Posted in Coaching, Field Hockey, Fitness, Hockey, Pre-season, sport, St Ives Hockey Club, Women in Sport

Fartlek fitness 

Session 3: St Ives Hockey Club 

Session three starts to introduce some fartlek and interval training.

Equipment needed: 1 pitch (hockey, football, rugby) cones

Remember your fitness tests from Session 1: and make sure you are fully warmed up, fuelled and hydrated!
The session has three stations, each group will complete each station for a time period of 12 minutes. Take 2 minutes rest between each station. 

(If completing in a large group, participants to self select into Bronze,Silver,Gold groups.)
For all stations, the following speeds are as follows: Walk 25%; Jog 50%; Run 75%; Sprint 100%.

Station 1: Start on the bottom left hand corner. Complete one circuit, then complete one set of the exercises. Make sure you have at least 1 minute in between circuits. 


Exercises:  20 x oblique crunches, 10 x tricep dips, 10 x press-ups.

Station 2: Start on the bottom left hand corner. Complete one circuit, then complete one set of the exercises. Make sure you have at least 1 minute in between circuits. 


Exercises: 10 x leg raises, 30sec plank (Ext: knee to opp elbow), 20sec T-plank each side (Ext: Knee to chest).

Station 3: Start on the top left hand corner. Complete one circuit, then complete one set of the exercises. Make sure you have at least 1 minute in between circuits.


Exercises: 10 x Squat 180’s, 10 x split jumps, 20 x crunches.

Take rest as needed, enjoy! 

Fitness – Wednesdays at St Ives Outdoor Centre; £4. Anyone welcome.

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Posted in Coaching, Field Hockey, Fitness, Hockey, Pre-season, St Ives Hockey Club, Women in Sport

Fitness Frolics


Session 2: St Ives Hockey Club 

Session two leads nicely into some conditioning and endurance training. 

Equipment needed: 1 pitch (hockey, football, rugby)

Ideally in groups of four, but you can adapt to most numbers. You can even go solo. 

Remember your fitness tests from Session 1

Start in the corner of your pitch, and split your group in two. Half the group will complete the running section, whilst the remaining half will complete the exercises, changing depending on the location of your runners. Swap once your runners return. 


If you select bronze, complete two laps, silver three and gold all four.

Ensure you rest for at least two minutes between each new running distance. 

Fitness sessions are at One Leisure St Ives outdoor centre on Wednesdays 7.30 – 8.30, £4 a session. Anyone welcome. 

Posted in Field Hockey, Fitness, Hockey, St Ives Hockey Club, Women in Sport

Back to Fitness

Warm up, hydration and effective fuelling is essential prior to fitness sessions.

Session 1: Teambuilding

Back with St Ives Hockey Club (SIHC) for their summer fitness sessions and it’s straight back to teambuilding for session 1. 


Fig. 1 – Fitness Passport pre-season goals

Each player is given their own “fitness passport” (shown Fig. 1 & 2) to fill in throughout the sessions to monitor their own progress. 

This season will be concentrating on form: It’s not about quantity. Do one right rather than ten wrong.


Fig. 2 – Fitness Passport progress

Two minute testing: At the start of each session, players complete six exercises for 20 seconds each. These are done on two minute blocks with 30seconds rest between the two blocks. 

1: Squat Jumps – Push ups – Lunges

2: W sits – Side lunges – Burpees.

Card circuit: 15 mins


My favourite introduction to fitness. The group self selected their level of fitness and split into three groups depending on their self-assessment. The group completed the following circuit, using the above rules and the below exercises. 


Final frenzy: 10mins

Another favourite, pairs Tabata. (8 cycles consisting of 20sec exercise, 10sec rest) Take two exercise and alternate within the cycle. You’ll do two Tabata cycles with the exercises below.

  • Push-up slaps (high 5 your mate)
  • Over/unders
  • High 5 crunches 
  • Squat crunches

Finally make sure you cool down and stretch! 

Posted in captain, Coaching, Field Hockey, Hockey, live sport talks, sport, Women in Sport

Live Sport Talks….

…with Olympic hockey Gold medalists Georgie Twigg, Hollie Webb and Shona McCallin.

