Hockey Masterclass 2023
The Hockey Masterclass on Tuesday 14th March welcomed four primary schools, Loddon, Hillside, Hawkedon and St Teresa’s Catholic Academy to the Park for a workshop with our Sports Scholars and Hockey enthusiasts from Year 11 to Upper Sixth. Matt Richards, Head of Hockey and former England Hockey player, led the group in the delivery of four rotations covering shooting, a match with four corners, ball control and technical skills. The Year 5 visitors were able to practise against their classmates and to pick up tips from the older students, all of whom play Leighton Park’s 1st team hockey, club hockey and several play for county and regional teams too with one belonging to the England U16 squad.
Loddon Primary’s teacher, Tyler Churchill, felt the morning was very successful in giving the children experience of drills and specific coaching, reflecting “the children looked much more comfortable on the ball afterwards.” “It was fun and we got to experience different things” commented his student, Svanik, “My favourite part was the match with the four corners.” Emily Lacey, Head of PE at St Teresa’s Catholic Academy returned after an enjoyable experience in 2022 because “it was well organised and the children had a good time.” And discovered that this year’s group also “had fun and progressed well throughout the morning.” St Teresa’s student Joseph, whose favourite activities were the tag game and shooting, said “it was fabulous and I want to go again”. His classmate Alex also like the shooting “because it was competitive and they took it through with us step by step.”
For our visitors from Hawkedon Primary the appeal of the workshop lay in the opportunity to develop, John Smaje, teacher at Hawkedon, noted, “We play a lot at school and the children love to learn the sport of Hockey. I was hoping they would gain skills levels, fun factor and values. A very successful workshop enjoyed by all my children.” Hawkedon pupil Sophie liked “flicking the balls” whilst Georgia found the ‘hot dogs and hot chocolate” the most memorable part of her experience! Aarush concluded “I feel better at hockey.” Laura Yarrow, Head of Year 5 at Hillside Primary, commented that some of her pupils had “never held a stick” so this was a good chance to provide a new experience for them. “Our pupils love sport and it was a way to develop their skills” she continued. “This was the best day ever” Tamira enthused whilst Hillside classmate Soraya agreed, “I really enjoyed it! I would definitely do it again.”
Tash Coccia, Leighton Park’s Senior Assistant Head: Partnerships and Outreach, was delighted with the morning, saying “This event is just one of many sessions the PE team have put together since September to welcome youngsters from local schools onto the Park. Last week there was a cracking netball masterclass on the courts plus we have sports leaders coaching in the pool every week. I am hugely grateful to them for their commitment to our values and promoting sport, fitness & wellbeing to our visitors.”