Saturday, December 9, 2023

Anna Toman: I learnt pressure and resilience at an early age – a key coaching requirement

PLUS: Why state schools need more opportunities in hockey

I was six when I started at Belper Hockey Club. I have Irish parents and my Mum was a hockey player too, coaching me at my primary school where she was a volunteer. But it was at Belper where the sport took off for me. 

I played all my junior hockey there and I also owe a lot of my career to the club coach Tim Barlow. He took loads of different camps and the amount of detail that was instilled in us at a very young age was incredible. He almost fed us into the senior teams. And that was a vital process for me as I was playing against adults from the age of 14 at weekends. A lot of girls who go to private schools simply don’t get that.

It meant that I wasn’t just a big fish in a small pond at our school.

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  1. Anna, Great to hear other people making the simple point that we are missing out on talent that exists at State Schools. Our local state school made it to the last 8 of the national tier 1 competition this year. The link between the state school and the local clubs has been pivotal – but so is support from the EH. They are just interested in their imposed structure and making it easy for themselves. Having asked about it time and again it is truly frustrating.

  2. A really good and honest article Anna, highlighting the importance of state schools in hockey development. It was particularly pleasing to see you recognise the support and guidance you and others received from Tim Barlow at Belper Hockey Club.


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