 

Firstly, I would like to thank Live Sport Talks (@LiveSportTalks) with Charlie Rowe for hosting such a great event at The Dickens Inn, St Katherine’s Docks, London on Thursday night. An insightful chat with three of the Olympic hockey gold medalists, and definitely worth the trip out on a school night.


Georgie Twigg, Hollie Webb, Shona McCallin and their Gold medals.
Photocredit: @LiveSportTalks – courtesy of Graham Hodges

“A group of players coming together with
that collective belief can be so powerful.”

Georgie Twigg makes a very valid point in that statement. The physical and mental preparation that contributes to the lead up to the Olympic Games not only incorporates skills and team play, but how those individuals function as a team. Group and individual mindset shines throughout these players and the importance of the squad dynamic (#31) and the squad contribution is the overriding message of how this team worked towards winning the Olympic Gold medal.

After the tough, disappointing performance at the World Cup, (the girls agreed that this was not a controversial point, but indeed a valid learning and turning point for the squad), this appeared to be the start of a driving force behind the momentum that propelled them into the Olympics.

Rio 2016 was Georgie Twigg’s second Olympic Games, and a first for Hollie Webb and Shona McCallin. The passion that comes across from these three ladies was inspiring, and hearing about the hard work and meticulous preparation in the cycle leading up to the games showed these girls deserved every success they had achieved, both on and off the pitch.

The squad is currently in a re-building phase and as Shona so gracefully put it “after an Olympic games there is a big clear out”. Georgie, choosing to concentrate on law and players such as Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, Crista Cullen, Hannah Macleod and Sam Quek no longer training with the England/GB set up. But this means there is a new breed of talent, waiting to shine through. Players like Emily DeFroand, Hannah Martin and Rose Thomas, to name a few of the fifteen new additions (full list: Here).

 

Following ‘that’ game, the profile of hockey shot through the roof. People who had shown little interest in the game were now watching the pinnacle of women’s hockey live on BBC One. The interest in the sport increased overnight, in schools, in clubs and people were just talking about hockey. Georgie shares,

 “I have been told it was the stand out moment of Rio 2016 – compared to ‘Super Saturday’ from London 2012.”

The girls spoke about the number of people who have approached them to speak about the team, about their passion, and most of all about their sport. Hollie still seemed genuinely surprised about their elevated status amongst Team GB, the reception they received at Heathrow on their return and how great it was to have young fans travel especially to the airport in search of autographs.

Olympic village: A stand-out moment for Georgie Twigg was a topless Usain Bolt, wearing one of his gold medals, dancing on his balcony, shouting to passers by below. A surreal time, with a realisation that they were all there, amongst many of their idols, to do the same job.

A meticulously planned training regime, to be carefully executed over a period of fourteen days meant the girls turned up prepared, physically and mentally in the exact place to execute their plan. Replication of tournament conditions throughout the training phase, eight games in fourteen days, and consistent monitoring of their strength and condition ensured every member of the squad was at their peak and ready. But it wasn’t all hockey in Rio, the girls did manage a one day trip up Sugar Loaf mountain, away from the hockey pitch as part of their preparation.

 

The tournament: They knew every game would be tough, they knew the challenges they would face,  and they had video footage to study,  with homework to do. The squad took into the Olympics, from previous tournaments a “take one game at a time” mentality, allowing them to purely focus on that one game ahead of them.

Shona talks about their grit and determination showed during the Argentina game with ten minutes remaining, down to a field of nine or ten players, playing against a strong Argentine team in full attack mode, with hundreds of fans behind them, in awful weather and coming out victorious. A proud and defining moment for her during the Olympic Games.

Hollie speaks about the first game against Australia and their meticulous planning leading into the game to secure such an important start to the tournament. Mentally, this set the tone for a good tournament. Georgie talks about the New Zealand semi-final. She eludes to her thoughts as she received a ball to the jaw,  “I’ve broken my jaw like Kate, ” she squeals, “so not dramatic at all!”. And once stitched up and ready to go, she remembers with a giggle, “we were still only in the third quarter, still only one-nil up. Helen had hurt her hamstring, Lily had hurt her shoulder and Sam Quek was on the forward line. Karen Brown was like, Twiggy, get back on the pitch!” The chaotic game was a real battle which made it a special game to win, and of course she states,  “and we had just made the Olympic final.”

