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Junior Performance

Junior Performance

Oxford Hawks Talent Development

As player's make their way through the junior section at Oxford Hawks, it becomes apparent that some have the potential and desire to take their game as far as they can.

We already have many players involved in representative hockey, including County squads, Performance Centre's and National Age Group Squads, many of whom also represent the club in one of the Senior performance teams.

As such we recognise the importance and significance of adapting a Healthy Talent Culture and we utilise the guidance from England Hockey in implementing this, adopting the '4 P's' and RARE (Right athlete right environment) principle's.The '4 P's'

  • Person - every player is first and foremost a young person, so we establish what is best for them (often with parental / carer input) as a person. This generally means reviewing their overall well-being, including physical, mental, emotional and social aspects.
  • Player - we try to establish what is best for the player at all times. Questions such as; where and who should they be training with? What squad / team should they primarily be a part of? What does their 'playing load' look like including all non club hockey activities including representative and school hockey?
  • Performance - we recognise that performance applies to both on and off the pitch. Does the player know their own super strengths and areas to improve? Do they have the opportunity to work on specific aspects to their game and experiment? Are they clear on what is expected of them? We also have a recently introduced deselection process which applies to all junior's playing senior hockey to ensure they are fully aware of the areas to their game that need attention before making the step back up.
  • Partnership - with the person / player being at the centre of all our activities, it's important that all the stakeholders involved in the young person's development are in regular communication with the same objective - to help the player improve to whatever level they are capable of and desire to achieve. Stakeholders include the player, parent / carer, Junior coaches, Senior coaches, School coaches and representative coaches.

Application of rare principle

Right Athlete Right Environment

In practice this means we ensure that each young player's hockey is being stretched appropriately by the environment they are in. Generally these environment's are:

  • Training groups
  • Match day squads

As an example an U16 player may be part of the Senior 1st XI training squad, although they play for the 2nd XI on the weekend to ensure appropriate amounts of time on the pitch. They then may spend 2-3 weeks within the 1st XI match day squad, with reduced minutes but an opportunity to experience a higher level of play and performing environment, which will highlight the areas to be worked on for the next stage of their development.

They would also be a part of the U16 junior team, although depending on workload attendance at training may not work against them, and fixtures at this level allows them to develop their leadership and teamship abilities.

If you have any queries regarding Talent Development at Oxford Hawks please contact Drew Blackburn, our Director of Junior Coaching.

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