Q+A sessions on playing in inclusive environments and the changing landscape of cricket, as well as further presentations on the new PCA eLearning platform, launched on Tuesday, and personal development away from the game delivered by current players Joe Cooke, Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Andrew Salter.
Players were also introduced to the PCA’s registered charity, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, and received wellbeing and welfare sessions from sports mental health charity Sporting Chance and gambling harm awareness consultancy EPIC Risk Management before heading home.
Rookie Camp forms part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP), a personalised support service which aims to enable individuals to develop sustainable performance both within and outside of cricket.
The annual event brings together players who have recently signed their first professional contract at one of the 18 first-class counties or eight regional centres, and sits alongside further PDWP initiatives including the Futures Awards and Futures Conference.
Curran said: “The guys at Rookie Camp are not much younger than me, so it’s great to speak to them about my experiences with the PCA and what they can expect during the coming years.
“I’m excited for them, because I can put myself in their shoes a few years back and that was a very exciting time for me personally. The PCA does so much for the game, so these events are so important in providing that pillar of support that helps you both on the pitch and away from it.
2021 cinch PCA Women’s Young Player of the Year and Surrey Women & South East Stars player Alice Capsey said: “It’s been great to learn from all the different experiences that the speakers here today have had, whether it’s around inclusivity, gender equality, or anything else. We’ve been able to take a little bit from each session which has been really beneficial.
“It’s the start of all of our journeys, so it’s been really nice to be around the other rookies and to learn about all these things as part of a collective. In the future, I want to make the most of the opportunities that I’ve been given, so today has been all about learning how I can engage with the PCA further down the line.”
PCA Chief Executive Rob Lynch said: “It’s of paramount importance that we help our latest intake of professional cricketers to understand what the PCA can offer them and the support that is available. To see a record attendance for an in-person Rookie Camp can only motivate us to provide the best possible support.
“A huge thank you to both the rookies for giving up their time to come here today, and to the numerous contributors including many PCA members and PCA staff. In addition, we wouldn’t be able to provide our services without the ongoing support of our commercial partners, so I’d like to thank those who attended today to talk to the rookies.”