The GHC Board are thrilled with the progress the club has made since the summer - it's been a very busy and productive few months. We are ever grateful to all of our volunteers, players, parents, supporters, coaches and to our Director of Hockey, Dan Fox, who has made an excellent start to the role.
Dan has shared some thoughts and progress on the season thus far...do have a look below.
And our 2019/20 Club brochure is out now - download the digital version (click on the cover image at the bottom of this article) or pick up a copy in the GHC Clubhouse. And look out for and share content links on social media.
A few highlights from the first half of the season include:
- GHC Ladies teams are all in the top half of their league tables including the 3rd XI who are undefeated, the 4th XI who have won all of their matches(!) and the 5th XI who have lost only one match...to the GHC 4th XI! Our Ladies' 1s indoor team won the South Indoor Finals, qualifying for National play-offs in early January.
- GHC Men's teams are mostly top half of their league tables as well with teams in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and two teams looking to build on their 7th place positions. Our Mixed team won their EH Cup match to progress in this knockout competition.
- Junior teams have enjoyed dozens of League, friendly and EH cup matches. Notable mid-season celebrations came with medals in Barcelona (Under 12 Girls) and the Teddington Xmas Invitational (Under 12 Girls, Under 10 Boys, Under 10 Girls). The Under 16 Girls A team are undefeated in their legue and the Under 14 Boys A team are undefeated in both League and Cup. The Under 18 Boys have progressed in the EH Cup knockout competition and most teams competing in EH Cup pool competitions are in good positions to progress to Regional play-offs. We also had an entertaining and informative guest speaker come talk to nearly 75 parents about children and sport at the start of the season.
- We've had some super socialising as well, with a Pitch Grand Opening, an evening of wine-tasting, and a clubhouse brimming with 100+ recent Junior leavers and Vets playing in back-to-back friendlies - probably the most packed the clubouse has ever been after some totally entertaining games - in addition to weekly hospitality after matches.
- The Club won three Active Surrey Awards 2019: Club of the Year, Team of the Year, Youth Team of the Year.
There are so many more daily and weekly successes and so many more activities than there is time to highlight here! Please do engage with our weekly newsletter, InTouch that comes by email (also on the GHC Home Page) and with our increasing actvity on social media - Twitter, facebook, Instagram - to see just how much is happening each week.
A few words from Dan Fox, who took the reins of GHC Director of Hockey as of 1st August...
"In working with the GHC board we devised a series of key goals for me to focus on to have maximum benefit for all the member of the club.
Several of the things i have been working on include (in no particular order)...
Supporting and improving coaching across the club
It was clear we needed some new faces to help support the growing and talented membership and I am pleased to say I have recruited 7 new senior coaches:
- James Bennett who graduated from Manchester University last year
- Ryan Colman and Kerryn Swanepoel who have arrived from Durban
- Josh Moore who coached extensively in Bristol before moving to the area with his partner Ali who also plays for the club
- Jayme Crouch has made a welcome return after a successful season in 2018-2019
- Neil Francis and Kirsty Rostron have joined the club as 2nd XI coaches
In addition to this we have seventeen professional other coaches who deliver roughly 100 hundred hours of coaching on behalf of GHC each week across the junior and senior section.
In addition to getting these great new assets, part of my job is to make sure all club coaches receive ongoing training and support to deliver great hockey for the GHC membership. This includes coach education sessions, co-coaching evening sessions, peer-observation, video feedback, sending out and discussing session plans, phone calls, face to face meetings and spending time collecting feedback from players.
Where we need specialist support, ie Goalkeepers, we work with Fortitude Hockey who deliver goalkeeper sessions and help keep us at the forefront of GK coaching and techniques. Club members Dave Gunn and Marcus Bentley also do a lot of the legwork here.
During the week as well as training with the Men’s 1XI, I am coaching adults most nights of the week.
Promoting Hockey as sport for all and getting GHC into the community
A big development this season has been the extension of the Club’s Schools Outreach Programme. We have been working in ten primary and secondary schools in the area trying to encourage Hockey in both the state and private schools. A recent highlight is the first ever match between Broadwater and Glebelands schools, umpired and coached by GHC coaches.