They shared the moment after the game when Kate [Richardson-Walsh] looked at everyone in the team and said “one more game” recalling it as such a powerful moment. They weren’t going to settle for silver.

 

The final: Shona states, “The Dutch do not like playing against Great Britain. We were quietly confident.” Twiggy then shares the moment before walking onto the pitch, for the Olympic final, “In the line up to walk out towards the pitch, the Dutch were whacking on the scaffolding. I just thought the cocky things – we may be the underdogs and we are not going down without a fight.”  This seemed to be the ignition needed for the fire and passion the girls displayed on the pitch. Shona adds, “That game (the finals) showed hockey for what it really was, it had everything – amazing goals, end to end play, a team on top for most of the game, and of course the amazing penalty shoot out.”

And how did they cope? Well, they had practiced performing under pressure and being able to think clearly. They knew exactly what they were doing, and they managed to do it, despite it being the Olympic final. And this was the moment they had trained for, endlessly. And boy, did they do it! Out of a group of nine girls, five are selected after the game to step up for shuffles, and Hollie is nominated for the first time.

“I was hoping Unsy would score and I wouldn’t have to take one.”

She knew what she was doing though, so calm and collected. She had practiced the night before, she had watched footage of the goalkeeper, she had every move, every step planned in her head the night before. But what was she thinking?

“If you think about the occasion and you think about what this means, and what it could mean, then you’ll let yourself get so nervous, and if you mess up you’ll be kicking yourself for years, so I was like right, that’s just not going to happen.”

She jumped a clear metre in the air, and I think half the nation jumped just as high. I was in a little static caravan in Blakeney, Norfolk and I’m pretty sure it almost fell off its bricks that night. Still humble in the part she played, ensuring that people knew that it was a team win, a collective effort, a squad dream, tireless training hours and a brilliant goalkeeper that made that dream a reality. But as I pointed out to her, they couldn’t have won without your ball in the back of the net. Her advice to her younger self would be to concentrate on your strengths as well as your weaknesses. She made sure that she was the best at passing, the best at hitting and the best at tackling that she could be, doing the basics well, and remembering that the strengths, as well as your weaknesses can be developed.

1000.jpg
Hollie Webb, scoring her penalty shuffle in the Olympic Final, Rio 2016
Photocredit: Scorescan.com

Captain Kate: With Twiggy as spokesperson, the girls agree that Kate is a pioneer for hockey, a phenomenal woman, captain for so long, epitomising what a captain should be. She led by example, set the tone in training and in the gym. She showed professionalism and thats the way she led the team. They state the experience she brought to the side, knowing the right thing to say at the right time, being very wise, was invaluable and she will be sorely missed, a great leader and role model for everyone.

Olympic Gold legacy: The legacy moving into the future will continue with the outstanding work the team, and individuals in the team have engaged in. They will continue to promote the love of their sport around the country, in schools and in hockey clubs. What can the hockey community do to continue to help? Get more people onto the pitch, youngsters playing the game, or people who are getting back to the game.

Their motto was “Be the difference. Create history. Inspire the future” and that is their promise. They will inspire people to get onto the pitch, they will help make hockey more visible, get on tv more, and aim to get it as a main sport into this nation. The more competition there is, the better chance to get better, from grass-roots to national and international level. That is their promise to hockey clubs and schools across the country, not only theirs though, the work of volunteers in clubs is invaluable.  These three girls add,  “What we can do to help you make it sustainable is to keep developing and make it better.”

You can see the live Q + A session on Live Sport Talks Facebook page (Live Sport Talks – FB) or on their website (http://www.livesporttalks.com) along with the other hosted Live Sport Talks.

 

Posted in Field Hockey

The half court press…

So a while back I took to Twitter (@hellohockey) to ask some opinion and explanation about the half court press, publishing the above photo. Sifting through the email responses I’d like to share the most useful and helpful reply.

