Academies and Centres
England Hockey has introduced a number of significant changes to the way hockey operates in England, the most fundamental of which has been replacing the old five Regions (East, Midlands, North, South and West) with eight new Areas (East, London, Midlands, North West, South Central, South East and Yorkshire & North East) and effectively restructuring the hockey pyramid from grass roots to the Premier Division of the National League. Such changes have been substantially implemented throughout the country. In addition, England Hockey is introducing changes to the talent development pathway, first by a new accreditation system for youth hockey by appointing qualifying clubs as Talent Centres and, secondly, by replacing the old Performance Centre system with appointed Talent Academies based at a number of selected clubs.
Talent Centres (ages 12-15)
Talent Centres will be identifiable by their accredited status and will be able to use England Hockey’s Talent Centre logo to promote their centre. Talent Centres will set high standards of delivery and accredited clubs will be expected to provide exceptional early talent development environments. Talent Centres are primarily aimed at players between the ages of 12 and 15 years. In August last year EH announced its assessment of the 120 applicants and Old Loughtonians was included amongst the first cohort of 37 clubs nationwide who have been offered the opportunity to work towards accreditation. The Club is now nearing the end of the long process of demonstrating its ability to meet the required standards set down by EH. The Club has already been awarded Clubmark status for another three years which covers half of the requirements. Details of our Clubmark accreditation can be found on our website. Old Loughtonians has a long history of developing youth talent and success in national junior and youth competitions and we believe that Talent Centre accreditation will not only be a recognition of the past, but will also underpin our junior and youth development programme for the future.
Talent Academies (ages 15-18)
In addition to Talent Centres, England Hockey is also introducing fundamental changes to the way that high quality coaching is delivered to our most talented older youth players. Up to and including this season, the most talented players between the ages of 15 to 18 years have been selected for Performance Centre training in various locations throughout the country. Some of our senior coaches have been involved in the PC process for sometime and many of our players have progressed through that pathway. During the course of this season, we have had 23 players selected for PC training three of whom have gone on to be selected for National Age Group Squads. The PC programme will be discontinued and replaced by a Talent Academy programme. It is intended that Talent Academies (TA’s) will be exceptional environments for approximately 500 high potential players per gender (across England and Wales) aged 15 to 18 years. TA’s will become centres of excellence in their locality. They will be hubs to train and develop selected talented players with high quality coaches and be a source of expertise and support to their catchment area. This will be a very significant development, not only for the clubs that host TA’s, but also for the development of aspiring talented players. The Cub is one of only 17 clubs across England to have been offered a three year licence to run a Talent Academy.