Sunday, November 27, 2022

Past players’ positive feedback for PCA

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Survey reveals progress of players’ association services.

The Professional Cricketers’ Association has revealed findings from research conducted with former players regarding views on their players’ association.

Two surveys were carried out in 2022 as part of the process, one aimed solely at players that left the game in 2021 and a second survey that was sent to all past players who the PCA has contact with.

An encouraging 449 members completed the main survey, of which 37% were under the age of 50, with a further 36 submitting responses to their separate questionnaire as leavers of the game in 2021. The data has been interrogated to ensure accurate reflections across ages due to the increased support offered to members by the PCA over the past 10-15 years. This is demonstrated with the PCA celebrating 10 years of managing the Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP) in 2022.

Amongst the endorsements included 98% of respondents who accessed the PDWP revealing the guidance received was excellent or good, while 75% of individuals found a satisfying career path within two years.

The questions also probed PCA members on areas such as concussion, mental health, sense of belonging to the PCA, communication channels and the value of the negotiation and dispute services provided by their Association.

The survey results are vital to allow the PCA to internally review services, leading to positive changes and improvements for members. The anonymous research supports constant feedback from current and former players, providing detailed critique on the PCA which has been revealed as part of PCA Futures Week.

The campaign, headlined by the centrepiece two-day Futures Conference at St. George’s Park on Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3 November, showcases personal development achievements and opportunities on offer to past and present professional cricketers in England and Wales.

Results:

Health and Wellbeing

As former players who dedicated their first career to cricket, members were asked a series of questions including the length of time it took to find a satisfying career path once their playing careers came to an end.

Of members surveyed, 75% found a satisfying career after leaving cricket within two years, with 68% managing to do so within six months.

Regarding mental health support, one in 10 players accessed help through the PCA, with 21% of under 50s receiving support compared to just 4% of over 50s.

With an increased spotlight and understanding on the impact of head injuries in professional sport, eight former players recorded that they suffered from concussion at some point in their life with two of these revealing they are still impacted post-cricket. This follows a game-changing dementia support partnership that the PCA announced with Alzheimer’s Society in June 2022.

Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP)

During questioning on the PDWP, 98% of respondents who used the programme rated the support as excellent or good.

The most important element of the programme for respondents was ‘Career Guidance’ with 66% selecting this. Other aspects that respondents scored highly included ‘Welfare & Wellbeing Support’, ‘Transitional Guidance’ and ‘Educational Funding’.

From the under 50s category, a large 58% had received educational funding from the PCA, which dropped to 39% for those aged 50 or over.

With an emphasis placed on members who left the game in 2021, 94% of those had accessed the PDWP in the last two years and importantly 73% went on to say that more contact time with their Personal Development Manager would be useful in supporting them.

Player Operations

The PCA offers contract advice, negotiation and dispute services to its members which was reviewed in 2020 with an updated policy to provide further clarity on the evolving involvement of the players’ association.

Of those players who recently left the game, 83% totally agree or agree that the contract negotiation and dispute service had a positive impact on their career.

Membership

The PCA champions the ongoing interests of professional cricketers in England and Wales. Representing every professional player, once you are a member of the PCA, you are a member for life and therefore it is important all members feel a close affinity with their Association.

Of those surveyed, 70% of respondents said they feel a sense of belonging to the PCA and for the under 50s this rose to 76%. Crucially, every single player who left the game in 2021 said they feel a sense of belonging with 100% agreeing with the statement.

Ian Thomas, PCA Director of Member Services, said: “Researching the honest thoughts on the performance of the PCA from our members is of utmost importance. While we recognise the number of challenges PCA members face, it is pleasing to see endorsements from our past players on the services they had and continue to have at their disposal as lifetime members of the PCA.

“We have spent considerable time understanding the surveys across the different demographics and acting upon specific feedback which has differed especially across different age categories.

“It is encouraging to see our most recent cohort of players who have left the game interact with this research with 94% of those taking advantage of the Personal Development and Welfare Programme. Furthermore, three-quarters of those believed more contact time with their Personal Development Manager would be beneficial, an important marker as we look to maintain and expand services to our rapidly growing membership.”

James Harris, PCA Chair, said: “Gathering opinions of past players is extremely valuable for us to be able to further the support that is on offer. The PCA do so much for current and former players so it’s nice to hear that the results of the survey have been very positive. I’m proud of the work that we are doing and we are constantly striving to improve and increase the services that we have on offer.”

Keaton Jennings, Lancashire and England batter, said: “You can’t play cricket forever, so it’s important that as a current player you prepare for that. I’ve just completed my Master’s degree in Business Administration and a lot of study is self-driven but the PCA is always there to help which is great. Especially with the financial backing, they make the process of getting that funding very easy and they’re extremely supportive.”

Rikki Clarke, former England, Surrey, Warwickshire and Derbyshire all-rounder, said: “The PCA offers an invaluable opportunity for players past and present to develop their skills. The help I have had from the PCA has helped me transition in to my new role as Head of Cricket at King Edward’s School Witley and allowed me to start up my own coaching business. Without the guidance and help from the PCA, it really would have been a tougher process.

“I cannot thank the PCA enough for the help and continued support throughout my playing career and now with life after cricket.”

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