Whilst most will be winding down through December to enjoy the festive period, our international athletes will be stepping up their preparation for 2018 with a number of training camps at Sport Wales.
This busy period will see both the senior and development programmes in action as they prepare to represent Wales on the biggest of stages in 2018. With Commonwealth Games qualification secured the senior squads will continue their preparation for 2018 by maximising the break in the domestic calendar with a number of camps in Cardiff. Both the men and the women will then start 2018 with matches on foreign soil as they take part in a number of preparation tests.
Looking forward to December and January men’s Head Coach Zak Jones stated “We see this block as a key period in the year for us. Not only does it include fitness testing dates, but also many important camps and a physical preparation block for the athletes into January. At the end of January, we have a test series against France, which will be very important in terms of both preparation and selection in the build up to the Commonwealth Games. It’s a very busy period, as alongside all this outdoor activity our senior indoor programme will also be running, which culminates in their European tournament in Cyprus in mid-January. The two parts of the programme are integral to us continuing to develop the depth and quality of our squad, as well as to grow and move forward both on and off the field"
As well as the senior programme, December will also give the wider men’s and women’s squads valuable development experience as both will be competing in the EuroHockey indoor championships in January. Both squads head off to represent Wales in January and will gain valuable international experience against experienced opposition.
This programme also gives a number of coaches the opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience as part of the ongoing coach development programme in Wales. The opportunity to lead a squad under the guidance of senior head coaches is an extremely valuable experience, and this period will see National Age Group head coach Lee Ible step up to lead the men’s indoor programme along with Age Group assistant Gwyn Williams who will lead the women’s. Both have worked on the Wales pathway for a number of years and the opportunity to lead a squad will give them a valuable learning experience going forward.
Head of Performance Dan Clements commented “December and January promise to be a busy period for our international athletes and management and it is testament to their work ethic that they don’t even bat an eye lid given the time of year. We are also really pleased to create these learning opportunities for key pathway staff in Wales as the chance to lead a group and work closely with senior coaches does not come along too often so its great for Lee and Gwyn to be in this position”
Picture credits: Perspective Photography