To ensure long term success across the game in Wales it is essential that we have a clear and consistent philosophy of how we engage people across the pathway. Having a clear Welsh Way allows for talent to flourish and for all individuals to reach their potential.
This philosophy places the emphasis on the player, who are at the core of everything that we do. Developing them as well-rounded individuals is our ultimate aim which shapes our programmes and the work of our coaches.
This philosophy permits a long-term focus on player development and aims to encompass all aspects of performance, technical, tactical, physical conditioning, sport psychology and lifestyle, over a period of time.
We embrace a talent development philosophy because it allows us to:
- Create ‘stretch’ for players and move towards assessing appropriate learning rates
- Move away from snapshot trials and competition-based assessment to de-emphasise winning as a marker for success
- Develop intrinsic motivation and long term commitment to encourage increased player responsibility in their personal learning
- Record and review personal achievement and progress in order to prepare and support any player through transitions in their development.
There is a very real awareness that sports performance is affected by personal, lifestyle and environmental factors. Each player’s journey to reach their full potential is unique. With this in mind, we understand through all journeys there will be peaks and troughs, which are simply transitions that are determined by both internal and external factors.
We recognise the need for providing a range of consistent performance environments, which allow a player to flow through the system at a pace that is relevant to them. Even if the flow isn’t always moving forwards, there are opportunities for a player to train at an appropriate level and this is where the Hockey Wales philosophy comes to life.
The 360˚ programme is where the performance training begins. Due to the unique geography of Wales it is difficult to have national centres close together. Because of this, we realised more local delivery was essential, meaning we now have 7 talent centres across Wales. The 360˚ branding allows for a holistic delivery of hockey – a method that allows for a more focused approach to coaching that provides a focused environment that attracts, retains and develops talented athletes who can progress to senior international level. Players gain knowledge in areas of fitness, psychology and lifestyle to support their personal development.
The journey from the 360° programme is to the National Age Group (NAG) Programme.
We currently have two groups at NAG level, U18 boys and U18 girls. Within these groups will be players aged 13-18 who have chosen to follow the Hockey Wales pathway and gave shown the potential, work ethic and commitment needed to reach their goals. Having NAG players in groups of ability as opposed to age allows them to really develop their skills at a time scale that’s perfect for them. It also allows them to really understand playing philosophy, tactics, and strategy and core skills. This way, they can develop the skills consistently and steadily across the whole group.
Hockey Wales have U16 and U18 international teams who will compete in a range of test events, home nations and Europeans. Additionally, we will have the opportunity to showcase mixed age teams and allow them to play international friendlies to fully support the development of players.
The Wales Senior teams will compete in Home Nations, Europeans, World League and Commonwealth Games events. Players can access the Wales senior programmes by way of progression from the NAG programmes, alternatively, if a player is eligible and has not been a member of the NAG programme they can apply independently (post 18 years old) direct to Hockey Wales.
Alongside the senior programme Hockey Wales runs an elite programme named Aspire GB that is funded by Talent Cymru. This programme assists a small number of players with Great Britain potential in working towards the Great Britain programme.