Seven young hockey players; Dominic Hubble, Luca Parlato, Joseph Savage, Archie Cox, Martha Broderick, Lucie Sutterby and Ela Blakemore attended assessment sessions in October half-term and were delighted to be offered places at England Hockey Junior Regional Performance Centre Fylde.

These players follow a number of young local players who have attended England Hockey Performance Centres over the last 10 or 12 years. Several of these players were selected to play for North Junior squad, “Pennine Pumas”.  The most recent of these being Sienna Dunn who has recently been selected for England under 18 squad.

Training is split between Monday evenings and nearly full days on Sundays.  Of course, the Monday sessions present a problem for our players but their coaches at Fylde understand the limitations of attending.  A few of the players have managed to attend one or more Monday evenings when their schooling allowed but all seven have now attended the two Sunday sessions held at the start and end of January. These Sunday sessions involve around 4 hours pitch time and 1 hour indoors working on understanding of playing formations, mental skills, game understanding etc.  Players are also required to self-assess their play, physical capabilities and qualities they bring to a team.  The coaching team also assess the players and provide feedback on what they see as strengths and weaknesses to be worked on going forward.

The players were initially a little nervous before attending their first training session but their coaches have been very supportive.  New friendships have been made and our players are enjoying the challenge of working in a group of talented players.

Some quotes from our players:

  • The coaching and facilities are great
  • I am learning a lot about how to improve my hockey
  • I am very grateful to have been given this fantastic opportunity
  • I am looking forward to putting the new skills and understanding into my play

We (MHA) are very grateful for the parental commitment which enables our talented youngsters to be part of the programme – planning travel, accommodation and of course financially.  With the help of Isle of Man Sport the MHA is able to provide some assistance but considering that these players are all also involved in our very successful IoM Junior squads the financial commitment is considerable along with time organising and travelling to accompany the players to JRPC sessions.