The photo you put up seems a very simplistic way of talking about the half court press and is not actually accurate so I wanted to try to help you understand it, if I can?

Understanding the half court press depends completely on whether you’re trying to understand it to incorporate into your teams play or whether your trying to understand it in order to play against a team who plays half court press. Going by the photo you put up I am assuming you are maybe going to try to use it and incorporate into your teams play.

With that being the case, the first thing I’d say is that your team (and in particular your attackers and midfielders) need to be very very fit. It’s such a hard thing to be attacking in your opponents D and then when the ball goes off the back for a hit out the team have to make it back to be in their own half in order to defend the hit out. 

As the photo said, ideally everyone should be defending in their own half but bear in mind that the opposing team are going to still have at least three, probably four, of their players in their half in order to hit the ball round the back at the hit out. The attackers need to set themselves up just inside their own half and basically just do shuttles across the pitch as the ball gets hit around the back. If/when it looks like the opposing team have played a weak pass or if you target one of their players as the weakest then only then would one of your attackers break the line in order to put pressure on. The only time you want the line broken is basically a sure cert time that you are going to get the ball. It’s then up to the rest of the attackers and midfielders to get into the other half and D in order to counter attack…hence the fitness again.

The midfield, when the attackers are shuttling are more often than the not shuttling too in order to fill the gaps in the press. Hence, like I said about not always marking in your own half like the photo said. It is still a press remember and marking the space is much more important than marking the players in any press. 

The defence should always be front marking anyway but never is it more important than in a half court press. If the attackers in the other team are in front of the defenders facing the ball and posting up then it almost always will break the press down, causing it to be very ineffective because you are then just basically always defending a hit out in your own half as opposed to pressing on it from much further up the pitch, as in a full court or even three quarter court press. So defenders need to be in front of their players and not allowing them to post up…this is a vital part of the half court press, like I said

The team attacking against a half court press (i.e. the team who have the hit out) will probably recognise it very quickly and any good team will just tell the person taking the hit out to self pass and take the ball as far up the pitch as possible before making any pass. This way they are already gaining almost half of the pitch in territory before they even play the ball, where normally in a full court press this original pass would have been made on their 16 metre line.

It’s a very risky strategy and something that unless every player on the team knows their role I would say would be unsuccessful. Attackers needs to always hold the line, midfielders always looking to mark the space and defenders always front marking. These are the three basic and most important points. Get those right and it’ll be great. 

Again, remember what I said about fitness. It’s a really hard going press and you’re pretty knackered quite soon into a match so plenty of subs constantly rolling every seven minutes or so is vital, especially for the attackers who are doing most of the running. And the running is sprinting because if the attackers aren’t in place by the time the hit out is taken then the whole press has broken down before it has even been set up. The attackers always need to be sprinting when shuttling across the pitch as any space in this line a good defender taking the hit out will see early on and just pass it into this space

Good communication from the back to the front is important too. The midfielders need to communicate to tell the attackers where the space is, etc. The defenders need to be talking to the midfielders, again about the spaces, the players, etc. And vitally the goalie needs to have the confidence to tell the defence when they are not front marking. The goalie is key to the half court press as it’s only really them that can see how it looks from the very back and what is going right and wrong.

There is a lot more to it than just that but I’ve tried to explain it in simple terms and obviously through experience of playing it and coaching it for four or five seasons back to back! It’s a lot of running for not a lot of possession and it’s a very very defensive strategy. I wouldn’t be playing it against a team who you think/know you’ll win against.

So there you have it…. the half court press explained. Thankyou for taking time to explain this to me (and our readers) I’ve found it to be very helpful.

Posted in captain, Coaching, eurohockey, Field Hockey, Hockey, Role model, sport, Women in Sport

Farewell not bye? 

It’s no secret that I like hockey. In fact, I shout it out from the rooftops at every opportunity because I have always believed in hockey as a sport. I started playing at the age of 11 as hockey wasn’t a sport that was accessible to me before (Lacrosse was the school sport of choice). And from the moment I picked up a stick, I loved it. Through playing and now coaching, I continue to love it, to watch it grow and develop and I will tell anyone and everyone who is interested (or not!!) about our sport.

