Hockey Ireland's juniors creating an athlete centred environment in which players have far more autonomy for their development.
Irish Hockey is somewhat on an upward trajectory given the Senior Side finishing runners-up at the 2018 Women’s World Cup.
Ireland’s journey to the World Cup final created one of the biggest moments in Irish sporting history with the team originally going into the tournament as the second-lowest ranked team.
We initially started working with the Ireland U21 squad but have become more and more interested in the way the sport is quickly growing at all levels in the country.
The challenge for the sport is therefore to continue to build on the structures put in place over the last few years and leverage the momentum from the World Cup. Even just a couple of years ago the players themselves were asked to fund their place on the International team from Senior Level down to U16.
When David Passmore assumed responsibility for the Women’s development programme he wanted to bring in more opportunities for players to reflect on their performances with the use of video.
Given the Junior Green Army come from all over Ireland, both North and South with others based in colleges in England or clubs in Europe, he came to Coach Logic recognising the appeal of Cloud-Based software and mobile apps.
In August, the U21’s played a three-match series against England. in the image above, the team had been tasked to review specific aspects of the game in groups and formulate the game plan for the subsequent match. The players created tags and discussed these in groups, only drawing on the coaches’ input where necessary.
After the majority of the team’s games, the tagged footage is uploaded to Coach Logic. As David alludes to, match review can be completed individually and in groups at team meetings.
Initially, the majority of footage uploaded was for the Under-21 squad but as more video became available for the younger squads they’d also get involved following similar processes discussing video clips in the app.
The Junior Green Army represents players from different parts of Ireland and interestingly girls with a range of sporting backgrounds, with some having played football, cricket and even dancing to a high level. The input from these girls is therefore vital and in line with Irish Hockey’s desire to provide more autonomy for player development to enhance their understanding of the game and decision making skills within it.
Amongst the squad, there are a number of players who have used Coach Logic through their club sides, notably Railway Union, UCD and Monkstown. Avoca and Corinthian Hockey Clubs are also engaged Coach Logic users as well allowing us conversations among several different regions of Ireland.
As evidenced above, the Junior Green Army have a progressive culture within their squad. Without being involved day-to-day we obviously can’t suggest just one determining factor that’s led to the recent improvement. It’s nice however to think that it’s down to people like David developing the athlete centred environment and the feedback culture that is evident.
Coach Logic has transformed our program, both while we are working remotely spread around Ireland and when we are together as a group. All games and training can be shared with individual athletes able to access their own tags and linking in with the coaches. Similarly, the ability for the players to work from their own computers when on camps allows them to work on small group tasks and has shortened our meetings down.
Overall this has created an athlete centred environment in which athletes have far more autonomy for their development, yet can have ongoing and more regular contact with the coaching team. As a management team we can easily share our own thoughts and feedback on performance more easily even when we ourselves are in different countries.
David Passmore, National Development Women’s Coach and U21 Head Coach