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Schools Enter Into the Team Spirit

Gill Gemming, FIH Continental Developmental Officer (CDO) for Oceania, reports on a highly successful development programme staged during the Olympic qualifying tournament in Auckland.

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To maximise the opportunity provided by hosting an international tournament New Zealand Hockey Federation and Oceania Hockey Federation created a number of both participation and professional development programmes to run in conjunction with the tournament.

A school involvement programme was designed and offered to all surrounding schools. Once a school registered to be included they were sent a package of resources to assist the promotion and development of hockey within their school, an offer of a practical lesson by one of New Zealand’s Regional Development Managers and assigned a country to support. Free school visit sessions were available most days and a number of competitions ran throughout the tournament, recognising the schools efforts to support their designated country.

Embassies provided extra resources, such as flags, national anthems and fact sheets, for the schools to use to develop their knowledge of the countries, that they were supporting. A team of three Regional Development Managers met the schools at the gate and hosted them during their visit. This was beneficial to all parties as it created a useful link for further development of the sport in the school. Word find puzzles were supplied in the packs and were able to be handed in at the tournament for individual prizes. This was a great success and all schools got right into the spirit, dressing up in the countries colours, painting their faces and cheering enthusiastically. The teams responded well by acknowledging them after the game and also by signing small sticks that were presented to the schools.

An elite Secondary Schoolgirls Tournament, with eight invited teams, was run beside the main tournament over the last four days. This was created as part of a Women in Sport initiative to provide an opportunity for these girls to gain an exposure to elite Women’s sport, to experience playing at the main venue during the rest day and early on finals day, to have similar accreditation and to be able to watch international hockey. It was also a magnificent opportunity to be motivated by the role models that surrounded them. The three medal winning teams were presented with their medals during half time on Final Day by FIH officials and this was a highlight for these girls.

Oceania Hockey Federation supported the concept of providing development opportunites by funding an Oceania Elite Developing Women’s Umpiring and Coaching Seminar with participants from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. Robyn Bannerman, Australia, facilitated the seminar. The mornings were used to workshop and to receive presentations from umpires officiating at the tournament while the afternoons and evenings match sessions provided practical examples for further analysis and discussion. Two female coaches from Fiji and Tonga – Rebecca Wilson and Melise Vea – were mentored for several days by different elite level coaches as well as taking the opportunity to gather equipment and coaching resources to be used back at home

It was certainly an activity packed tournament but the positive feedback from all participants has made it very worthwhile utilising the opportunity that an international tournament provides.


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