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SportsTalk: Pre-season preparation pays off

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SportsTalk---Hockey---May-9-CROP

As summer’s warmth fades from our memories and the crisp autumn days greet us, it is a sure sign the hockey season is about to begin with full force.

The pre-season period has been a busy one for both the Bay of Plenty and Tauranga Hockey Associations, with new initiatives being implemented to assist with the development of the game.

One of these initiatives was introduced late last year when both associations decided it was time to employ their own CoachForce and Participation Officers, with the view of providing more opportunities to promote the game and develop coaches throughout the region.

The positive effects of this decision are already being felt, with 24 schools taking part in the Small Sticks. This in-school programme sees experienced development staff teach hockey skills to students, while teachers receive in-service training sessions to help them deliver the game within their schools. The flow-on effect of this into winter hockey has been huge with primary school numbers at an all-time high across the region.

One initiative the Tauranga Association has implemented this year is the employment of an Officiating Development Officer (ODO). The ODO is tasked with developing framework to support the officiating space. This will hopefully lead to more officials taking part to support the game as it continues to grow. This initiative is being monitored closely by Hockey New Zealand and will no doubt provide some benefit in the officiating space across the country.

Recently the Midlands Hockey Association announced their Under 21 and Under 18 Men’s and Women’s squads are participating at their respective National Regional Tournaments. Twenty-three players, 12 from Bay of Plenty and 11 from Tauranga, have been selected in these teams – a strong representation from within the Bay.

This is great recognition for the hard work each player has put into their game and continues the flow of players that represent both associations at a higher level. It’s also great to see local representation in the Black Sticks this year where a number of players, who have links to our area, have participated on the world stage.

It looks to be another exciting season ahead!

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