With 2021 designated the Year of the Youth, the FIH Academy is inviting project proposals from hockey associations and continental federations from around the globe. As the restrictions on play caused by the global pandemic are slowly but steadily lifting, so hockey organisations are beginning to think about a return to play for current participants and how to encourage more people into the sport.
Projects that gain the support of the FIH Academy are those that are aimed at youngsters and have inclusivity, learning, development, and progression at their heart. The projects can focus on grass roots hockey, elite development or a combination of both, the main aim is to show young people what a fun and progressive sport hockey is. One such project is ready to hit the start button now.
The Southern Warriors Hockey Academy, which is based in Gauteng, South Africa, has been developing and planning a programme that aims to really expand hockey in the local region, offering participants a chance to take up the sport and to achieve whatever level of attainment they are capable of.
At the heart of the Southern Warrior’s plans is a pledge to provide equal access to all potential participants. This is a particularly pertinent point for this progressive club as it is located in a region with areas that suffer a high level of poverty. The Southern Warriors project will support the learning and progress of the players by supplying equipment to those who cannot access it for themselves. This has been made possible by support from sports equipment and clothing providers Extreme Edge Sportswear and TK Hockey SA.
The initiative aims to cater for players of all levels, from grassroots hockey through to high-performance level. In the first instance, the programme organiser, Laurenzo Thomson says the programme will cater to 100 players, across all age groups.
The project targets three stages of the development pathway as outlined by the FIH Academy: Start, which enables players to learn about the game and start to participate in hockey; Play, which caters for players up to 18; and Stay, which is the part of the pathway that keeps players involved in the game as adults.
Responding to the first project proposal for the Year of the Youth, FIH Academy Director Mike Joyce says: “I wish to congratulate Southern Warriors Hockey Academy on both their excellent project and for being the first to register with the #HockeyInvites Year of the Youth 2021. We are delighted to share their project and all others who are helping to grow youth hockey participation around the World. I would encourage all projects to register at www.fih.academy/yoty2021”