CBHA Coach Tour Week 2 Review
After a much needed relaxing weekend at Darwin Lodge and a chance to recharge the batteries, coaching sessions resumed on Monday 28th August with junior and adult players. The break in between the 2 weeks development camp was much needed as Gary and Dave were able to appreciate more of the Islands than just Stanley.
Monday 28th - 31st August
Junior sessions carried on pretty much the same as week one, with a couple of new plays to learn and drills to practice. Juniors were learning very well and whenever a drill was shouted out they would follow eagerly without any problems. Throughout the week you could hear them all telling each other "its the apple tree drill" or "remember you are F2 not F3". It was great to see that all the had been learnt in the first week was being put into practice during exhibition games as players moved into the F2 position, passed, defended as a unit and attacked as a unit. They had really bough into the programme extremely well. Goaltenders especially were stepping up their games and were honing the butterfly skills much to the dislike of the outfield players!
Even though they were exhibition games, juniors were playing as if it meant something, cheering every check, shot, pass and goal. They were discussing with each other on the bench how to approach the next play, what line to utilise. It was incredible to see, especially as some of this kids were only 8! Some were even taking up the mantle of coaching.
It was also the last evening of training for the adult players and a chance to learn the final few drills as well as harness those that they had learnt. Much time was spent on training with a field of 5 players to enable them to get used to a larger squad in preparation for international duties. For me as a previous goaltender it was especially pleasing to see the adult goal tenders having improved drastically from day 1 of training. They had really bought into the coaching and because of this players were finding it harder to beat them.
On the night a special announcement was made to all the players in relation to an invitation for the Falkland Islands team to participate in the Plzen Cup in Czech Republic in February 2018. Coach Gary Slavin stated that this would be the perfect opportunity for the Falkland Islands team to experience an international competition in preparation for the World Championship in 2019. Gary is confident that the Falklands team has the necessary skills and abilities to compete in such a tournament. Both Gary and Dave have been impressed with the fitness levels, stamina, speed and strength of the players. All they needed now was to believe in their abilities and to prove to the world that they can compete at the highest level.
FIOGA Meeting: Tuesday 29th August
On the itinerary was an opportunity to meet with Falkland Islands Overseas Games Association (FIOGA) Chairman Mike Summers and Vice-Chairman Andy Brownlee to discuss all things ball hockey. Gary and Dave were able to talk about the development camp and the progress the junior and adult players had made. The vision of Falklands Xtreme Sports was shared and how we were working on sending an adult team to Worlds in 2019 and what it would require along with the plans for junior teams to attend and potential tours in 2018. Gary also presented the Plzen Cup tournament to Mike and Andy and discussed how this would be a great stepping stone for the Falkland Islands adult team to prepare themselves for World in 2019.
The construction of a ball hockey arena was also discussed and its requirements. FIOGA mentioned that there was substantial funds being provided by Government to built a multi-purpose arena that could cater for a ball hockey arena. Photographs and arena dimensions were provided to FIOGA along with floor material and boardings. During this discussion the FIDF parade ground was raised with Andy very keen to assist in ball hockey utilising this area for recreation purposes and was happy to look into boards being placed on the grounds. This is exciting news and something we are now working on with private companies to achieve as it would give us the floor space we would require to train and prepare for international tournaments. The parade ground has the right dimensions to field 5 v 5.
