Head of Year 9 and Physical Education Teacher, Mr Wilford, shares his reflection on a term of hockey and how successful it has been.
As the dust settles on a busy and fulfilling term of hockey, now is a time for reflection, analysis and planning. Having joined the school four terms ago, I am delighted with both the potential and progress we have at Leweston. Participation in our hockey teams is at its highest ever: there are now fourteen girls’ teams and, for the first time ever, we look forward to having fourteen boys’ teams next term.
Hockey is a sport for all. A team sport, where each and every player is responsible for making attacks and defending too, it requires participants to work under pressure and at speed. Decision making and communication are key: the transferrable skills that make our team sports such excellent arenas for wider learning. Moreover, as a non-contact sport, hockey is accessible: pick up a stick and have a go!
The cloud of Covid meant we started the autumn term with some trepidation, and there have been a few cancellations and re-arranged fixtures, but we have largely been able to continue the programme, albeit with some flexibility. Having missed the 2020-2021 season, our teams had a bit of brushing up to do, but it quickly became clear that the players were up to the challenge.
My philosophy has always been that team sports are, at their core, about people. Thus, the focus has been on two elements: the skills required for the game but, equally, a commitment to teamwork and a shared vision and drive. Of course, there has been a need to ensure positional awareness and understanding of roles, responsibilities and tactics, as well as developing individual stick skills. Just as importantly, however, is the singing on the bus and the shared journey of highs and lows. This season has seen students being hugely invested, committed to training, reliable and positive. We are building a culture of hard work and playing with intensity and ambition. I instil in the players that, as long as we can come off the pitch knowing we have worked harder than the opposition, we can hold our heads high no matter what the final score.
Our girls’ first team lost their first game of the season 16-0 but won the last 7-1, reflecting the enormous investment they had made in each other, and it is fair to say there were one or two tears shed! Our girls’ under 11 team were runners up in the In2Hockey Dorset Tournament, both the Under 12 and Under 13 girls’ teams won in the same tournament and all three teams progressed to regional finals.
The future is bright. We have established good relations with local schools and links with clubs to encourage our students to take their interest in hockey to the next level. Our numbers are up and we have built some fantastic teams from which to grow. With more teams than ever playing next term, I hope to see some of you on the sidelines!