It does slightly annoy me when our sport has been dismissed. For example; During a recent discussion with my former work colleagues pre-Olympics about which sports were going to win medals. The obvious sports were mentioned, Swimming, Athletics, Gymnastics, but when I put out there that the Hockey girls were going to win a medal, if not the Gold, I was shot down in flames; “No-one cares about hockey!” was the snipe, before continuing their conversation.

Well – we certainly showed them!


Photo credit: @Getty Images – Gold medals

It was four years ago, I first had the pleasure of meeting the current GB squad pre London 2012. Running around the country as part of the 35 strong Olympic Torch security team for 70 days, the minutes spent at Bisham Abbey were definitely ones to remember.

Day 53: Bisham abbey – GB Squad 2012 + Torch Security Team

It was the 10th July, 2012. We had no idea where the torch would take us today, or who any of the torchbearers would be, just specific timings, locations and numbers of torchbearers in each location. By day 53, the day’s were pretty routine – up, out and run. We barely had time to work out where we were, just where we needed to be in terms of on the road with our torchbearers. Today we were the running team. There were four main rotations of duties on the relay – running, support (the guys and girls on the pedal bikes), driving or rest.

Our coach was heading into the driveway of Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre and fellow hockey player Gunny [Claire Gunn] shouts, “OMG it’s Crista Cullen, that’s Kate Walsh, wait, is that all the hockey girls?” Scrambling to look out the side of the bus, we could see a lot of Team GB had lined up to see the arrival of the flame, taking a break from their preparations for London 2012.

I was so excited. We had already been the running team with Georgie Twigg on the 24th May, down Henleaze Road, Bristol and we were the support team on the 4th July for Captain Kate [Richardson] Walsh as she ran through Norwich. So to see the national squad of the sport I loved prior to a home Olympic Games was incredible.

I jumped off the bus, probably when it was still moving, I was so excited to see them and wanted to have the opportunity to have a selfie with the squad. Catching up with Annie Panter as she was walking back to resume training, I asked (probably begged if I’m honest!) if I could have a photo with her and the squad.

But at that moment I had a revelation. I had the Olympic flame! Surely they would want a photo with us? Ok, well at least with the Flame? And with that temptation the next thing we knew, Gunny, Neil and I were surrounded by the GB hockey squad holding both the Olympic torch and the Olympic Flame.

A few of the girls asked if they could hold the actual flame, or the lantern at least, including my absolute hero Helen Richardson [Walsh]. I remember giving her strict instructions to hold both the top handle and secure the bottom of the lantern as previously when I had given it to Ben Fogle at the Eden Project, he was waving it around and we were unsure how stable the flame was at the time. So sorry Helen for being so strict!! I didn’t want that flame to go out on my watch, and only a privileged few got to hold the actual Olympic lantern.

I have been lucky to continue to meet the hockey girls along their journey. And they are girls that will help anyone who is passionate about their sport. When I was at a particularly rough crossroads with hockey, Helen Richardson-Walsh provided these wise words. “If it wasn’t for people like you, who give their time, energy and passion to our sport, players like me would never have the opportunities to achieve success” that statement stays with me and will always inspire me to continue to be the best I can be. It picked me up from a dark place and saved me from somewhere I didn’t want to venture. The kindness of a stranger can be an immense gift, a re-motivation and a huge inspiration. A gift I shall always try to pay forward and pass on to everyone I coach and play with.

Supporting each match has become easier with a large number of tournaments being broadcast to watch, however the real buzz is being present, live, living the games, feeling the atmosphere and celebrating or consoling with other fans of our sport. I was there for the Bronze medal match in London, I was at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships for the highs. I was also at the Hockey Champions trophy and watching the World cup for the lows. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn!

 The ultimate gift of Gold in the Rio Olympics 2016 was the reward for pain, devastation, hard work, blood, sweat and tears. The road wasn’t always easy, the road often had many pathways, but in the end, you create your own path.