All in all a very good meeting held over a lovely meal in the Malvina House Hotel of which Gary and Dave were pleased. Dave especially enjoying the signature dish of breaded squid rings :)
Coach Sessions: 30th - 31st August
Adult players who had signed up to be junior coaches were treated to 2 nights of coach sessions with Gary and Dave. The sessions would be a mixture of learning materials, videos, handouts and practical activities. (Ed: these of which would result in much laughter!) Various plays and drills were taught and explained to coaches with the emphasis on ensuring everything was centered around the team. Gary who was feeling somewhat jaded after having had caught a bug during the junior training camp, sat on the side lines whilst Dave ran the show. Dave was pumped with energy and it was obvious to see that coaching meant a huge amount to him as his drive and passion showed through during the presentation and the activities. The Ki-A activity bringing the most laughs out of everyone, with Dave's Ki-A nearly scaring the life out of Tom Busbridge! Much laughter and banter was had as Kyran Evans tried hard to bring out his inner Ki-A only for the Arsenal jokes to overcome and him breaking out in laughter. Kyran especially has been there from day 1 with the coaches and has really learnt a lot from them, so massive thanks to him for coming along to help with each session, even though leaving him on his own for 20 minutes with the juniors nearly broke him :)
Some excellent videos were shown during the sessions to highlight various plays and how they can be utilised in various scenarios. Coaches looking on in deep thought and then feeling somewhat overwhelmed when seeing the size of the arena they would be required to play in. The last few activities of being blind folded to undertake various tasks was a hoot with landmines being dodged and rectangles trying to be built whilst tied together! The whole concept behind all of this was for coaches to understand leadership, communication and trust.
An epic end to the 2 weeks without a doubt.
Farewell Party: Friday 1st September
Friday was a chance for the coaches to rest as nothing had been planned apart from a meal at the Malvina House Hotel with players, coaches and Leisure Centre Manager Mark Cook and Sports Development Office Rafa Sotamayor. This was an opportunity for Dave and Gary to discuss with Mark the proposals for the ball hockey rink with him and what should be included in the design and how best to increase floor time for ball hockey players. As this was a clear objective for Gary and Dave that ball hockey players needed more floor time to what they currently have. Mark has been excellent in accommodating ball hockey as best as he can and no one envies the task he has trying to juggle all the clubs, however was receptive to the ideas proposed by Gary and Dave for a new facility and its schedule.
The evening then ended with the farewell party for Gary and Dave as well as a chance to present junior shirts to the 2017-18 teams and to present trophies to the adult team winners from the 2016-17 season. It was an epic night with a full crowd in attendance from parents, sponsors, players and juniors. Gary and Dave provided a review of the 2 weeks to everyone and explained the goals of Falklands Xtreme Sports and reiterated our desire to send teams to the Worlds for both juniors and adults. The party dwellers were provided with videos of the ISBHF, FITV report and videos of the juniors and adults in action over the course of the 2 week development programme.
Gary was able to present to the crowd the Plzen Cup and the plans for the Falkland Islands to send an adult team to compete. There was much discussion on this as parents were excited at the possibility of juniors attending in the future to this event.
Before the handing of shirts to juniors an announcement was provided by member Stevie Bennett (Ed: something that I was unaware of!). Stevie was happy to announce that the Falkland Islands Company (FIC) Ltd were donating a further £500 to Falklands Xtreme Sports to help with the purchase of equipment. These funds were from the sale of plastic carrier bags in FIC retail outlets. This went down extremely well with everyone praising the donation by FIC and all they continue to do for the club.
With those announcements out of the way the juniors eagerly waited for the presentation of their shirts. There were many happy smiling faces as Gary and Dave presented the shirts to them one by one before a team photo was taken. It was pleasing to see the enthusiasm from the players over something so small, but to them wearing a shirt for a particular team was the chance to show they were part of something special.
Adult trophies were presented to those 2016-17 winners with Marc Tibble getting the biggest laugh on the night as the FIC Xtreme Trophy was nearly as big as him :)
The party ended but not for many as they moved the celebrations on to the local pubs and a final chance for Dave and Gary to say goodbye to the many friends they have made during their short visit to the Islands. A few games of pool and some dodgy dancing later and it was time for bed to ensure they were fit and healthy for the plane off the Islands.
It was a sad day to have to finally say goodbye to Gary and Dave as they had truly affected me with their passion and energy they had brought to not just the ball hockey programme but the Islands in general. They truly are two top blokes who are very passionate about the sport of ball hockey. The ISBHF and CBHA should be extremely proud to have these two chaps spreading the word for them and passing on their knowledge and experience to others.
So this is not farewell but "see you later chey". Until next time safe journeys and all the best in the world. Me well I now have to get some game sheets printed off as ball hockey season has finally arrived! ITS GAME DAY PEOPLE!!!
But first I need to do one more thing.............