Stourport HC want to widen its appeal to more children from state schools after being offered a licence to operate as a Talent Academy, to work with 15-18-year-olds as they progress to future stars of Team GB.
Stourport will run the first West Midlands Talent Academy on behalf of England Hockey, to host one of 17 initial Talent Academies in England which will commence in September and run for three years.
The club will host training sessions where 26 athletes per gender will be carefully selected to identify potential and then to develop players to progress to National Age Group Squads.
Pauline Knott, Stourport vice chair, said: “We will be working in close collaboration with clubs and other organisations in the region to ensure that athletes are in the right environment, according to England Hockey’s Right Athlete, Right Environment (RARE) principle. Our aim is to grow the athletes’ sporting abilities with quality coaching time, offer opportunities to be challenged, plus improve player management and individual development plans.”
England Hockey see the new talent pathway as the way forward to nurture and develop potential in hockey players. The purpose of creating this Talent System is to offer a greater breadth and depth in the national talent pool, to deliver excellent hockey to a more diverse group of youngsters with focused coaching within a greater accessible regional reach for 15- 18 year olds, who demonstrate high potential in hockey.
Knott added: “We are very proud to be selected which is a testament to the fantastic coaching and set-up that we have within the club. Brilliant for the local community, Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands too where we want to widen our appeal to more children from state schools.”
Stourport is also actively working towards England Hockey approval to recognise it as a Talent Centre that provides high quality provision for 12-15 year old players at early talent development level.