Reifer promises ‘elites’ from WI U-19 cohort
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Newly appointed West Indies Under-19s head coach Floyd Reifer says his vision is not simply to develop a strong cadre of players, but to transform the next generation of cricketers into elite athletes.
The former West Indies batsman, who has enjoyed widespread success with the region’s development teams, said preparing the players for next year’s ICC Youth World Cup was only part of a wider thrust that would have long-term benefits for West Indies cricket.
“After this project, I’m hoping to teach these young men how to become professionals,” Reifer, who was appointed last week, said.
“We need the elite athlete. I believe in having the elite athlete first before the cricketer. If we have that elite athlete with that elite athlete mindset, we will produce better cricketers.
“This programme that we have in place will teach these young men how to be professionals on and off the field of play.”
Reifer said the preparation of the young players for the tournament would involve a multifaceted approach aimed at not only developing cricketing skills, but the total sportsman.
As such, he said the programme in place would see nutrition, sports science, and mental development as key components of the player’s game.
“Things that you do off the field affect how you play on the field so we have to be consistent in terms of how they prepare – nutrition, sports psychologists, being in contact with the biomechanists as well for the bowlers, the fielders and the batters as well,” he said.
“So when you bring a whole scientific base to this programme, it is going to encourage learning because where there is teaching, there is always learning.
“So I’m looking forward to this project. I’m looking forward to working with the young men, and I’m looking forward to working with all the different scientists involved in the programme,, and I’m sure that you will see results and definitely you will see that professional athlete as we go on throughout the year.”
West Indies Under-19s won the Youth World Cup in 2016 with a side including Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, and Keemo Paul, all of whom have since gone on to play international cricket for the senior team.
And Reifer said with the gap between first-class cricket and international cricket a wide one, it was important that the job of nurturing professional cricketers began at the age group level.
“We’re not just training them to play in a World Cup, we’re training them for international cricket,” he said.
“The difference between our first-class cricketers and our international cricket, the gap is too wide. We want to close that gap.
“So it’s time to start with the Under-19s, even the Under-17s and the Under-15s, that we start tailoring their training towards international cricket. The things we do from that age will train them towards that.”