Acting Scotland men’s Head Coach Toby Bailey has hailed the training camp at the La Manga facility in Spain as a big success as the best players in the country got their winter schedule off to a good start.
Last week’s camp allowed Bailey and his fellow coaches to have a look at a wider group of players in a focused environment and he believes it has set everyone up well for 2019.
The camp focused on four key priorities agreed by the coaches and players, these being the development of power hitting, batting against spin, bowling skills, and leadership.
Bailey was joined by core staff in the shape of High-Performance Manager Simon Smith, Spin Coach Andy Tennant, Pace Bowling Coach Gordon Drummond, Physio Mairi Macphail and Performance Coordinator Jonathan Newell.
To add value, the group welcomed in power hitting guru Julian Wood, Gloucestershire CCC Coach Owen Dawkins, evergreen Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens, and Leadership Consultant Louise Finlayson.
“The week went really well, we are certainly moving forward with the skills we are trying to develop,” Bailey said.
“In terms of power hitting, the guys understand the concepts behind hitting the ball harder through power generation and contact points.”
“We did a lot of work behind the scenes on leadership skills, and it was pleasing to see a greater understanding from individuals and the use of expertise in the group to create idea generation.
“What really pleased me was the interaction between our senior internationals and the younger players during the week away.
“Just spending time together is great, these are intelligent guys and the more idea exchange there is, the more this will result in improvements across the board going forward.”
In terms of the specialist coaches who contributed during the week, Bailey feels they added real value and expertise.
“They all brought something new to the group and got the players thinking slightly differently,” he explained.
“Darren was excellent, the knowledge he has from over 20 years playing at the top level and in lots of different conditions and competitions around the world can only help youngsters.
“He is a winner as well and the guys bought into what he was saying.
“Owen was fantastic, he brought a lot of energy and continued the work that Julian had done earlier in the week.
“Owen helped gradually refine power hitting to each player’s game as everyone will hit the ball differently and have their own strengths.”
Sadly the proposed match against a Spain XI last Thursday was washed out but the Scots and the Spanish still came together in a training session to share ideas.
“The pitch was flooded. We trained with the Spanish squad though. If we can help other countries as leading associate that’s great, I think players from different backgrounds can always learn something from working together,” Bailey stated.
“On the final morning of the camp the squad were then on the golf range working with La Manga golf professionals understanding how to generate power from another sport. We tried to bring everything back to cricket and keep the focus on that power hitting element – while it was a lot of fun as well!
“We will be back in for fitness testing on home soil next week and then continue to work on the skills developed in La Manga leading up to Christmas.”