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A Programme for the Development of Youth Hockey in Bulgaria (2002 - 2006)

This Programme has been approved by the Bulgarian Hockey Federation Executive Board on the July 31st 2002


The present programme for the development of youth hockey is closely connected to the National Programme for the Development of Physical Education and Sport (2002-2006) adopted by the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Bulgaria.

In spite of the fact that a Law for PE and Sport has been enforced in 1996, we are faced to a gradual withdrawal from financing sport on the part of the State. It remains true for the Bulgarian hockey as well. Taking into consideration that the Sports Lottery still remains the crucial funding source for our sport, it is self-evident the necessity of searching for additional partnerships from sponsors, local authorities as well as other revenue sources. Such an approach would ensure not only a maintenance of the current state but also an expansion of hockey game in the country in ensuing future, which is a strategically important undertaking, i.e. attaining a quality change in both the structure and organization of training and competing process. The hockey game is a relatively new sport in Bulgaria with a commencement dating back almost 10 years ago. At present, there are 16 hockey clubs with a status of full membership within the Bulgarian Hockey Federation (BHF).

Our data reveals that since 2001, some 1200 hockey players have been involved within the youth hockey system, of which 100 in youth hockey schools and another 1100 in school hockey courses. They have been organized within 40 training groups (5 and 35 respectively). Some 21 coaches, of which 5 on payroll and 16 part-time have been engaged in training process. These figures, however, are not always precise yet they show and direct attention how to proceed working with the youngsters.

The above figures also reveal that the Youth Hockey Development Committee must do its best to:

  • increase the number of youths wishing to practise hockey and in this regard to continue setting up new clubs within the four zones established across the country;
  • improve its work related to the quality of training process, and
  • continue to insist upon the FIH, the EHF and the BHF for organizing more coaching seminars tailored for highly motivated and enthusiastic coaches which would provide more stable grounds for selection.

Main Priorities

The Youth Hockey Development Committee sets out the following priorities as a backbone of its work during 2002-2006 period:

  1. Promoting hockey game among youths in Bulgaria;
  2. Establishing new hockey centres throughout the country;
  3. Optimizing the structural model of the school-based hockey schools as well as the youth hockey schools within existing hockey clubs;
  4. Introducing hockey game as a free of choice course within the primary and secondary schools;
  5. Improving hockey pitches, equipment and related outfit;
  6. Improving the quality of training, competing and educational work with youths;
  7. Fighting against the increasing level of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity among young people as a major problem for society as a whole.

Aims and Objectives of the Programme

This programme sets out as its main aim to define and direct the attention of the hockey clubs, the BHF and its arm-of-state organs toward the crucial managerial, organizational, methodological, financial and personnel related facets of youth hockey, upon which the future existence of hockey as well as the opportunity Bulgaria to occupy an honourable place among the world`s hockey elite depend.

To achieve the main goal as stated above this programme should accomplish the following objectives:

  • building an optimal organizational structure and relevant leadership in compliance with contemporary socio-economic and legislative conjuncture in Bulgaria;
  • creating both an adequate training methodology and a contemporary competition system for youth hockey players;
  • implementing an efficient system for coach selection, training and qualification as well as introducing in practice a real mechanism for coaches` assessment, payment and rewarding (both material and moral);
  • asserting hockey as a free of choice school discipline;
  • reducing the scale of youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

Structure of Youth Hockey

Given the fact that hockey game is still not included in schools` PE curriculum the BHF and local hockey clubs, therefore, should direct their efforts to the following structural forms to be furthered:

- school-based hockey schools

- youth hockey schools

- sporting classes

- youth camps

Hockey within the schools

  1. The hockey clubs should take the lead-up altogether with the local municipal councils for youth sport development to ensure the conduction of inter-school championships in two stages, i.e. autumn – spring cycle.
  2. Relying on the existing numbers of school aged players, the hockey clubs should make selection of 8-10 years old pupils and setting up the relevant training groups.

Hockey within the State Sporting Schedule

The State youth championships between existing hockey clubs are divided into five ages:

  • pupils up to 10 and 12 years old    
  • boys and girls aged 14      
  •  junior boys and girls aged 16      
  • junior boys and girls aged 19        
  •  men and women

It is planned the country to be divided into four hockey districts.

After completing the final tournaments some 25-30 gifted boys and girls aged up to 14 will be selected with whom 7-10 days lasting training camps, at the expense of the BHF, will be conducted under the supervision of the national coaches.

Hockey camps

This organizational form is aimed at promoting hockey among the youths throughout the country. In fulfilling this objective the BHF intends to organize two camps annually – summer and winter respectively. During these camps the youths will be taught playing not only hockey but also creating crucial habits such as hygiene, fairplay and friendship.

1.      Youth selection.

The number of youths wishing to play hockey needed is approximately 240 in total as the most appropriate capacity. They will be trained by 16 students with a hockey speciality graduated the leading educational establishment in sport in Bulgaria – the National Sports Academy (NSA). The training process will be supervised by experienced tutors from the same institution. The selection process is going to be conducted through an advertising campaign in the schools. A specially tailored questionnaire, accompanied by an advertising brochure, will be distributed among both the kids and their parents. After completing the camps the children could proceed their training in the hockey clubs. After organizing these first camps we would like to exchange this experience with our foreign counterparts through mutual exchanges.

2.      Coaches.

The training process will be pursued, as stated above, by graduates as well as fledglings both with a hockey speciality from the NSA. The staff engaged consists of a camp manager; 16 coaches being also in charge of recruiting children as well as their parents as future hockey volunteers; a physician, and a physiotherapist.

Resource Provision of the Programme

a)     financial resources (see table 1)

  1. At least 50% out of the BHF and hockey clubs` budgets to be invested in youth hockey development.
  2. The BHF, through mutual partnerships with the FIH, the EHF, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, as well as business sponsorships and donations, is engaged to provide free of charge sticks, balls and goalkeepers` kits.

Table 1. Funding provision of the Programme (2002-2006)

Finances (in BGL)






School hockey






Internal competitions






International competitions






Camps, national teams






Coaches, physicians payment






Kits, sticks, balls






Facilities rentals






Scientific and publishing activities












Pitches building












Note: Current exchange rate - 1 BGL=1.96 Euro

b) required equipment provision

  • Sticks
  • Balls
  • Goalkeepers outfit
  • Training kits
  • Video cassettes
  • Fun equipment

c) scientific and methodological provision

The BHF should:

  • conduct various tests on children practising hockey within the 8-10 age span
  • select as taller as possible goalkeepers and middle players
  • organize seminars with young hockey coaches
  • produce and distribute training films for primary tuition
  • publish a specialized programme for hockey training
  • file all the gifted youth hockey players


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