As Team GB build up to the Europeans Championships I thought that every so often I would share a few updates on our current Team GB activity to BISHA Members. I have no idea how this be received, but Id like to think that at the very least BISHA Members would appreciate being informed.
I was at Bordon on Sunday morning watching the Hawks v Oxford match. I also managed to catch a the end of an enthralling Youth match and there was certainly some young talent on display that I will be speaking to Tom Dickinson about - I noted a few names on shirts! The Youth and PeeWee age groups are fundamental to the survival of our sport and hopefully in the new BISHA era we will see more encouragement, direction and incentive for clubs forming teams at this level. We require not only the injection of a new generation of players, but also young players accompanied by passionate parents willing to volunteer and get involved.
I then drove to Hatfield and arrived just after the start of the Crusaders vs Panthers match. This was the Borehamwood club leading the way in terms of adopting the home and away fixtures strategy. I am still uncertain of this approach, however, home and away lays down a challenge to teams like Cardiff to come into Borehamwood's backyard and take points, which they did... just! As much as the future of our sport is certainly with rinks we cannot forget our roots of 'Street Hockey' and some epic physical encounters we used to witness at venues like Terry Marsh, Lewisham Riverside or even Leyton Baths... Can you believe we actually used to play 5 on 5 in these tight venues too! The Crusaders v Panthers match at Hatfield is as close as you will get to that now, so this was an opportunity for me to assess players who can play and operate in a physical match under the pressure with no time to dwell on the ball. Speaking to Alex Birch after the game he told me that he was on constant alert and how mentally draining it was for him as a netminder.
Since the matches at the weekend I have had a few players speak to me about Team GB this year and the opportunity to train. I'd like to think that the word is slowly spreading with regard to the culture and structure we are putting in place, last year's Team GB players are well aware of the importance I place on developing a club-like bond within our International set up. Other areas progressing at the moment is that both Jenna Dickinson and I are pursuing Team GB sponsorship opportunities with a number of Sports Technology Start Ups. I see such partnerships not only supporting us from a financial perspective, but also advancing technical development within the team or even within BISHA. In return potential sponsors can ride upon our brand of Team GB to promote their new business. We have a few Skype meetings lined up over the next 2 weeks, but already one particular lead is red hot and I am very hopeful of a new relationship.
Next weekend I am at Bordon both days, Team GB Training on Saturday and at league on Sunday, following this I will be announcing Team GB European Championship Team for 2019!
Tony Knock Team GB Coach Published 14:55 6th September 2019