In 2012 Hockey New Zealand rolled out Small Sticks, our nationally branded junior participation programme, the perfect introduction to our fast and fun game. The aim of Small Sticks is to provide a quality hockey experience for children and whānau to foster a lifelong love of hockey. It’s all about playing with friends and learning new skills in a fun, safe and games-based environment.
The success of Small Sticks stems from having a nationally consistent approach to game formats, equipment, lesson plans, coach and umpire development, communication along with consistent branding. This has enabled us to provide a more consistent hockey experience which is available to more people throughout New Zealand.
Small Sticks is made up of four different modules all tailored to a child’s age and ability and based on a climate of development. Each module is delivered with appropriate equipment and game formats for their level of development – simply the right stuff, with the right people, in the right way!
The first module is Fun Sticks and as the name suggests, it’s all about introducing children to hockey in a safe and exciting way. Aimed at 5-6 year olds the focus is on developing fundamental movement and basic hockey skills such as running, striking, as well as body and spatial awareness.
As children get older and their skills progress, moving on to different phases of the junior programme, continuing to learn basic hockey skills and being part of a team. Mini Sticks, aimed for 7 & 8 year olds sees the budding stars play six-a-side version of the game divided into two options; development and standard competition streams. This provides those brand-new to the sport an opportunity to join in at their level and experience.
By the time the children reach 9, they’re moving on to Kiwi Sticks, before continuing through the programme on to Kiwi and finally Kwik Sticks.
Small sided versions of the game provide a more effective learning environment for the children maximising participation – More touches of the Ball + More Involvement = Better Skill Development + More FUN!.
Small Sticks isn’t just about getting children involved as a player, hockey can easily become a family affair. Parents and whānau make great coaches, managers and umpires at this level. Our Associations across the country provide great support and ongoing development no matter what experience you have.
Small Sticks In-School Programme
The aim of the Small Sticks In-School programme is to build a hockey legacy within schools, getting children interested and hooked on hockey. It is also about the association building strong relationships between the school, the club and the coaches. The programme includes teacher support, a minimum of four delivery sessions with an accredited coach, a comprehensive equipment kit, hockey resources and recruitment material to help engage children and their parents, as well as a festival day at the completion of the programme.