The last six Sunday mornings have been all about Hockey and it’s been great. Finlay, Ava and I have been trying out a new course run by England Hockey called Hockey Heroes, designed for children aged 5-8 who are new to the sport.
“Hockey Heroes is a fun and empowering programme aimed at children aged 5-8 that aims to develop both their physical skills and character “super powers” helping them unlock the hero inside them!”
Before their first session they both receive a package in the post which creates much excitement. Inside is a t’shirt with their name on, two hockey sticks (one smaller than the other) a ball and some stickers to label and decorate their stick with. Finlay wastes no time in getting out in the garden to practise, whilst Ava has to wait a little longer due to a broken wrist, bad timing! In the pack there are also tips for parents on how to encourage their kids to practice at home.
There is also a quick online questionnaire for them to complete and a little animated video to watch, which helps to build the excitement for starting the course.
Each Hockey Heroes, one hour, session starts with some games where the adults are encouraged to join in. This is particularly good for Ava as she turns 5 halfway through the course and is the youngest and most unused to sports clubs within the small group. It helps to make her feel more confident right from the start.
Every session is unique focusing on helping the children develop some physical hockey superpowers including dribbling, passing and goal scoring. Each week the skills are built on and gradually put together, for example, dribbling to score a goal.
I really like the emphasis placed on the character development super powers during the course, teaching children sport is more than just physical skills. It includes team work, communication, perseverance and respect.
The regular ‘Hero huddles’ during the sessions are great for building confidence and passing on praise, for showing both the physical and character skills, with quick feedback for the kids which is so important at their young age.
Each Hockey Heroes session is fast paced and with plenty to keep them all engaged. Finlay and Ava particularly like collecting bands for showing skills which they place on their hockey sticks and count up at the end of the sessions.
At the end of each week they also receive reward stickers, focusing on the different superpower skills they have shown, which stay on their sticks.
Both Finlay and Ava had lots of fun throughout the course and finished with increased confidence. I’m pleased they had this good experience of team sports together which will hopefully encourage them to enjoy more sports going forward. Hockey is great as it is an inclusive sport that welcomes boys and girls of all shapes, sizes and ability.
To find your nearest club running the Hockey Heroes course head to www.hockeyheroes.co.uk It’s great value at £32 for the 6 sessions and hockey equipment pack.