Shining the Light On....
Today we launch a ‘Shining the light on…’ campaign, which is focused on female coach development and the aspiration for ‘Women to Empower Women’.
We know that the hockey coaching workforce in Wales is lacking the visibility of females and we hope this campaign makes a step change for females looking to get into coaching and demonstrating the opportunities that the role can bring.
We caught up with Lynda Bennett, a passionate hockey enthusiast from Dysynni Hockey Club, who over the years has held many roles within our sport (too many to list), but today we focus on her role as a coach.
How did your journey in coaching begin?
That’s funny thinking back to that one, I went on a Hockey Wales course with Clare Horton in the ‘olden’ days and we decided it was the right thing to do to turn up in our full hockey kit – we were the only ones like that, and we froze! Gave us a good laugh for years that one.
Coaching juniors came next and I managed to do that with my own children pottering about on the side of the pitch and another one in a frame on my back, I did have a proper break to have my 4th child and when I came back to it, my eldest son started playing and I naturally went back to helping Jules Dawson who ran the junior session then.
With all my kids playing hockey I started taking teams to tournaments in North Wales and the club’s youth section grew and grew from there on. Together with Stewart Langston we ran all the sessions and kept the momentum going in getting players to very high standards, we saw the adult teams have successes and many of our junior players gaining national selection which was fabulous.
Was there anyone that particularly inspired you to take the coaching route?
I cannot ever forget how much my PE teacher Buddug Jones (Davies) did for me whilst at school – just her complete commitment and interest in sport was inspiring. She took me all over Wales to run and to play hockey, we spent hours after school training on the track and doing circuits in the gym. People often have polarised opinions of PE teachers, but for me she was brilliant! I keep in touch with her from time to time.
Another coach who has given so much to our sport is Steve Edwards - he makes coaching hockey look so easy and his experience is vast, I went on several coaching sessions with Steve as the lead, and he never failed to impress me with his knowledge.
Why do you coach?
From that time when I started with the juniors, I just loved being able to break-down, explain and show how to play hockey, watch them have a go, and for them to realise it worked! All very simple really, but very rewarding.
I love being able to entertain the kids and let them have fun and wacky moments too. It is also important for me to see them progress to competition and to see how players react, to winning, to losing, playing in a squad and to understanding how to manage all those feelings.
In terms of other hockey related things that I get involved with, it is more about giving people opportunities.
One thing I am pleased we have done is to take regional teams to a large competition in England - it has improved players throughout North Wales and started many on their journeys to try and get into the National Age Groups. Likewise – Walking hockey at Dysynni again another opportunity for people to get some exercise and something fun to do.
What message would you give to other females that are thinking about getting into coaching?
It may seem like a difficult thing to do but start small, maybe with younger players and make it fun so they want to come back next time. It is so rewarding to give something that people really appreciate. And it is a great privilege to be able to have the trust of players and their parents as well. Step off the sideline and step onto the pitch - you can do it!