Sunday, May 19, 2024

Why England Hockey’s talent strategy isn’t suitable model and developed up an ivory tower

Two decades ago, JON ROYCE was involved in systemic change at Surbiton Hockey Club. A small Sunday morning Colts section was relaunched mirroring a continental style model. Roger Hitch did the financial spade work, Karl Stagno was appointed as lead coach. SHC remains the leading club Junior programme, at present headed by Will Fulker: showing that inclusion and quality go hand in hand. 

In the first of an exclusive series of short essays focusing on the state of play at junior and club level in England, Royce charts where the sport is heading. 

A vastly experienced foreign correspondent and author, Tim Marshall’s The Power of Geography seeks to explain how geographical position and subsequent history both ancient and modern have a bearing on recent events, before laying out the dilemmas that face present governments. 

And so, with the inspiration of Marshall’s style, I am setting out to chart English hockey’s route over the past half century, explain the modern day reality for the sport, and present a view of where we are and where we could be heading, following the launch of England Hockey’s future talent strategy, A New Way Forward.

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  1. Agree with lots of this – Its a transition year for sure but this season our U14 boys have gone from lots of league games and friendlies last 2 season (even with Covid) to 8 if we are lucky and we’re losing players to other sports as a result. this is a great topic to address.

    • Plus also other sports are losing players of this age too as appears for some.reason they drop off. As guess varied reasons for this but yes trying to keep them is a key factor to be addressed by Club and EH too.

      Covid as you say has had an affect so time will tell on how it has hindered the player numbers for all ages within the Club’s.

  2. I have a 14u girl who is playing at school and club. She loves both her teams and only just has time to fit in these and bi-monthly performance centre and/or county. I wonder whether weekly regional would just be too much. She can’t give up school, and she loves playing for her club… Rather than create an extra layer of regular play, shouldn’t the focus be on club hockey (like it is at adult level) and sorting out the junior league system?. Junior leagues seem to have little/no consistency across age group or skill level.

  3. With regards to regular match play for young players, our Year 7s & 8s play Badgers most weeks and our Year 9s are nearly all playing in senior sides. It may be different in different regions, but with training – senior & junior, Saturday games, Sunday EH games & friendlies our junior players are never off the pitch

    • Yes a good Badger set up is good and also you may have Clubs that can utilise players that play Badger level plus also can play Senior level too.

      Problem is how to utilise them and also Seniors too without upsetting them. Plus other clubs playing Badgers that may not be as talented and younger folk being on heavy defeats.

      Common sense needed by the Club’s on this plus Umpires too monitoring how the Badgers game in Sportsmanship goes.

      Common sense is the key factor in development of the player at Badger and Senior level.


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