Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just Do It Part 2 - Hockey

The Hockey Season is coming to an end. School and Club games finish this week and then there will only be a couple of weeks of the Representative season to finish with tournaments in the holidays. The Wellington Under 13 team are called "The Bears" and we will be playing in the Hatch Cup in Invercargill from October 3rd to 10th. Our Mascot is a well travelled bear who has already been to the South Island this year.

The Hatch Cup team is the pinnacle of primary school Hockey in New Zealand and 24 teams will be there for a week from all over the country. It is an honour to be picked and the boys have a real pride in playing for Wellington. We have played tournaments in Levin, Blenheim and Wanganui and have been improving all the time.

At the Blenheim tournament one of the dads arranged for us to visit the Air Force maintenance training base. My personal highlight was the Sioux Helicopter which you might recognise from "MASH".

The team has its own website where you can see more photographs of our adventures.

I was asked the other day what my "coaching philosophy" is. I guess it is to see kids having a real love of the game and growing in their ability, confidence and character through being part of the team.

I see some of these kids and their families 5 times some weeks. I enjoy seeing the team come together and trying to build a culture of encouragement and learning. We have fun together but I also think sport has a vital part to play in developing relationships, life skills and character for these guys. It is a privilege to be involved but it is often hard work and sometimes challenging.

The Bear has a wide variety of possessions including some alternate head gear. We have redefined the use of these for our campaign. The hat on the right is the "Genius" hat awarded for a piece of brilliance, the one on the left is the "D'OH" hat for an act which is at the other end of the spectrum. hats are awarded at the end of each game and must be worn until the next match warm up. It seems to work well and I am thinking of extending the idea by getting a couple of hats for TSCF staff. But I may wind up wearing the "D'OH" hat too much personally!

I have learned a lot about coaching this year and have enjoyed the professional and personal development that has come through the coaches club, mentoring and seminars. I want to be the best coach I can be and I feel that I have grown in my understanding and ability this year but there is still a lot to learn. It has been great building and continuing relationships with a wide range of boys and their families, some of whom I have coached for 3 years now.

The Wellington College Under 15A team had a tougher second half to the season with a couple of key players picking up serious injuries. We finished 5th which was just out of the semi finals. We played 17 matches, won 11 and lost 6 but we only lost to other school 1st XI.

Luke and Jamie have both developed in their play and it has been great fun. The team was a new initiative and in our final playoff we secured a spot in the P3 division for next season. This is a a step on from where we started this season and half the team will still be under 15 next season. We have the hockey prize giving for Wellington College on Monday evening.

The Hutt Primary Team has had a great season. This is the club 1st XI which I coach and Craig plays in goals for. We have played scored 16, won 14, drawn 1 and lost 1, scoring 77 goals and conceding 10. The final of the Primary Competition is on Saturday at 2.45pm. There will be a reasonable crowd there to watch and a great occasion for the team. Hutt boys have not won this cup very often in recent years. We are playing Kapiti, who are the only team that we have lost to but are looking forward to the game. Win or lose on Saturday they have been a great bunch of boys to work with.

Craig has been learning a lot about goalkeeping and has now played in three mini tournaments for the Wellington Under 11 Development Team. He has now played in 3 mini tournaments and has grown in confidence.

Craig's under 11 team will be playing in the Regional Tournament in Napier from September 28th to October 1st. Ailsa and the boys will go up for the week and I will go up for a couple of days to take in a few matches. He is looking forward to it.

Craig has a ritual at the end of each match where he sprints across to the rest of the team and slides in.

So we head into the last 3 weeks of the season with a lot to play for. Or as the bear would say,"Onwards and upwards"

As we get to spend time in God's creation and enjoy sport and friendship together it is the same thing that I would pray for the boys and their families. Onward and Upwards! :)


Ben Carswell said...

Steady on Nigel - 2 times in a day?!!
Looks like the picture of you (after the hats photo) is your "D'OH" pose for having been in the sun too long.
Let me know if the game is in the Hutt tomorrow & I/we may be able to come along & watch/support.

Must tell you about the Vince Lombardi & Wayne Bennett books I've been reading on coaching.

Nigel Pollock said...


Final is at NHS at 2.45 - most welcome to support.

Bet your Wayne Bennett book is not as good as the Wayne Smith book on coaching!!!