The first training session was held last Sunday at King William’s College (the home for all 6 of the sessions being run by England Hockey coaches).

After a thorough warm-up and a short briefing, the players moved into small sided games which were regularly stopped to make coaching points, allow for inter-player discussions, and to change the game restrictions/conditions. The coaches regularly spoke to individuals while they were not involved in the play to help with their understanding. Emphasis was on looking to go forward as first option, no un-contested pass receipts or circle entries and communication between all of the team members. Coaches also encouraged the players to mark closely at all times and be more physical, but not to engage in dangerous play.

Intensity reduced late morning when they all were given chance to work on penalty corners; injections, stick-stopping and shots on goal (drag flicks or hits from top of the D). Everyone had chance to try all roles in the un-pressured situation and their skills definitely improved as this section of the day proceeded. Goalkeepers were worked hard during this time due to facing shots without defenders.

Players and coaches then moved indoors for a classroom session on self-evaluation of strengths and skills followed by lunch break.

On return to the pitch the players warmed-up again then went into further small sided games on bigger playing area with a good number of parents and siblings watching. The afternoon session ended with a fun penalty “shuffles” competition.

Hopefully we will be blessed with similarly good weather for the next training session on 6th November. Times for this session will be 11am to 3.45pm with lunch break expected to be from 1pm to 2pm.

Currently the parents of the 16 players attending the local talent academy are financing the full cost of the flights for the England Hockey coaches and the facility hire at KWC. It would be greatly appreciated if any local businesses are able to offer financial support to reduce these costs.

Good luck to the seven players who will be travelling to the full day training at West Lancs. Talent Academy on Sunday 23rd October.