Like all student sports at the moment, Women’s Cricket have taken their Club online. However with their season even yet to start, current circumstances added uncertainty if they’ll see any match-time this year. Should they continue training as normal? Undeterred by the distance between them, UBWCC took on the challenge of hosting a full-on virtual pre-season for their members – with huge success!
We asked Anna Biggs, UBWCC Captain, to write about the experience, and give her top tips for hosting socially-distance pre-season training, for any #WeAreBristol clubs that may find themselves in a similar situation come the Autumn term!
Due to the nature of the cricketing season, our training and matches are skewed towards the end of the academic year. Under normal circumstances we hold a preseason during the Easter break, in preparation for the onset of matches in the Summer term.
However, due to the pandemic our original plans for preseason were cancelled, along with our whole summer season. Obviously, we were devastated by this news and truly saddened that we were unable to complete the season in the way we imagined.
As a club, and like the rest of the country, we decided to put a positive spin on a rubbish situation and run a Virtual Preseason for the same dates we would have been our regular pre-season – Wednesday 15th April until Friday 17th April.
Throughout each day, we announced three challenges on the Facebook event and on our Instagram (follow us @UOBWCC):
- An artistic challenge (announced at 10am)
- A cricketing challenge (announced at 12pm)
- A S&C (strength and conditioning) challenge (announced at 2pm)
Everyone who joined in gained one point for completing each challenge and some challenges were ranked, with the top-three awarded extra points.
At the end of each day, we would post the leader board, and on Friday night we announced the overall ranking and winner of pre-season as a whole!
What went well?
- Releasing events at set points throughout the day gave structure to the pre-season – like a normal timetable of activities.
- Set times also reduced the chances of members feeling overwhelmed by all of the challenges at the start of the day and enabled a continual trickle in of content over a few hours.
- Members really enjoyed the ‘arty challenges’ – although we wouldn’t really be doing this in a normal pre-season, it was a really effective way to engage members and create an inclusive and friendly feel to the event.
- The leader board created a competitive edge and was affective at engaging members in all the different challenge types.
- Having a social in the middle of few days of virtual pre-season brought back the social side to pre-season that we were all missing.
Advice for planning a virtual pre-season:
- Give clear outlines, timelines and structures to the virtual pre-season. This will reduce confusion and increase involvement.
- Advertise pre-season well in advance to increase engagement – such as via social media pages, email, or any direct contact like messages.
Follow University of Bristol Women’s Cricket on Instagram @UOBWCC