Hockey development program cultivates growth spurt for juniors

WARRNAMBOOL’s future hockey stars are being encouraged to aim for the sport’s highest levels under a new development program. 

The Warrnambool District Hockey Association has developed an academy-style program  for juniors to work in tiered groups over eight weeks. 

Association president Tomas Tait said the academy had under 13, 14 and 15 boys’ and under 14 girls’ groups split across four levels, depending on abilities and experience. 

“They will have six intense sessions over eight weeks,” Tait said. 

“Each group will have coaches who will work with the kids to help develop their skills and improve their hockey.

“As they get better, there is room to move from one group up to the next. But they can also drop a group if they don’t commit to training sessions.” 

Tait said each club in the Warrnambool association had its training sessions, but the academy was designed for juniors who wanted to improve their game and possibly move to higher levels. 

“We have a number of people in the association who are playing Victorian Premier League Hockey and are playing on state and national teams,” he said. 

“The kids are seeing them go onto to high levels of the game, so this is a way we can help them reach those levels if that’s what they want to do.

“We can show them through this program: this is what you need to do if you want to reach this level.”

Tait said Hockey Victoria director of junior hockey coaching Ken Parkin would be at Warrnambool tomorrow night to run the first academy sessions. 

“He has a huge amount of coaching experience. He will run two session, one on Friday night and a second on Saturday morning,” Tait said. 

Tait said the association was also running a Hookin2Hockey junior development program. 

“It’s along the same lines as your Auskick and Netta Netball programs,” he said. 

“It’s a way to introduce young kids to the game, teaching them the basic skills and rules in a safe on-field environment. That will run on Wednesday nights between 4pm and 5pm.” 

The Warrnambool District Hockey Association season starts this weekend, with under 17, open men’s and women’s grades. The under 15 and 17 competitions begin in term two. 

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