The Welsh Way

With the Hockey for Life Framework, we have a clear and consistent performance pathway for those wishing to get involved in the game. Our aim is to develop ‘the Welsh way’, which allows for the potential to grow and succeed under a clear philosophy.

This philosophy places the emphasis on the player. Players are the centre of attention and developing them as a whole (holistic development) is our prime concern. We want to provide our players with the right competitive outlets appropriate for their development needs.

This philosophy permits a holistic and longitudinal focus on player development and aims to encompass all aspects; technical, tactical, physical conditioning, sport psychology and lifestyle, over a period of time.

Key Fundamentals

We embrace this talent development philosophy because it allows us to: 

  • Create ‘stretch’ for players and move towards assessing appropriate learning rates
  • Move away from snapshot trials and competition-based assessment to de-emphasise winning as a marker for success.
  • Develop intrinsic motivation and long term commitment alongside player development and to encourage increased player responsibility in their personal learning.
  • Record and review personal achievement and progress in order to prepare and support any player through transitions in their development.

Tiers of Support

There is a very real awareness that sports performance is affected by personal, lifestyle and environmental factors. Each player’s journey to reach their full potential is unique. With this in mind, we understand through all journeys there will be peaks and troughs, which are simply transitions that are determined by constraints, both internal and external.

We recognise the need for providing a range of interconnected performance environments, which allow a player to flow through the system at a pace relevant to them. Even if the flow isn’t always moving forwards, there are opportunities for a player to train at an appropriate level or tier. This is where Tiers 2-4 come into play.

Tier 2 is where the performance training begins. Due to the unique geography of Wales it is difficult to have national centres close together. Because of this, we realised more local delivery was essential, meaning we now have 7 centres across Wales. The 360 branding allows for a holistic delivery of hockey - A method that allows for deliberate coaching towards the more commonly known 10,000hr practice model. Players gain knowledge in areas of fitness, psychology and lifestyle to support their personal development.

The journey from T2 is through the National Age Group (NAG) Programme.

We currently have two groups at T4 NAG - U-18 boys and U-18 girls. Within these groups will be players aged 13-18 who have chosen to follow the Hockey Wales pathway and gave shown the potential, work ethic and commitment needed to reach their goals. Having NAG players in the ‘stage not age’ training groups allows them to really develop their skills at a time scale that’s perfect for them. It also allows them to really understand playing philosophy, tactics, and strategy and core skills. This way, they can development the skills consistently and steadily across the whole group.

Competition

Hockey Wales will still have U-16 and U-18 international teams who will compete in a range of test events, home nations and Europeans. Additionally, we will have the opportunity to showcase mixed age teams and allow them to play international friendlies to fully support the development of players.

T4 Senior teams will compete in Home Nations, Europeans, World League and Commonwealth Games events. These players can be nominated to train with the Senior Performance Training Squads through the NAG programme. Alternatively, they can apply independently (post 18 years old) direct to Hockey Wales.

T5 is an elite programme called AspireGB, funded by Talent Cymru. This assists a small number of high level players in working towards the Great Britain programme.