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Hockey Development Squads

As the club continues to grow we thought it would be useful to let everyone know a bit more about the East Lothian development squads, what they are and how we interact with them.

There are two main development squads that Gullane kids participate in:

Under 12’s

This is for P6 and P7 kids. It runs on a Tuesday afternoon throughout the school year and this year there are only 40 spaces.  The kids get superb coaching, an extra hour and a half of hockey a week and usually a couple of matches as a development squad, which is great fun for them.

If anyone has been along to our tournaments they will appreciate there are a lot of excellent P6 and P7 kids in Dunbar, Haddington, North Berwick and Meadowmill, never mind that places are offered out across all East Lothian schools. So the competition will be pretty fierce.

Fortunately we also have a fantastic pool of kids, and the numbers keep going up (which is brilliant) so we will need to do a bit of selection ourselves this year, see below:

Under 10’s

This is a slightly different proposition to the U12’s as it runs on Monday evenings but just for two sets of roughly 8 week blocks. One block in the Autumn term and the other starts around Easter.

The under 10 squad is only selected from the five clubs that participate in our festivals, it’s not run through the school network as well. So this is a fantastic opportunity for our P4 and P5 kids to get an extra hour of hockey a week and continue to hone their skills.

This year our under 10 category (P4 and P5) age groups are quite simply HUGE!

Gullane Hockey have over 40 kids in this age group, and we simply can’t send all of them to a trial, nor would we want to for reasons of logistics, managing their expectations etc.

Which brings me nicely on to selection, and how we do it.

Selection process

This is really tricky for our coaches, who are all parents as well, so completely understand that all the kids would love to go.

Fortunately over the years we get to know the kids pretty well. We not only see them on Sundays and Wednesdays doing their skills and drills, but in the mini games at the end of each session and the festivals before Christmas and the tournaments after Christmas.

The coaches will be using our previous background knowledge of the kids, and looking at 3-4 main aspects that the selectors look out for at the trials. Please remember all our coaches are parent volunteers, and they aren’t all there every week.

  • Energy and enthusiasm – happy willing kids who pay attention are more likely to get picked.
  • Strong basic skills – stopping, passing, dribbling, tackling in drills and on the move during a game. Check out the Indian dribbling homework on our website.
  • Team work – hockey isn’t an individual sport, so running to get into space or get back to tackle when we don’t have the ball is crucial (and just for reference quite a few of the girls especially struggle with this concept)
  • Getting stuck in – really encourage them to ‘participate’ in the games, those who are shrinking violets don’t tend to get noticed at trials.

So that’s more or less it, other than attendance, we can’t really pick the kids if we don’t see them, so get them there as often as possible on a Sunday and Wednesdays.

Each year we see different kids improve their hockey at different rates, some who weren’t brilliant last year will be superstars by the end of this year, so we as coaches watch and talk about the kids all the time.

The coaches will share emails over the first few weeks of this session and then we will invite some of them to attend a trial, I really wish it could be more but c’est la vie.

If your child is unlucky this year don’t panic, our aim at Gullane is to provide good coaching and great opportunities for all the kids.