The launch of the Investec Hockey Academy, earlier this year, promises to welcome a new era in women’s hockey in South Africa. Founded on the phenomenal success of the Investec International Rugby Academy which to date has made a valuable contribution to the game, the Investec Hockey Academy aims similarly to offer a comprehensive platform, through professional support in the development of young players.
Based on the same winning formula as the rugby, the Investec Hockey Academy will bring together greats from the hockey arena together with young players from schools all over SA, to coach and share knowledge of their experience in the professional field.
The next set of courses will take place on Tuesday, 11 and Wednesday, 12 August at St Mary’s School in Waverley, Johannesburg.
General Manager of Investec Hockey Academy and current SA Women’s hockey player, Shelley Russell will be joined by an impressive line-up of coaches and players including a number of former World Cup, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and All Africa Games players.
Among the line-up of iconic coaches to train at the next courses are Olympic players Bernadette Coston (2012), Sanani Mangisa (2008), Clinton Panther (2012), Lloyd Madsen (2012), Rassie Pieterse (2012) and Thornton McDade (2008 and 2012). Participants can look forward to working closely with World Cup player, Tsoanelo Pholo (Indoor and Field hockey) and Lisa Deetlefs (2009), former captain of the SA Women’s team and current coach of the SA under-21 Women’s team, Lindsey Wright, Gauteng Sportswoman of the Year (2012) and the world’s top goal scorer, Pietie Coetzee – Turner, SA Women’s Head Hockey coach, Sheldon Rostron and international player, Miguel de Grasa (84 caps for SA).
“We try to give young, aspiring hockey stars a glimpse of what is required to fine-tune their skills and abilities. The Investec Hockey Academy is a platform where passionate hockey players can learn and improve their skill by being exposed to top-level coaching personnel. We hope to create an environment where young players can grow their games,” says Russell.
The Investec Hockey Academy, much like the Investec International Rugby Academy, aims to provide the best coaching available; however, the focus is on young ladies. The academy offers courses for players at different levels and allows players the opportunity to work closely with these coaches.
“We hope to identify and nurture talent from a young age and build a platform on which aspirations can take root and grow. If we can do this in an environment in which girls are motivated and enjoy their hockey, so much the better. A larger pool of talented, motivated hockey players can only benefit our national infrastructure,” explains Russell.
The Investec Hockey Academy’s courses address the physical and mental skills a hockey player needs in order to shape their skills and abilities. As a sports’ scientist, Russell is a firm believer in breaking down every aspect of the multi-dimensional game in order to improve a player’s performance.
“The courses we offer work on creating a dynamic, well-rounded athlete. Very important aspects such as mental toughness, functional ability, vision training, fitness, nutrition, recovery techniques, video analysis and athlete education in general are addressed at the academy. These aspects are vital in one’s sporting development,” emphasised Russell.
In order to accommodate all levels of school hockey, the academy offers players’ courses to scholars (aged 10 and up). The August academy will offer an Intermediate course (aged 12 to 15), an Advanced course (aged 16 to 18) and a Goal-Keepers’ Course (aged 10 to 18).
“Although we hope to identify and nurture future hockey stars through the program, we are by no means an elitist programme, and any female players with a desire to improve their hockey expertise are welcome to apply for attendance at the Investec Hockey Academy,” says Russell.
Investec Hockey Academy training is more than physical skills training, it allows for personal development through a comprehensive look at current international tactical and technical trends used by professionals, providing an understanding of what it takes to play at the highest level.
Russell, drawing on her international experience, believes that in order to make it as a professional hockey player, opportunities like the Investec Hockey Academy must be used in order to keep up with the ongoing changes to the game on an international level.
“I really feel that SA players have to work at twice the intensity of other nations in order to compete in a professional environment. In the absence of a full-time, professional programme, our international sportsmen have to make use of every opportunity presented in order to be competitive,” says Russell.
The Investec Hockey Academy’s player courses will commence from 11 and 12 August. To book contact Bernadine on 031 940 5565 or visit www.investechockeyacademy.com