The programme introduces hockey to new players and supports club members in local schools. Over 150 NEW players are getting great coaching in local schools and the model is financially self-sustaining but helping to raise the GHC name in the community. If you know of any more schools you think we could work with, please get in touch with me.
In addition to this and new this year my team will be coaching and supporting the Surrey Youth Games teams from both Waverley and Guildford Boroughs in the Surrey Youth Games in June 2020.
Junior Hockey is thriving with over 670 players at the club. Like for the adults, I have created an overall plan for the season to tie together the hockey run by each age group. Each week Lead Coaches receive a set of session ideas to adapt as they see fit. I organise the umpiring and coaching allocations to ensure that each team has the resources that they need to coach and umpire junior matches on Sundays.
On Friday evenings and Sundays, I coach junior hockey sessions on rotation across the ten age groups. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings I lead junior academy session at the club for U10-U14 players. You will often find me at the club on a Sunday, whistle in hand.
To help with ever growing number of juniors I have set up and run a Young Leaders Programme that began in August. Today we have 40 Young players aged 14-16 taking part. Training and reflection sessions have helped create a group of fantastic coaches who support the delivery of junior and senior hockey across the club. Training focuses on how and what to coach, umpiring, working with young people and coaching as part of a team. The players that are taking part are absolute superstars.
I also run and co-ordinate the Holiday Camps run each school holiday; we had over 140 people attend over three days in the October half term. Twelve coaches worked on the courses and we had international superstars coaching and inspiring our young players. The next camp is on the 2nd and 3rd January, please look at the website for details they are great sessions. The camps also help generate revenue for the club and help attract new players and parents to the club.
Bits and Pieces
New this year is our Alumni game where we have invited players from who have left the club since 2015 back to the club on 21st December. We had three dozen uni and gap year leavers join in the fun! On the 14th December we held our first Family Hockey event for children and adults to come and play together - many thanks to Mike Fitter for his experience and support on this. I am really trying to share my love of Hockey with as many people as possible!
Having seen the need for more Umpires, I approached EH and the club hosted a Level One Umpiring course in November; 15 club members attended who are now practising thier umpiring and will be assessed and ready to umpire matches in the Spring. Seven of the new umpires are aged under 16. I have also run more specialised umpire education programmes for players who want more experience.
Indoor hockey for junior teams runs either side of Christmas, with teams at the South Finals in mid-December and more sides than ever competing in the IndoorHockeyUK tournament at the end of December.
For junior players there are plans to develop individual training plans to support players’ pathways into adult hockey and representative sides. We are planning to offer a weekly strength and conditioning programme for junior and senior members, plus one-on-one coaching on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
The successful Summer Programme (run over the past two seasons) is going to continue, with more coaching available for more players, as well as adult midweek mixed hockey and Back2Hockey for a wider Guildford and Surrey audience. Recruiting players at all levels is important and a priority for the senior sections and you may have seen me and my team at the local train stations in September advertising to new members – we will be doing this again!
Our income from sponsors, grants and donations is very important to the ongoing success of the club and to keeping the cost of subscriptions low. I work with James Relph and Cathy Sanderson who do a superb job chasing contacts and producing our annual club brochure. Personal links with businesses and organisations are often the best way to establish these tie-ins, so please do get in touch if you think that you could help. We have increased revenue in this area again this season and are grateful for the support that Sport Godalming are offering our Schools programme.
Finally, a huge thank you to the 100+ volunteers that help to organise, coach, umpire, support, feed and drive the club forward. My job would not be possible without so much support from the Board, the players and these volunteers working together.
Guildford is an amazing place to play hockey and I believe that it will continue to get better and better.
Final word from the Board...another thanks to the stakeholders who engaged with our 3-5 year planning sessions from last January and to the membership who supported and voted unanimously the way forward - including the DoH role - and budget in May's AGM.
The Board think we've had a super first half of season - we hope you think so, too. And we are looking forward to even more fun and success in 2020!
Many thanks for your support all through the year - please do get in touch with your thoughts...
GHC Board (Maggs, Mark, Melinda, Mike, Jo, James, Tony, Dave and Gavin)
List of GHC Roles and Contacts