rookie camp

Former England batsman James Taylor used his own traumatic experience to emphasise the importance of planning for life after cricket when he spoke to young cricketers about to set out in the county game at the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s seventh annual Rookie Camp at Edgbaston today.

Taylor’s own career was ended abruptly at the age of 25 last April when was taken ill warming up before Nottinghamshire’s first-class friendly against Cambridge MCCU.

He went to hospital where he was diagnosed with an Arrythmogenic Right Ventricular Arrythmia – a rare heart condition – which forced Taylor to retire with immediate effect and bring forward his plans for a post-cricket career by 10 years.

I started the warm-ups and my chest was going mental. I was thinking; I’m playing against a university side, I shouldn’t be getting this nervous,” Taylor said.

“It wasn’t just the usual fast rhythm, it was totally out of rhythm and I could see my shirt moving. I knew it wasn’t quite right, that’s when I thought I was going to die.

“I stuck my head down the loo. I couldn’t breathe I just needed to get something out. Our physio dragged me out of the loo but I still couldn’t breathe. I wanted to pass out but my body must have been in some sort of nick to not let me pass out at that stage.

“I got put on oxygen. I felt awful and I couldn’t get comfortable. I went home a few hours but my body was packing up, my heartbeat was irregular and the sofa was vibrating with my heart beat.

“I crawled upstairs and I was sick everywhere. My body was packing up. My whole left arm was really painful.

“I started massaging it and the pain wasn’t going away which is the sign of a heart attack. I went to hospital and I was hooked up to machines and that is when I knew that something was seriously wrong.”

Although Taylor had largely focused on cricket while he was still playing he had heeded the sound advice of Paul Nixon, his former Leicestershire team-mate.

Nixon, who also spoke at the Rookie Camp, advised Taylor to build contacts and to network while was still playing, advice that has helped Taylor to land media work with Sky and BBC Test Match Special.

“Paul Nixon is the ultimate networker. He was the first person to tell me that every time you go somewhere just get their business card. What harm can it do? You never know when it might help you,” Taylor said.

“I can vouch for that now. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Make contacts, be nice to people. Give people a bit of love and they will give you a lot back especially when you are in the privileged position of being a professional sportsman. As a professional sportsman people want to know you so be clever, be savvy and make contacts and network while you are still playing.

The Rookie Camp, sponsored for the fifth year by the Tom Maynard Trust, was the seventh held by the PCA and gave the county newcomers a taster of what life as a county cricketer will be like.

The 31 rookies were given advice on a range of subjects including anti-corruption, discipline, gambling awareness, agents and contract negotiations, social media and legal matters during a busy all-day programme.

Ian Thomas, the PCA Head of Development and Welfare, said: This was the seventh PCA Rookie Camp. It’s a great day to celebrate new professionals joining the game and becoming PCA Members.

“We are grateful to all presenters and in particular James Taylor and Paul Nixon. The new players always enjoy listening to past players talking about the career ahead of them and how to make the most of all its opportunities. The day highlights multiple areas to be aware of, to remain professional on and off the pitch.”

Kindly supported by ‎The Tom Maynard Trust

As part of a comprehensive transitions programme, the PCA & ECB’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP),  run an annual Rookie Camp to celebrate the achievement of reaching pro status and formally induct players into the Professional game of Cricket in England and Wales. 

The camps are an opportunity to bring all newly signed Professional Players to a central location and give them the chance to explore and develop their understanding of their role as a Professional Cricketer and the minimum standards expected of them, on and off the pitch and also to explain the comprehensive  support network on offer to help them.

Areas covered:

  • Introduction to the reality of being a Professional Cricketer

  • Emotional Intelligence - The importance of Perspective and self-awareness

  • Managing yourself as a Business – Negotiation, Financial Management, Role and need of an Agent

  • Media Management

  • Personal Responsibility/ Discipline The Law and spirit of cricket

  • Personal Development Plans – managing aspirations, winter plans

  • Role of PCA Player Services (Insurance, Education, Benevolent Fund, Confidential support)

  • Role Model/Ambassador – long timer

  • Addictive Behaviours – the signs and symptoms – ‘where to turn’.

Full presentations and video clips below:



rookie camp
2015 video


 2014 VIDEO


2012 VIDEO




Rookie intro

   Rookie Presentation









  Negotiator Presentation
  Player Services









Addictive Behaviours


An Introduction



Role Plays






PREVIOUS Player Quotes

“The day was very beneficial. There was a lot of information on offer to help us equip ourselves for being professional cricketers but also helped us understand more about the PCA.”  David Burton – Northants

“It was a good day, very relevant and showed there is a lot more to being a professional cricketer than I first thought.” Tom Craddock – Essex

“Very good and I took a lot of interesting things from the sessions. Helped me to think about the future.” Arron Lilley – Lancashire