Thursday, June 13, 2024

Is this the process which will help us pass, receive and move better?

In the first part of a special series on junior hockey coaching, TODD WILLIAMS asks why gameplay alone won’t develop players technically

Honesty, they say, is the best policy. However, as happily as the word is thrown about in sport, and specifically coaching, it’s still remarkable to see how easily people in hockey are prepared to avoid facts and not take hold of the nettles that need to be grasped. 

Take England Hockey’s new Talent Development strategy based around the rather Star Wars-styled title of “A New Way Forward”.

With promises to “transform the talent system” and talk of a “new future”, “ambitious goals” and “new heights”, it’s exciting stuff. Except, that it misses the one honest and critical starting point in that what currently exists doesn’t work, hasn’t worked and will never work.

Let me be clear. This is not about blame.

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In Todd’s special series, he next will be looking at how Covid might just have helped junior hockey 

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  1. Hallelujah.

    But it will make no difference.

    England Hockey is wedded to game / small unit play – which by the way I do like – with a bit of technical shaping but no coaching on that shaping – other than the children will work it out. It’s not good enough but I see no change.

    As the article says, we need a combination. For me that’s more of a technical skills learning & dev approach plus fun (not sure a rainy Tuesday night cuts it) should be the focus at early years and then more game play into 11/12 yrs onwards etc.

    And the best place right now to develop those skills ? Online / YouTube watching how other top nations / coaches / players do it as very few coaches have that focus here. Anyway, 1 hour a week isn’t going to cut it.

    Structurally we’re all over the place.

  2. Plus too many Clubs, too few pitches, and not enough focus on families / community (no clubhouses overlooking the pitch).

  3. At last – lancing the boil. The pendulum swung from hours of tedious basic skill drills and no game play to just learning by mistakes and gameplay. Coaching core technical skill and combining gameplay to develop that skill – simple.

  4. More technical skills, as mentioned. And How will this new system be different from what’s in place currently I wonder? One big marketing shindig from EH.

  5. Excellent article Todd. I have been left stunned by the lack of understanding for a long time. We have to improve much of what we do and the change from the system we had to the new system is merely dressing up the same donkey. Don’t get me wrong – I liked the pathway levels (there is a lot of good things in this structure) – but what we need to do is to change what we do, more than how we structure it. Coaching is at the heart of this, and I agree 100% with what has been said. My problem is that if you disagree you are not welcomed into the club – you are a “nay sayer” and must be silenced.
    We must have more balance to the coaching – sometimes you need to practice a technical skill, sometimes you need to apply skills, sometimes you need to investigate how to solve problems – many facets, not one answer.


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