A scheme to attract people back to hockey is kicking off in May and this year’s campaign promises to be bigger and better than ever.
The succinctly titled Back to Hockey campaign delivered around 250 sessions last year, with almost 4,500 participants. Hockey clubs around the country reported a genuine spike in numbers, with many coming along for the sessions and a large percentage being retained once the campaign had drawn to a close.
In fact the scheme isn’t limited to reintroducing people to hockey – first-timers are more than welcome too.
Back to Hockey sessions are fun, sociable and inclusive
Back to Hockey sessions are designed to be inclusive, sociable, fun and informal, a gentle (re)introduction to the sport. The sessions cater for all skill and fitness levels, and are not overly competitive. There is nothing to be nervous about and any fears or worries based on school experiences of hockey should be cast aside. Almost everyone coming ‘back to hockey’ is in the same boat, and participants report a welcoming and jovial atmosphere – borne out by the high retention levels the campaign has enjoyed.
And it’s a great way of getting fit too. Anyone who has played hockey will be well aware of its benefits – burning calories galore, improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone.
A case study on the England Hockey website reveals many of the Back to Hockey success stories. Wolverhampton and Tettenhall Hockey Club have been running Back to Hockey sessions since they were inspired by the London Olympics in 2012. Sue Myers, the clubs Back to Hockey co-ordinator, explains how they got started.
After the Olympics we looked at England Hockey’s initiatives and decided that Back to Hockey fitted our club well. We advertised the programme on our website, spoke to the mothers of our junior members and distributed flyers ahead of the sessions starting. Within a couple of weeks we had a regular turnout of 15 women of all ages and experience. We are still running regular Back to Hockey sessions and 10 of our Back to Hockey players are now full club members; playing league matches each week.Sue Myers – Wolverhampton and Tettenhall Hockey Club
Losing confidence is natural but you will quickly regain it
For many women it’s a case of re-engaging after careers, kids and families got in the way. It is natural to lose confidence during this time – almost everyone feels the same – and going along for the first time can be daunting. But the players at Wolverhampton tend to recount a reassuringly familiar experience.
Alexis told England Hockey:
I moved up to Wolverhampton from Wales after university and wanted to get back into a team sport as an alternative to the gym. Having not played hockey since school I didn’t feel confident about joining a club, but found the Back to Hockey programme online. At the first session I had to borrow a stick and didn’t have any shin pads, but loved it as soon as I got there! I felt at home straight away and all of the girls were lovely.Alexis – Wolverhampton and Tettenhall Hockey Club
It was similar for Rachel:
I had no intention of returning as it had been 20 years since I last played. My son had just started playing for Wolverhampton and Tettenhall Juniors and after a couple of weeks Sue asked if I fancied Back to Hockey. I thought why not. I’m now six weeks in, relearning all of the skills, it’s really enjoyable and I’m definitely carrying on.Rachel – Wolverhampton and Tettenhall Hockey Club
Back to Hockey takes place this year from 9th May to 19th June and you can find your nearest Back to Hockey session here. There is no better way of getting fit and enjoying sociable sport. Even if you don’t have a stick, find a session near to you, go along, get involved and enjoy! You won’t look back.
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