After three brilliant weeks back on the hockey pitches including 300 bookings, GHC Director of Hockey, Dan Fox, takes a look at what's been happening at GHC since the end of March...
It will be no surprise that we, like the rest of the world, have discovered Zoom!
- First, we started At Home Hockey Socials for U10 and U12 age groups, running five weekly sessions involving 120 GHC players and 37 pet dogs.
- At half term we ran fifteen Zoom sessions over five days including a Q&A with South African international Ryan Julius.
- And finally, we are still running At Home Conditioning with Ciaran OConnell with 46 families signed up to the twice weekly workouts.
For 14-17-year olds that are aspiring to play 1st XI hockey we have launched a mentoring programme that provides a current 1st team mentor for each player to work with over twelve months:
- Forty players across three-year groups have started regular meetings with their mentors.
- Next season a group of 28 twelve- and thirteen-year olds will be invited to take part in a season-long Performance Programme featuring regular sessions on and off the pitch to develop their all round game.
Great Hockey for everyone is a huge part of Guildford Hockey Club’s approach to team sport and the 2020-21 season will see the return of our hugely successful Midweek Junior Academy on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This is specialist hockey open to all players aged 9-13 that complements their weekly Friday night age group training.
Outstanding junior coaching relies on the enthusiasm of the coaching team. 36 Young Leaders graduated from the 2019-2020 programme and eight of them will stay on next year to coach on Friday evenings, to train up the class of 2020-2021 and to begin gaining professional qualifications in association with England Hockey.
Overall, we have 140 Volunteers that help to deliver hockey:
- Recruiting these, coaching and matching them to our junior and adult teams is a big job over the summer.
- If you have not been in touch yet and would like to join in, then please drop me a line.
- As well as being part of a great team, there will be regular coach and umpire education to give you the confidence and expertise to deliver fantastic hockey on the pitch.
Whilst we have not been able to run our summer school/teacher coach education programme or deliver The Surrey Youth Games Hockey Programme on behalf of Waverley and Guildford, we are still optimistic that our school links will grow next year:
- Having secured funding to coach school hockey in eight local primary schools form The Surrey Hockey Association, we are now looking for schools that would like to take up this offer.
- Partnering with local schools has proved a successful way to grow the sport across South West Surrey.
- Broadwater, Glebelands and Guildford County played their first ever inter school matches last year and received regular coaching from GHC coaches.
At senior level, the Women’s 1st team look set to play their National Cup semi final on the weekend of the 5th and 6th September. The squad are training well each Wednesday evening with new recruits joining last year’s successful squad intact. I am delighted that Shay OConnell continues as Head Coach and Andrew Fergusson stay on as 1st team Manager. With JJ Blackstock starting as captain the season contains bags full of promise. Kirsty Rostron and Dave Jennings continue to coach the 2nd and 3rd XI sides after promotion in April. The 4th 5th and 6th XIs also start again in August in preparation for seasons after gaining their own promotions.
The Men’s section welcomes another new side for 2020 taking the total to nine. Back2Hockey, which started last season under the unstoppable Mike Fitter continues and the pathway into adult hockey for U14 players is better than ever. More than forty 1st and 2nd XI players have been training on Tuesday evenings and both sides are looking forward to playing matches from the end of August.
Both sections will begin adult team training in late July and August, so watch this space for more information. On top of team training, Thursday evenings will become the time for individual and small group coaching exclusively for adult players who would like to practise their technical skills.
As the club grows, we can offer more, better hockey to our current members and the wider community. In 2020 we are launching Guildford Flyerz Hockey. Flyerz is the UK brand for disability hockey, open to all. Nicky Dowds and Mercedes Bushnell are taking a lead on this project and we cannot wait to get started.
Separately, a new programme for Girls aged 13-19 who are starting hockey for the first time will run alongside our usual Friday coaching, this will build on our successful schools programme and aim to keep young women involved in sport, coached by our best female coaches.
There is lots to do before the season starts, it is a fascinating time to be involved at such a great and growing club. If you would like to be involved in any way, then please do get in touch.