It will be sad to see Kate leave the squad (I’m still keeping fingers crossed Helen will still play!) – When I was captain at Stevenage HC, having taken over the role with seven games to go, in a particularly turbulent season, deep in the relegation zone of the league, I reached out to Kate, Helen and Alex on Twitter to ask if they had any advise on how to avoid relegation. Kate’s response was simple, and is now engraved on the back of my end of season gift from the team that was saved that year.

Play each game like it’s your first, and each second like it’s your last.” And what a last second to for you to play!

  

Thank you for all you have done. We love you and wish you all the best for your future, may it be coaching with me! Haha! 

 

Posted in Coaching, Field Hockey, Hockey, Role model, sport

FRE Flyers Coaching Quartet

Claire Wibberley-Young, Andy Halliday, Chris Gladman, Roger Lillystone

Last but not least, we catch up with the FRE Flyers coaches. The FRE Flyers have had the benefit of some of the best hockey coaching since 2011. The continued involvement and support from past and present Olympic hockey players has increased their ability and confidence and the strong bond with this original team is still very evident. 

Training is held every Friday on the Olympic Pitches at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre. Amongst the plethora of guests, the Flyers have a regular coaching team (shown above),  including Mama Jo, who not only work to improve their hockey, but to also provide that extra support network.

Andy:


Who are you? Andy Halliday

Whats’s your day job?  Team Manager Great Britain Mens Hockey, Head Coach, England Indoor. St Albans HC. consultant, speaker, dog walker / runner and extreme hockey dribbler.

How did you get involved with the Flyers?  Have been involved from the outset in 2011 when the Flyers were born. Member of the GB Mens 2012 staff, keen to see true Olympic legacy in the making and have been involved ever since.

Any tough times?  There have been two periods of angst. Firstly, post 2012, uncertainty around the future and we all wondered whether the project would continue. 

Secondly, late 2014, funding desperately needed. Everybody rallied and a major thank you to the Crowdfunder scheme and all who donated. It was make or break………

Best time?  Hearing the Flyers cheering louder than everyone else in the hockey arena whilst supporting us at the London Olympics.

Why are you still involved?  I continue to be enthused to see what hockey does for this group of very special youngsters from Newham. Seeing how the Flyers have matured and developed, not just as hockey players, but as young people growing up in one of London’s toughest boroughs.


What do you love about the Flyers?  All inclusive, hockey for all, no barriers. Also, Knowing that if you’ve had a bad day, it is soon forgotten when you are in the company of the FRE Flyers.

Do you have a good story?  We [Great Britain men’s hockey team, London 2012] had just been beaten (hammered) by Holland in the Olympic Semi Final 2012. We were due to play Australia for Bronze, the group were very low after the semi final. We were struggling to get the group back on track for the play off. We received an email from the FRE Flyers telling us how much we (and the Flyers project) had changed lives for the good for this group of youngsters. The email was used in the team talk for that game, a great motivator for the group. On a personal note, it was reality and a light that was shining brightly through the doom of that Semi final. It was a light that has shone ever since. We never won that Bronze medal, but FRE Flyers legacy lives on………..4 years later. Some of the FRE Flyers are full time employed at our Olympic legacy hockey venue, some have moved on, many still play hockey. All are better people thanks to the FRE Flyers project.

How cool are these kids?  As an uncool 54 year old has been, I am learning a new language, “Newham parlance” The FRE Flyers are a sic bunch….lush.


Chris


He’s a very modest and unassuming chap but really relates to the kids and their stories. Chris Gladman joined the flyers around three years ago after being invited by Andy Halliday to join the coaching team. He felt he could relate to the kids as he describes that he came from a similar background. At the age of 12 he was taken off the streets of Hackney by a hockey coach and developed into quite a player and coach. 


Chris describes himself as a sports coach, working mainly at Chigwell School in Essex coaching hockey and football. He has played at international level at U16 and U21 indoor and outdoor. Chris, after some prying, discloses, “one highlight was playing in a World Cup in Vancouver, Canada in 1985. I was also in training squads for senior teams before the World Cup in 1986 and trained with GB squad that won Gold medal at the 1988 Olympics.”

