Future Stars Programme
England Hockey are changing the talent development system that can lead to national and international hockey. Previously known as the Player Pathway and delivered through Development Centres (DC), Academy Centres (AC) and Performance Centres (PC), the system will be more player-centred.
Clubs will be an important part of the new Talent Development system going forward. GHC Director of Hockey Dan Fox and Future Stars Programme Lead Beckie Middleton spoke to parents recently about the changes and what it means for GHC and our new Future Stars programme.
To see a recording of the presentation Dan and Beckie gave to parents on 9 May 2021, click here.
- What is Future Stars?
- Who is Future Stars for and when will sessions take place?
- What about talent development for younger players?
- What will a Future Stars session look like?
- If I cannot make the time and day scheduled for my age group, can I still take part?
- Who will be coaching the Future Stars?
- How does Future Stars fit in with schoolwork and exams?
- What is happening to County Hockey?
- What is happening to Performance Centres?
- How do I decide whether or not to take part in County or Performance Centre hockey?
- Why is the system changing?
- How will nomination for National Age Group Squads work in 2020/21?
- Will players from other clubs be involved in Future Stars?
- What happens to the usual Friday and Sunday junior programme?
- What are other clubs planning to do?
- How does Future Stars impact on adult hockey?
- Will the Future Stars Programme include matches?
- How does selection work?
- How much does it cost?
- Can I spread the word?
- Will there be Future Stars Kit?
- What next? Register here
1. What is Future Stars?
Future Stars is a new programme hosted by Guildford Hockey Club that will provide talented hockey players with an additional opportunity to play and train.
The programme is part of a wider drive by England Hocky to deliver a talent system through clubs rather than county and regional hockey associations.
The aim is to create a simpler environment that has fewer conflicting demands on players’ time. This will ‘put the player at the heart of everything’ and give more players an opportunity to fulfil their potential.
The programme is in addition to existing junior and adult club hockey.
2. Who is Future Stars for and when will sessions take place?
The Future Stars programme is for U18s (Years 11, 12 & 13) and U15s (Years 9 & 10). These age groups have been chosen because U15 players will be eligible for nomination to U16 National Age Group hockey. The U18 age group will include players in year 11 and 12 that are eligible for U18 National Age Group nomination plus year 13 players who are preparing for senior hockey either at GHC or at university.
For players in School years 4 – 8 we have designed Future Stars Foundation Hockey. This is non- selective training for younger players who enjoy playing hockey and may be aspiring to take part in the full Future Stars Programme when they enter Year 9.
Year 9-13: Capacity for 10-15 players per gender per school year group. 30 weeks of hockey spread across 10 months (August – June) plus 6 full training days during the year, as well as sessions on nutrition, physiotherapy, psychology, performance analysis, and strength and conditioning.
In season, girls Future Stars training will primarily take place on Monday evenings and boys Future Stars training will primarily be on Thursday evenings. This will dovetail with adult training for those players who play in adult teams.
From April – June all U15 players will train at the same time (boys and girls). Likewise, all U18 players will train together at this time of year. Day sessions will also involve mixed training time.
3. What about talent development for younger players?
Alongside the Future Stars programme for U18s & U15s, and in addition to regular junior hockey on Fridays and Sundays, we will also run ‘pay and play’ Future Stars Foundation Hockey. This is game- based training open to all players who will be grouped by experience within sessions to provide an appropriate level of stretch and challenge.
Year 4-6: Weekly Tuesday evening sessions throughout the year from 6:15 – 7:30pm. Bookable on Teamo. £7 per session.
Year 7-8: Weekly Thursday evening sessions throughout the year from 6:30 – 7:45pm. Bookable on Teamo. £7 per session.
4. What will a Future Stars session look like?
These sessions aim to stretch and challenge young players. The content will reflect what hockey looks like at the highest level and will be delivered by coaches who are working with Great Britain and England teams as well as experienced coaches from Performance Centre, Guildford 1st teams and our junior age group squads.
As well as learning through gameplay there will be time to develop skills, practise thinking tactically, and develop a detailed understanding of a player’s own super strengths and areas to work on.
5. If I cannot make the day and time scheduled for my age group, can I still take part?
Yes. The basis for Future Stars is making training work for individuals. We think that 30 hours and six full day sessions is the right amount of time to develop outstanding players without overloading them or precluding time for other sports, academics and enjoying a social life. For a given player this might mean flexibility week by week and/or attending more sessions in the Spring than the Autumn for instance.
