Former Indian cricketer Snehal Pradhan organises girls cricket coaching camp in Anantapur Sports Academy
Snehal Pradhan joined hands with Anantapur Sports Academy to create exposure for the participating girls from the grassroots and help them improve their cricketing skills.
Lack of quality coaching at the grassroots level hinders the performance and discourages the participation of girls in cricket or any other sport. Anantapur Sports Academy, a sport for development initiative in India believes that to improve girls' participation in sport, it is essential to create a robust sporting environment at the grassroots level with safe access to quality coaching, equipment and infrastructure.
Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) founded in the year 2000, currently reaches out to 970 (728 boys, 242 girls) through the cricket program, leverages the power of sport for the development of children from the underprivileged and marginalized sections of the society. To encourage participation of girls and provide a platform for these girls from Anantapur District, ASA organizes the annual rural league Ananta Premier League (APL) and in the 2020 edition of APL-Girls, 56 girls participated in the league.
To create exposure for the participating girls, and help them improve their cricketing skills, ASA organized a cricket coaching camp with support from former Indian Cricketer Snehal Pradhan from 25 March 2021 to 31st March 2021. 20 girls from APL were selected for the coaching camp. The camp was not limited to just teaching cricketing skills though, but also to help girls learn about the opportunities they have and how to work our way towards them from Snehal, who has been actively advocating for equal opportunities for women's cricket in India.
Camps such as these create exposure that inspires the children to set goals and expert coaching equips children with skills to realize their dreams. Snehal interacted with children throughout the week and spent time with them on and off the field, helping them learn about a wide range of topics from nutrition to goal setting, helping them through coaching and sharing her experiences in International Cricket. "The more informal you are with them you get to know more about them." Said Snehal, talking about why she liked to have all her three meals with the girls.
The sessions took place in the morning and evening, while Snehal spent time with children through various activities and post-dinner time pep talks, filled with anecdotes from her life and the inspiring stories of other Indian Women Cricketers. Talking to the youngest girl in the group of 20, Snehal asked her to practice once she goes home after the camp, She said she can't, her house is one room, only big enough for her family of five to sleep in, "I told her about Jemi Rodrigues, and how she practised batting even in a 200 sq. flat," recollected Snehal on Twitter.
To encourage girls participation at the grassroots level, it is essential that equal and safe access should be enabled to coaching, equipment and infrastructure. ASA currently operates 12 grassroots cricket centres across the Anantapur District and Snehal Pradhan during her interaction with the coaches emphasized on the need to focus on girls' participation and to create equal opportunities at the grassroots level.
"This was a welcoming initiative to organize a girl's camp for the first time with a women coach and it helped to boost confidence in the young girl cricketers. We believe the girls shall take inspiration from the interactions they had with Snehal Pradhan and work hard to become role models in their local communities. We would like to thank Snehal Pradhan for making this camp successful," said Yugandhar Reddy, Cricket Coordinator at ASA.