He holds qualifications in hockey and football and has a phenomenal mind for coaching. He states, “I am a level 3 coach and have coached at National league level and also worked at National age group levels for England U16 and U18. I now work for myself coaching for numerous people and coaching from children to adults. Also from school, club, County and Regional level.”

He has a knack of getting to know his group within ten minutes of a session and can tailor the level to pitch the session at from that initial time. He is creative, innovative and can keep the kids motivated through any session. And they love him for it. 

When asked about coaching the FRE Flyers, Chris says, “The best thing is that I can relate to the FRE Flyers in the respect that I can encourage them to participate in hockey as I know that it is very rewarding. The FRE Flyers have great attitudes most of the time and are very committed.”  

Roger
Who are you? Roger [The Moustache!] Lilleystone 

Whats’s your day job? Retired police officer, now freelance hockey coach, specialising in disability hockey.

How did you get involved with the Flyers?
I had retired from the Metropolitan Police Service in 2012 and had kept in touch with my friend of many years Andy Halliday who asked me if I wanted to be involved with this project. 


Any challenges?
When individuals within the group have had personal difficulties and I feel that we act as more than coaches as they place a certain degree of trust in us.


The good times?
I have been to see them coming together playing as an 11-a-side team and winning!! Also to see some of them acting as Ball Patrol at the European Championships proudly representing the FRE Flyers.

Why are you still involved? Easy, the project is one that I firmly believe in and I feel that I am travelling on the journey with the youngsters. My aim is to be able teach the youngsters hockey and teamwork but also try and speak to them about getting work, how to present themselves. Also the pleasure of placing some of them with a local club (East London) and seeing them play regularly in League Hockey, and winning praise from club coaches and awards from their fellow players in their first season.
What do you love about the Flyers? The unpredictability, you never know what is going to happen next!! 

Your best moment with the Flyers? The day they won their first eleven-a-side match. The elation and the realisation that they could win.

Claire


Flyers supporting GB hockey at the European Championships


Who are you?
Claire Wibberley-Young

Whats’s your day job? I have just resigned from the Metropolitan police after 14 years to re-train as a secondary school Biology teacher.

How did you get involved with the Flyers? I was coaching at Stevenage HC setting up their Flyerz section and had met Andy Halliday a few times via various channels. I found myself stuck at a bit of a crossroads with hockey and Andy (and the FRE Flyers) helped to guide me back in the right direction. 

What’s been the biggest challenge? My first session I had to coach alone as all the other coaches were away. I was terrified, but the kids were so supportive and enthusiastic that I didn’t need to worry. The challenge was to kerb their recent increase in swearing during the sessions and we achieved it by working together. (And press-ups! They decided on that part themselves!) It was a massive boost that the kids asked if they could do some of the session again in later weeks!


What good times have you had?
Too many, but two that mainly stick in my mind. One was taking a team to Birmingham to play against Old Sihillians and a ‘Back to Hockey’ team at Orlton & West Warwick. My dad had been quite seriously ill and I hadn’t made training for about 6 weeks. When I saw the kids, they greeted me with massive hugs, and were so supportive! They played so well as a team that day too. It was the best I had seen them play together and they were so pleased, Mama Jo and I were so proud! 
Secondly, the training session and match against the Metropolitan Police ladies team in their training for the Police hockey finals tournament. A number of the flyers were a bit sceptical about playing a bunch of coppers, but after some solid defending denying Flyers goal scorer Jordan G from scoring and some tough game play, a small barrier was broken down in Newham that evening. And the Met girls went on to win their final! 


Why are you still involved?
I couldn’t imagine not volunteering to be involved. This project is so important to the local community and sport has shown to have a real influence. I have personally witnessed the Flyers grow, not only as players, but as people. Taking life by the horns, finding a new direction. Like Roger and the other coaches, I see this project as a journey of life, meaning and changing the future of the younger generation. 

What one thing do you love about the Flyers? That they can rock up in jeans and still pull of the most masterful moves on pitch. 



For more information about the FRE Flyers: 

Website : http://www.freflyers.co.uk/
Twitter: @FREFlyers 

Facebook: FRE Flyers Club

Virgin Money Giving: FRE Flyers Fundraising