Similarly for school years 4-8 there is enough flexibility that older or younger players could attend the evening that is predominantly, but not exclusively, aimed at a different age range. We have enough coaches and small enough group sizes to make this work.
6. Who will be coaching the Future Stars?
We have put together an outstanding coaching team that we are extremely excited about.
Future Stars Lead: Beckie Middleton is GHC Men’s 1st team coach. As an England and Great Britain International with 104 caps Beckie’s experience in international hockey and club hockey, where she played in the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand at the highest level is complimented by her time as a coach with Surbiton Women’s 1st XI, the Great Britain Elite Development Programme and Performance Centre, and vast experience in school and junior club hockey.
Lead Coach: Dan Fox, GHC Men’s 1st team coach. Dan is a Double Olympian and has 164 England and Great Britain caps. He has extensive experience coaching in the Men’s and Women’s Great Britain Elite Development squads. He has also spent time as Great Britain Senior Men Assistant Coach and worked extensively in junior hockey, including time as a Performance Centre Head Coach.
Lead Coach: Helen Jelley is a GHC Women’s 1st XI player and former Premier League Hockey player in Leicester. Helen is now Head Coach of the Weybridge Performance Centre.
Lead Coach: Lucy Wood is an England And Great Britain International and Commonwealth Games silver medallist. Lucy brings a wealth of experience to Future Stars after a hugely successful first year coaching junior hockey at GHC.
Lead Coach: Ryan Colman is a GHC Men’s 1st XI player and a full-time hockey coach with a background learning and coaching in South African school sport.
Lead Coach - Goalkeepers: Aurora Mears plays Premier League Hockey and is an experienced coach of young players across the South East. Aurora is an exciting young coach who will be working across the Future Stars Programme and within our junior section.
Coach: Barry Middleton is a current Great Britain Men’s Elite Development Programme coach. Great Britain’s most capped international ever and four-time Olympian, Barry will bring a huge breadth of knowledge and experience to Future Stars.
Coach: Shay O’Connell is GHC Women’s 1st XI coach and has developed a superb group of young players and adults in his time at the club, which includes leading the Women’s indoor squad into National League Division 1. Shay provides a brilliant link between Future Stars and adult hockey at GHC.
Coach: Jamie O’Connell has been the lead coach for Berkshire’s County Hockey programme before stepping down to focus on Future Stars. Jamie will be working across both squads and brings both excellent coaching and regular use of performance analysis to sessions.
7. How does Future Stars fit in with schoolwork and exams?
The player is at the heart of this programme. This means that the 30 training sessions will be organised to reflect times when particular age groups have significant academic pressure. For instance, early January is likely to be a light training period for U18 groups as schools begin mock exams for Year 11 and 13 pupils. Equally, an individual player may choose not to attend some sessions. We envisage that catching up sessions later in the season, particularly when other junior and adult hockey finishes may work for some young players. A full calendar will be published in July.
8. What is happening to County Hockey?
County Hockey (also known as Development Centre and Academy Centre Hockey) will change. It will no longer be the first step on a ‘Pathway’ to Performance Centre and National Age Group hockey.
In 2021-22 County Hockey (Surrey or Hampshire in most cases for GHC players) will continue to run and provide ongoing opportunities for participation. GHC will nominate players for Development Centre hockey in the summer and this leads to opportunities for Academy Centre Hockey in the Autumn and Spring (4 training days and 4 match days). It is up to individual players if they would like to continue with county hockey alongside or instead of the Future Stars programme.
In 2021-22 Surrey Hockey will split into Surrey and Greater London areas. In the future the role of County Hockey Associations is uncertain as clubs are being asked to take on the role of talent development.
The cost of County Hockey is £120* for DC camps in the summer and a further £135* for 12 hours of training and 4 match days in the Spring and early Summer of 2022.
*Based on best information for Surrey Hockey, May 2021
9. What is happening to Performance Centres?
There will be one more year of Performance Centre hockey. The total contact time will be reduced in 2021-22 and there will be no Futures Cup tournament at the end of this Performance Centre cycle.
There is no requirement to attend Performance Centre from England Hockey. The advice is ‘whatever is best for the individual.’
10. How do I decide whether or not to take part in County or Performance centre Hockey?
This will be different for everyone. The best thing to do is speak to Dan or Beckie to discuss the advantages and disadvantages. The considerations will be:
- quality of coaching
- opportunities to play with people from other clubs
- challenge of selection
- travel times and logistics
- contact time
11. Why is the system changing?
The current system of talent development is described as narrow. This means that there are relatively few ways to enter it; often single trial days set against dozens of other players.
