EGHC Juniors love playing matches, it's competitive, fun, team spirited and the main point in putting in all the training. Read more to see our plans for each age group
England Hockey have taken more control of Junior Competition for the 2021/22 season, and with our amazing coaching offering, we are in a great position to get involved in a range of new competitions we couldn't necessarily before. You can find information from England Hockey about the competitions by enjoying this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/BY3HUvUTEAM
Specifically, per age group, we are arranging:
Under 8's / Under 6's - The mini packs
4/5 a-side matches at 'tournament' style days with a few other clubs at a time. We will host at least 2 of these ourselves and expect there to be at least 1 tournament per half-term. The most fun kids, the most competitive parents!
Under 10's - First bash at proper hockey
There are a couple of 'serious' tournaments at this age group which we will try and win (like we do every season). There will also then be other 'tournament' style days involving a few clubs, which we will emphasize as being fun experiences for the kids. We will also arrange a few friendly matches with other local clubs to test out the training skills. We still get lots of new hockey players at this age group so they will be accommodated appropriately to ensure they get a great experience, as well as occasionally setting up for our more experienced players to really test out their skills.
We are aiming for at least 2 matches (tournament style, so more than one match) per half-term.
Under 12's - Enjoying competitive hockey
Competitive tournaments at this level allow kids to try and reach national finals, which we will set out to win. More local "friendly" tournament style days will also be available, which we will approach as fun experiences. To suit our range of new/developing players and more experience competitive players, we will also enter leagues in a Tiering system to get the right type of regular match for everyone.
We are aiming for at 3/4 matches per half-term (including some which are tournament style, involving multiple matches on a day).
Under 14's - More structure
This is where we enter the league / cup system proper.
The kids move to 11-a-side full pitch matches and we will enter at least one team in the Tier 1 system, which will allow the competitive kids to play against the best teams across Surrey, Sussex, Kent and London. These are going to be tough matches, I expect us to loose as many as we win, celebrating successes as well as learning and growing from the experience.
We will have at least 1 team in more local leagues where our players who want competitive matches but don't want GPS's strapped to them and be analysed on their pitch heat maps (we won't be doing this because we aren't animals, but that's the kind of level Tier 1 is). These teams will be competitive and have fun winning together and developing their skills, for those who want to take it super-seriously they can use their experience here to push for the Tier 1 type matches...... we will also look to arrange friendly matches for these teams to enjoy competitive hockey as often as possible.
We expect players in the Under 14 age groups to be getting at least 4/5 matches every 6 week half-term.
Under 16's - getting ready for adult hockey
In the under 16's we will take a similar approach to Under 14, entering the league and cup systems both at the top level for the most competitive and a lower tier for those enjoying hockey matches.
At the top level we think this is going to be a tough, challenging experience but the kids who want that will thrive and be supported.
We also know that know that some of our U16 don't want or maybe aren't quite ready for that level of competition and the beauty of the new league system is that we can get them good competitive hockey to enjoy.
This is where some kids may benefit from playing in some of the adult sides and this will be managed carefully to make sure it's the right thing for the right player.
We will also have some of the girls in this group play up in the Under 18 team for extra exposure to competitive hockey.
We expect players in the Under 16 age groups to be getting at least 4/5 matches every 6 week half-term. If we need to supplement the leagues and cups with friendlies, we will do this too.
Under 18's - after GCSE age group hockey and adults
There aren't enough boys to put a league team together, which is sad. There are enough to create a cup squad and it should be a really competitive team. I watched the cup final for U18 boys in Nottingham and it was terrifyingly fast, our boys will love it I'm sure.
The girls are a great number, and despite the pressure of these age girls we will enter a league team and a cup team.
The cup team will have some of our players who are already playing at a really high-level of adult hockey, combined with our experienced Year 12 & 13 club players, we think they stand a phenomenal chance of success if they come together as a team.
The league team will also get really competitive matches across the region but as the region doesn't have enough Under 18 teams (sad) it will be a mixed tier and there will be highs to celebrate and lows to learn from. Looks like it will be brilliant.
This age group are mainly all integrated into adult sides already and that will be continued.
Sussex Development League - Badgers & Bluebirds
We have decided that we will not enter the Sussex development leagues where the teams known as the Badgers & Bluebirds used to play.
We believe the new structure for Under 14/16 hockey is good enough to replace what that league offered us.
The club is committing to enough competitive hockey to ensure every player has the opportunity, whether they joined yesterday or are on a pathway to national age group hockey, can get a chance to put all the amazing coaching they get to the test and have that competitive fun we all get from team sports.
We ask (and thank) all our parents for support in traveling around, getting freezing cold, probably soaking wet, neglecting the dog, living the highs & lows of matches and cheering "Come on EG".
Be sure not to miss out on what is looking like an amazing season of Junior Hockey, follow the link below to read the article on how to register for the EGHC Junior 2021/22 season