World hockey is changing, with more professional high performance environments, higher quality opposition and more demanding challenges on our players, coaches and participants. We don’t want to just keep up, we want to win on the world stage. We need to find ways to bridge the gap between our national competition and the international game.
We need to better connect community hockey and high performance hockey, so that players, coaches and umpires can aspire to be the best they can
How will these changes better develop our talent?
We want to add to our traditional focus of developing teams by focusing on developing talented individuals to compete at the highest level.
We must have quality coaching with the right players at the right time in the right environments underpinned by quality domestic competitions.
Emerging players will be provided with a personalised development programme over a minimum of two years. These programmes will be run through a decentralised programme, delivered in partnership with Associations across the country. We are calling this ‘participant centred’ approach the performance network.
These changes allow identified players to continue to play for their local association and stay at home longer. Travel and costs will be reduced.
What does the Performance Network look like?
The Performance Network is a collaboration of Hockey New Zealand and Associations to be the connector between community hockey and high performance hockey, where players, coaches and umpires can learn to be the best they can be.
There are specialist Hockey New Zealand staff supported by Association staff and coaches to ensure we can develop individuals based on their needs.
Hockey NZ will begin by employing three Performance coaches, covering the South Island, lower North Island and upper North Island. We will use the support of Coaches in Associations where identified participants are based.
Will all the better players need to be based in Auckland?
No, players will be able to decide where to base themselves based on the priorities in their personal plans.
The strategy will cluster players together when needed allowing the number of players identified to create meaningful training groups for core hockey skills such as technique, decision-making, game understanding and positional play.
There will also be specialist camps for players, as well as options to join the training groups for weekend or short-term camps when required.
Is there still an Under-18 and Under-21 programme?
Hockey NZ will still provide an Under-18 national programme and this will be based on identifying players and supporting them in camps. This is the first connection to the performance pathways. There are multiple entry points in to programmes, no matter the age of players as we know hockey has ‘late developers’.
Associations continue to lead the development programmes for players under 18 as well as older players not identified as part of the Performance Network. Together we will ensure identification is a process that happens over time and is not hinged on one off events.
The National U21 programme is our first performance team competing internationally. Prepared around Junior World cups and International friendlies a national squad is selected each year with the programme consisting of camps and competition.
Both of these programmes are still a critical part of the journey for young players.
What if some Associations don’t have the resources to deliver these changes?
Hockey NZ will partner with Associations and agree what can be offered. They acknowledge the considerable level of care needed in supporting Associations through the transition.
What does people first mean?
People are at the centre of your sport and Hockey NZ is recognising that by investing more time and money into a people-focused Performance Network. This will shift the focus to the individual, providing tailored development programmes to meet their needs. With Hockey NZ leading the Network and Associations driving local delivery we aim not to add more quantity to participants work-load but more to the quality of players experiences.