England Hockey’s new talent development programme aims to make ‘seismic changes in the sport in the next six to eight years. EWAN HINCKS outlines the pros and cons of the pathway and whether ‘super clubs’ could hinder the domestic game
In its simplest form, the new talent development system aims to create a ‘phenomenal generation of players’, according to England Hockey. The process extends the role of clubs beyond increasing participation to elite talent development. Ideally, talented players have more contact hours at local clubs rather than far-flung county or regional centres, generating a better environment for cultivating ability.
The old talent ladder consisted of DC, AC, PC, Futures Cup, England Age Group, EDP, England Senior. Each stage (apart from DC) provided both an opportunity to play as part of a team against others of that level as well as a trial for the next stage of development. In the new system, the ‘participation stage’ will consist of the original county hockey as well as talent schools and talent centres (based around clubs), aimed at providing extra possibilities to improve and different pathways to the top.
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