Take guard at the crease
Cricket gives children the chance to develop a sense of patience and self-discipline, improve fitness levels and learn how to perform as membersof a team.
Parents interested in introducing the sport to their children can enrol them in an introductory training programme run by the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) or register their child with one of the clubs affiliated to the organisation.
The HKCA (www.cricket.com.hk) runs elementary courses every three months that are subvented through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
'Courses are offered in various places around the city and cover the skills involved in catching, running, batting and bowling. To perform well in these skill areas, players need to develop powers of concentration and eye-hand co-ordination,' says Charly Lam, senior sports executive at the HKCA.
Courses involve weekly sessions of 90 minutes and cost HK$200.
The best way to learn the skills is to join one of the local clubs, Lam says.
All have a junior structure and junior training programme.
Most clubs also welcome parental involvement to develop an enjoyable family atmosphere around the place.
'Children as young as five or six years old can start playing a modified version of cricket that uses a softer ball than the normal leather case type used in competitive matches,' Lam says.
Clubs run regular training sessions throughout the year, and provide children with the opportunity to improve their skills in match play conditions.
Becoming a club member also offers young players the chance to learn more about the game through social interactions with more experienced members.
A list of registered clubs is available on the HKCA website.
One such club is Kowloon Cricket Club (KCC, www.kcc.org.hk) which offers programmes for boys and girls in Jordan, almost all year round at under-11, under-12, under-15 and under-17 levels.
The next season starts on September 1 and runs through to the end of June.
'Cricket is a game played internationally, so it enjoys a high level of media attention to begin with,' says Matthew Collins, the club's cricket section committee member.
'It's a very exciting sport and fun for kids and adults of all ages.
'It is a highly skilled game and is great for developing leadership skills.'
Training sessions take place on Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm and mid-week from 4.30 to 6.30pm.
Cost per session is HK$160 for members and HK$175 for visitors.
'The KCC has introduced a very structured coaching programme and with our head coach being Ryan Campbell, a former Australian international player, parents can be assured that their children will get the best quality coaching available,' Collins says.
Parents interested in registering their children for the new season can e-mail the KCC office for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org