If you would like your children to play hockey you may have to track down your local club to give them the opportunity. The majority of junior and primary schools do not include hockey in their curriculum and most children do not get the chance to play in school until they reach senior school at the age of eleven. Even then it may not be a sport that is widely played. Indeed I went through school without playing a single game of hockey.
Most local hockey clubs have a junior or colts section. The game is probably more widespread than you think in the U.K. with over 1000 clubs. It is estimated that around 23,000 juniors are registered with clubs throughout the country.
If your child does join a hockey club then you can expect them to receive weekly coaching from qualified coaches. They may also expect to play in competitive and friendly matches against other clubs once they have mastered how to use a stick and the rules of the game.
Coaching and Practice Times
Coaching normally takes place at weekends. For older children evening sessions may be available. The majority of hockey clubs now have access to artificial pitches. With many of these pitches also benefiting from floodlights there are few problems arranging training sessions. It is rare to find holiday courses though.
Children Start From Age 9
Clubs tend to take children from around the age of nine, although others offer coaching from as early as six years. Young children are often introduced to hockey through mini hockey. This is a seven a side version of the adult game and is played on half sized pitches. It is considered a safer version of the game for young children to play. There is also a National Mini Hockey Competition that a large number of clubs and also schools compete in.
Children under 14 can also take special tests to win Stix Skills Awards. These are available through clubs. There are four levels to aim for. Points are awarded towards an award based on the skills a child has developed in scoring goals, dribbling around cones and lifting the ball over a stick.
Charges for Joining a Club
Charges for joining a club will differ from club to club. You can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £50 per year for club membership. Some clubs will charge small match fees on top of this figure. Hockey sticks are provided, although some children like to have their own. Kit for matches is normally provided as well, although you will be expected to provide standard sportswear for training. You will need a gum shield or mouth guard. These are available from local sports shops.
Making Friends Playing Hockey
Hockey is another avenue to help children make friends and to meet other children with a similar interest. Obviously it is another sport that provides children with a healthy work out. Looking at the fees it is also one of the cheaper sports for children to play and compares favourably when compared to sports such as tennis.
Find a Hockey Club
If you would like to find a club in your local area you can find a searchable list on the English Hockey website Hockey Clubs