The system is also complex. This means that the Pathway Is managed by lots of different organisations, which makes organising what is best for each individual difficult; conflicting demands are common.
The system is inconsistent. This means that the quality of delivery is not the same everywhere and could be better. Concentrating resources at clubs should improve the quality of coaching and allow more focus on individual player development.
12. How will nomination for National Age Group Squads work in 2021-22?
National Age Group Squads (Wales, Scotland, or England U16, U18, U21) is either from Performance Centre or through a direct nomination from Guildford Hockey Club or a player’s school. This was the process as in 2020-21 where GHC nominated 14 players (of which 6 have been selected to play junior international hockey in 2021).
13. Will players from other clubs be involved in Future Stars?
The programme is open to players from other clubs. However, priority will be given to current GHC members. In 2022 Performance Centres will cease to exist, at that point clubs with talent development programmes (such as Future Stars) are likely to attract players from those Centres - albeit not necessarily as members of the wider junior and adult sections as well.
14. What happens to the usual Friday and Sunday junior programme?
The regular junior programme is going from strength to strength, and this remains the place for GHC junior players to access matches and competitions. Future Stars is an addition to our regular junior hockey offering.
15. What are other clubs planning to do?
The wider picture is a move to a simpler and better system of talent development in English Hockey. Clubs have been invited to develop new programmes to make this happen. We are first. Read the full details of what England Hockey have planned here (it is a long read). Future Talent Strategy | England Hockey
16. How does Future Stars impact on adult hockey?
The additional training sessions should not have a significant impact on adult hockey and the players involved. It should make balancing load over the course of a week simpler and more successful because the number of coaches and organisations involved in planning what a week looks like is reduced.
17. Will the Future Stars Programme include matches?
In due course England Hockey would like clubs’ ‘Talent Centres’ and ‘Talent Academies’ (their language for what we are developing) to play fixtures alongside junior hockey. In 2021-22 junior hockey fixtures will still be played through our regular junior sides. However, there is likely to be match play within the Future Stars training programme and this might look like outdoor or indoor fixtures against top local schools or clubs.
18. How does selection work?
The first question for a player thinking about being involved in Future Stars to ask is, ‘Is this right for me?’ and the best way to answer that is to come along to an open session in August. There are three dates available, and players are invited to attend up to two of these sessions.
There is a significant time commitment involved in the Future Stars programme and players will be stretched and challenged in a supportive, competitive environment, which may be more suitable for some young people than others.
At the end of August, we will create squads with a maximum size of 15 players per gender per year group. We have chosen this size because we think that is approximately the number of players at Guildford Hockey Club that are suitable for Future Stars.
Among the various benefits of running this programme through the club is that we know the players very well, so selection is not dependent on playing well at a trial day. Also, players may move in and out of the programme when appropriate. Payment will be monthly to make this process more straightforward.
19. How much does the programme cost?
We aim to align the cost with Performance Centre charges, which are £360/year. We are planning to charge this in ten or twelve monthly payments.
Based on contact time alone, we think this represents excellent value; for the same total cost, Performance Centres provide around 52 hours of coaching across the year, whereas Future Stars will be around 80 hours of contact time.
20. Can I spread the word?
Yes. Now that we have introduced the programme to the club, we want to share this summary with as many people at Guildford Hockey Club as possible. The earlier players and parents begin to think about Future Stars the better. Please start the conversation with other players and parents at the club.
The programme is something that the club is proud of developing. In due course we hope to work closely with schools and other clubs in South West Surrey and Hampshire to create fantastic opportunities for young people of all background.
21. Will there be Future Stars Kit?
Yes. We will have branded Future Stars kit. It will look and feel like Guildford Hockey Club kit. It will not be compulsory because we are conscious that limiting costs to players and parents. At the same time, we recognise that having an identity around performance hockey programmes is important.
22. What next?
To register your interest in Future Stars and/or Future Stars Foundation Hockey please fill out one form for each player: Register here
The form will ask you to select up to two open days in August. Should you not be able to attend any of the three days then please still register your interest. The dates are Thursday 19th August, Sunday 22nd August and Friday 27th August 2021.
In July we will ask you to confirm the dates (bearing in mind the content of travel and holiday uncertainty in 2021).
Please contact Dan on with any further questions.