Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hockey and football: Learning from different sports in the Netherlands

PLUS: Should we reconsider how school hockey is organised in Ireland and UK? 

Most things in the Netherlands are close by. Any journey over 45 minutes is a ‘pain in the ass’ according to my team-mates. I guess they would never survive a journey from Cork to Belfast! Below, you can see just how close SV Kampong and FC Utrecht are. Separated by the Laan van Maarschalkerweerd, a short distance of 400m, yet at times it feels like these two clubs are worlds apart.

Of course, there are those who will say you can’t compare hockey and football due to the differences in finances and I agree. Hockey clubs by nature are not-for-profit organisations who rely heavily on sponsorships and the vital goodwill and support of volunteers.  

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  1. Interesting. I played at Bloemendaal for a couple of seasons back in the day (mid 70s …, in the 3rd XI) and soon found that training was much more rigorous than in the UK, even for lower teams.

    The standard reaction in the UK – to poor international results, lack of facilities, etc – is to blame the government and want to turn the clock back to the days when hockey was played in state schools. Most people seem to assume that’s the way it’s done everywhere, not being aware that in the most successful hockey nations (Netherlands, Germany, etc) sports are essentially club-based (especially minority sports such as hockey) with little or no time being given in schools to team sports.

    UK clubs have done a lot over the past 20 years or so to develop kids’ coaching, mostly run by volunteer parents, but apparently struggle to keep them interested in their teens when other interests intrude. No doubt they could learn a few things from the Dutch system.


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