The inaugural Youth Hockey Tour to Perth, Australia, could only be described as an incredible success! Packing 32 kids age 12-16 onto a flight to Australia for a week’s worth of dedicated hockey training and playing was always going to be a mission. But with proper planning, the assistance of a great support team, both here and in Perth, we managed to achieve and surpass all the desired objectives.
The schedule was generally set around early morning wake-up walks and stretching, which, given the winter temperatures and early start times, was definitely a great way to get each day started. After breakfast there were morning training sessions and after lunch there were official tour matches. Evenings were set aside for a combination of education, relaxation and entertainment experiences.
As part of the ‘player education’ focus of the tour we arranged a number of Q&A sessions with notable hockey professionals. The tourists were first given the opportunity to hear from a small group of young athletes (early 20s) from around the world currently working and playing hockey in Perth. They were also treated to a visit from Ashley Nelson (205 caps for the Hockeyroos) and later spent time with Mark Knowles (current captain and 285 caps for the Kookaburras). Both are legends of the game and highly decorated athletes. Both also spoke about their experiences on and off the hockey field and emphasised many very valuable life skills worth noting. To cap it off, the tourists went to watch the Kookaburras training at the Perth Hockey Stadium as they put in their final preparations for the Rio Olympic Games.
Read Part 2 here…