Beginners and casual hockey opportunities
Hockey Wales realises that it must provide more opportunities for both beginners, young and old, and for people wanting or needing casual hockey playing opportunities, as an alternative to the club environment. Hockey Wales believe that this would help cater for people who are unable, reluctant or unwilling to commit to club hockey.
For example, this could apply to a young child who may not have the confidence to join a club, or for example, an ex-hockey player who is unable to meet the weekly demands of club hockey but who still enjoys the playing. By providing new opportunities for such audiences Hockey Wales will be helping to increase physical activity levels and creating the "stepping stones" for some people to become club members. Informal or casual activities (e.g. five-a-side football) typically have very high unaffiliated levels. By taking the lead role in providing new casual hockey playing opportunities Hockey Wales will be able to construct a suitable affiliation system.
Hockey Wales's Agents currently run Fun Centres and Skill Centres for children and young people who are either completely new to the sport and who aren't members of clubs, or who don't have a local club junior section that they can join. These Centres provide core skills coaching and small sided games in blocks of 4-10 weeks. Afterwards, Agents signpost children to local clubs and organise regional tournaments involving teams from every Centre. Skill/Fun Centres are a good way of introducing hockey to children and also provide a hockey opportunity for those children whose main sport may be something else. They are also an excellent environment for developing young volunteers and coaches.
Fun Centres cater for the under-11 age group and Skill Centres for 11-15. Where the age range needs to be broader still, for example in a remote rural location or at a venue where hockey has never been introduced before, the Skill Centre title is preferred.