At Cumnor we aim to give children the confidence to play hockey and help them to develop their skills and understanding of the game. All players should have an understanding of every position on the field and will have an opportunity to play everywhere on the pitch throughout their time at Cumnor. Teams are rotated on a weekly basis and are selected based on the child’s development.
Junior Hockey (Year 4):
We start from the beginning by looking at how to hold a hockey stick, basic skills such as passing and receiving a ball as well as positional play. We look at finding space on free hits and help the children to hold their position on the field. We look to develop confidence on the ball that allows them to go forward and develop a goal scoring mentality. We also look at how we defend and our team positioning when we don’t have possession of the ball. Team play is very important at this point and all players will be rotated in a variety of positions.
We build on their basic skills and look at a wider understanding of the game. We introduce a variety of new skills such as hitting the ball, lifting the ball and dodges. An important step during this stage is that they have a better understanding of positional play and can identify space effectively. We help them to hold their positions in order to create space for others whilst also ensuring they are always offering a pass for the player on the ball. Strength on the ball becomes more important and their carrying position on the ball will allow them to give strong passes and protect the ball effectively. Understanding of the press is very important at this stage as we look at our top 4 players getting into a diamond shape in front of the ball. We look at the correct technique for tackling as well as how to channel players to the side line. All players should have an understanding of this concept.
Most seniors should have all the basic skills in place by now and have a secure understanding of positions, space and the press. We now look at effective decision making and allowing flair to become more apparent. We develop new skills such as chipping, double dodging, reverse stick passes and the jab tackle. We also coach players into knowing when to use specific skills and look at their decision making process through questioning. Players do become more position specific at this age and are refining position-specific skills. We encourage players to play well together and work as a team.