The conference was held on the 11/12th April in the Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff. There were various presentation over the two days looking at all different aspects of our Sport and how we could help.
1. Welsh Hockey Union – Debbie Austin (WHU development officer)
Did you know Wales has….
We learnt about the target areas for Debbie’s work in the next couple of years. She told us about how the local development officers are being put in place in the 6 target unitary authorities and the responsibility they will have. Most important we targeted how coaches of the primary schools in the dragon sport league and assisting coaches in the u13 centre of development can involve us. The idea of having our own teams in primary school was very appealing as the boys were already talking about competing against each other and who would be the best coach – they needed a little reminder that mini hockey is non-competitive!!!!!
1,106 Senior men
1,409 Senior women
90 Astro turfs
2. Sports Council of Wales – Ian Blackburn (Governing Body Liaison Officer)
Firstly he stressed that the Sports Council is not all about money and it offers many other facilities including advice and support. Ian talked about the amount of money the Sports Council receives and where its priorities lie. We looked in detail at community chest funding, a small grants programme to help development of sport at a local level. We became the Panel receiving 5 real applications and had to judge the amount of money we would give them. We then received the amount the actual panel gave them. This exercise gave a real insight into the process and would be valuable if we ever had to write an application.
3. Dragon Sport – Margaret Medlow and Chris Marriot
Surprisingly it was a sunny day in Wales (which does happen often April) and we had a chance to get out in the sun. Before we could get into the sun we had a quiz, giving an overview of what Dragon Sport is…..
- targeted at 7-11 year olds
- set up in 2000
- simpler rules, smaller equipment and playing areas
- to promote sporting activities in primary schools
- Offers 7 sporting activities
- Set up by Sports council of Wales
We went outside to play hockey but on the concrete as this is what you would be coaching on in a primary school. We took it in turns to follow a dragon sport card from the hockey pack and we all had a chance to COACH. The most important thing was dragon sport is SAFE, FUN and INCLUSIVE (find out more www.dragon-sport.co.uk)
4. Developing Junior Clubs – Tim Savage
- Why do we need a Junior Club?
- What makes a Club?
- What do players expect?
- What must the Club provide?
These were the question which we answered together with Tim. The key word for this session would be SUSTAINABLITY – this is what every club should be. The amount of information I received was great and between us we have covered a lot of work. There is so much more to a club than playing hockey, planning is the key to success.
This was the final presentation of the day. We had a bit of homework, and of course we were all off the bed early – don’t all 17 year olds!!!!!
5. Umpiring – Jane Nocklands (England Umpiring Development Officer)
Umpires aren’t boring and are part of hockey. They enjoy their job as much as we love playing. We can umpire and it can help us make a rounded player. These are the types of things we began to learn. Umpires are there to let players enjoy the game, we are umpiring u11 so let the game flow don’t blow up everything. We looked at the worse umpiring scenarios setting each group tasks, how would you hand player protests and manic managers. Positioning is important you don’t just run forward or back, but you run in what ever direction you can to allow you to stay ahead of the ball. Talk with your whistle using volume and length however explain to children with arms and voice what is happening. Jane definitely changed our opinions of umpires and the importance of us getting involved with mini players.
6. South Wales League – Judith Evans
The importance is to let everyone play – the key to running a league. Would you have thought a hockey match doesn’t go ahead because of lambing season and dog shows? Jen is a great character and the most important thing is to be upfront about problems. Jen gave us many scenarios and how to solve them. We talked about the future, getting youth involved in organising (we even had volunteers) and getting youth competitions under the same umbrella to avoid clashes. Another issue was stopping seconds teams using first team players and an excellent idea was expressed in terms of a point scoring system through which players have only limited opportunities to play. Final image is that things are never black and white but shades of grey.
7. The Way Forward – Bethan Walsh
Finally we discussed what we wanted to do. I briefed the group on the progress on a world stage since the World Festival. We have representatives on WHU development and management committees. We have set up our forum and we looked on how to expand it and what it should discuss. We talked about what we learn from the World Youth Hockey Day and what our plans are for the marathon. Discussion took place about pen pals and how we can make it accessible to all of Wales. Finally we decided to put together a questionnaire so the participants that could think about answers which we can collect in the coming months allowing us to plan a way forward.
Overall the 2 days were very productive and definitely a worthwhile experience we are now looked upon as YOUTH ACTIVATORS and know we can make a difference.