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What is a National Youth Panel and why is it important?

A National Youth Panel is a group of young hockey enthusiasts (under 25) in a particular area or country who all want to help develop and improve hockey in their country.  There is no need for them to all be fantastic hockey players; they just have to be a group of people with leadership qualities who are committed to hockey.  They will be responsible for communicating youth related issues to their National Hockey Association and sharing hockey ideas with other Youth Panel members.

For young people to be able to give their opinion to the NHA, and to help implement positive changes to hockey, a formal Youth Panel, accepted by the NHA, is very useful .A Youth Panel is a very important aspect in the development of a hockey.  Young people should be made to feel wanted, and be allowed to express their views to help to develop the sport as an activity which young people want to be a part of, both socially and for the sport.  With a Youth Panel you will be able to think up better ideas, targeted at the youth, and foster ways to increase youth participation in hockey.

It is important that all people involved in hockey have a voice to shape its future.  If hockey is to be improved across all levels, all age groups, all over the world, then we must target the development group of people in each country.  These are the young people of that country – the future of hockey.  It is often between the ages of 15-20 – between leaving school and starting at college or university – that a great number of people are lost from hockey.  If we target that age group, and find out reasons why these people give up hockey, and how to get them back, then we are automatically thinking about the future.  This is why we have a Panel composed of young people – they are in the best position to be able to put these issues right.

Benefits of a Youth Panel for?

  • To suggest and help implement changes within the youth hockey structure of their country
  • To be a key link between young hockey enthusiasts and the NHA – to promote communication between NHA and young hockey lovers
  • To adapt and implement the World Youth Development Plan
  • To provide the FIH Youth Panel with regular updates
  • To contribute to the website of FIH Youth Panel and their NHA
  • To implement FIH Youth Panel programmes in their country
  • To help their NHA make hockey better for more people
  • To allow the youth of hockey a voice

Getting Started

How to Initiate a Youth Panel

Do you have a representative from your country on the FIH Youth Panel?  If so then you already have an important first point of contact for your country to be able to keep up with all the new initiatives and programmes.  This person can be confirmed as the Chairperson of your new Youth Panel.

If there isn’t a representative from your country on the FIH Youth Panel contact for more details!

How do we select a group of people for a Youth Panel?

If you are in a situation where you have plenty of time to select a group of people, you could have a competition in your country to maybe design a youth development plan, or a new hockey game for young people, or a web page or poster etc.  Lots of scope for people to enter this, and then maybe the best six - eight could be selected for the Youth Panel.

If time is limited, you can request nominations from people.  People can nominate each other, or themselves, fill in a form to describe their hockey experience and why they should be involved (see attached) and then a selection process is needed involving the Chairperson and some senior people from the NHA.

What kinds of people make good Panel members?

  • Someone who is interested in hockey
  • People with strong leadership skills
  • People who have lots of new ideas
  • Young people who are very motivated and committed
  • Someone who can talk through issues and balance out all opinions
  • Someone who is committed to making things work
  • A group of people who accept that THEY CAN make a difference
  • People who WILL make their voices heard

It is important to try and get a good balance of people in a Youth Panel, so you should try to include all ages, people from all areas of your country, and with experience in different areas in hockey e.g. playing, coaching, umpiring, administration, leadership, organisation, welfare, school hockey, university hockey etc…  It is never possible to have all of these represented, but a good Panel is composed of a good cross-section of people.

Now You’re Up and Running…What Next?

How often should you meet and where?

It all depends on individual situation in different countries, but most Panels should meet around 3-4 times a year.  If you have a very large country e.g. USA, them it mat not be possible to meet so often, so maybe only twice a year, but in smaller countries such as Holland, it is certainly possible to meet more often.  The more often you can meet, the better it will be.  And don’t forget that in this day and age, it is very easy to meet over the Internet too!

Where to meet is also dependent on individual situation.  If the head offices of your NHA are centrally located, and easily accessible to all, then that is a good place to meet, as you then get to meet with the staff at the NHA too, and you get taken more seriously.  It may also be a good idea to meet on the same day as the National Hockey Board meeting for example, then you can have the opportunity to talk to them too!  If not, you can look for hockey clubs where they can accommodate meetings, or even Panel members’ homes!

 As the youth panel representative for your NA you should try and attend your National Association’ meetings so that you can share information with them and inform them of up coming youth events or events that Youth would like to be part of. You can help with the running of events or initiate youth projects (coaching team or organising youth coaching & umpiring courses, etc) and help create greater hockey awareness in your country. Why not assist your NA with the Global Youth Marathon or tournaments that they run.

How should the Youth Panel be structured?

There are many different responsibilities and these can be shared out among the whole group:

  • Chairperson – is on the FIH Youth Panel and feeds back to them.  Takes part in NHA meetings to which invited, and organises agendas for National Youth Panel meetings.  Responsible for smooth running of meetings, and co-ordinating the Panel
  • Vice-Chairperson – to run things if the Chairperson is absent.  Also acts as a secretary, taking minutes of meetings.
  • Assign each member a region in your country.  They can be responsible for feedback and ideas from that particular region.
  • Project Managers – depending on how many projects you run, and what they are, you might like to assign project managers to each of them, so that there is someone to oversee each project.
  • Communications – a member of the Panel should be responsible for ensuring smooth communications between the Youth Panel and the NHA, the FIH Youth Panel and he regions of your country.  Maybe supplying a monthly update for websites etc is relevant!

Almost There Now…What About the First Meeting?

A possible agenda:

1. Introductions (each Panel member introduces themselves and tells the rest of the group a bit about what they do)

2. Explain about the functions of the Youth Panel.  Why are they there?  What are you planning to do?

3. Give background knowledge on FIH Youth Panel.

4. Talk about Forum Structure.  Start to think about assigning roles to people.

5. Discuss the state of hockey in your country.  Come up with a list of positive and negative points about hockey in your country.  This is the basis to deciding what you will plan for your Panel.

6. Look at FIH Youth Panel projects, and discuss how you can link in with them.

7. If time, discuss the World Youth Development Plan, and how it can be adapted to work in your country.

8. Any other business, and set a date and time for your next meeting(s).

Obviously this is not meant as a definite agenda, but is something you can work around, and adapt to how it best fits with your plans.

Well That’s It!

By now, you should be well on your way to setting up your Youth Panel.  This has taken you all the way through to your first meeting, and hopefully, you can move on from this point to make the National Youth Panel in your country a massive success.

How do we make sure it lasts?

To make sure that this National Youth Panel will continue to thrive and develop, make sure you keep good links with the FIH Youth Panel for ideas, and with your NHA for their support.  Always try to keep both of these bodies updated with what your plans are and what you have been doing so far.  Make sure that your NHA is 100% behind everything that you do, and show that that you as a Panel can work well together and improve hockey.  If your first project is a success, then they will listen to you for years to come…so make sure that your first project is achievable, yet brilliant!

National Youth Forums in each country of the world are the best way of spreading the ideas and principles of the young hockey enthusiasts in each country and making sure that the NHA really does realise that the

“Youth is the Future.”


Please click here to download the NYP Template Form 

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