With Bronze Medals for both the men’s and women’s teams at the Commonwealth Games last week and several Olympic Champions within the current Team GB Women’s squad, the sport of Hockey in England is definitely enjoying a purple patch at the moment.
Much of this success can be attributed to top class coaching at a National level, but where do all of these talented players come from? For most youngsters, their first experience of this great game comes in the form of Quicksticks Hockey.
So, what is Quicksticks, and how is it helping engage young people in the sport?
The Quicksticks’ website sums it up perfectly when it describes the game …
Quicksticks is designed to introduce young people to the game of hockey. It is 4-a-side, can be played on any surface, and uses a larger, lighter and safer ball. It is a fun, fast, safe and exciting game that has been designed so that anyone can deliver the game, regardless of previous hockey experience.
I have attended a number of Quicksticks’ tournaments over the course of the past two months and it is evident that this version of the classic school sport is achieving it’s goal of encouraging participation from a young age. Primary schools from across Thanet, Canterbury and Herne Bay have now competed in the game for a chance to represent their respective areas in the Kent School Games Finals.
First up for me was the Thanet Year 3/4 tournament.
The venue for this tournament was Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School and the young participants seemed really excited to be playing on the modern astro-turf pitches. Despite the cold, wintry conditions, all of the participants seemed to enjoy the tournament. Many of the games were incredibly close with some fantastic hockey being played throughout.
Well done to everyone who took part, and congratulations to Saint Peter’s-In-Thanet Junior School who won the final and now go on to represent Thanet at the Kent School Games.
Next up was the Herne Bay tournament which featured Primary Schools from the town & surrounding areas.
Set in the fantastic grounds of Polo Farm Sports Club, Canterbury, teams from Years 3/4 and 5/6 competed over the course of the two sessions as this whole day’ event produced some fantastic competitive hockey. The sun even made a welcome appearance and added to what was a great day of sport.
Winners in the Year 3/4 category were St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, eventually beating Hampton Primary School on penalties after a very cagey and hard fought final. Hernehill Primary School beat St Mary’s B Team to secure the third place slot.
The Year 5/6 category in the afternoon was won by Whitstable & Seasalter Endowed Junior School who beat Herne Bay Juniors in the final. Hernhill Primary School won the 3rd place play-off, beating St Mary’s in a repeat of the morning’s fixture.
The following day, I was back over at Polo Farm Sports Club for the Canterbury tournaments.
As with the previous day’s event, the tournament featured Year 3/4 teams in the morning with the 5/6 teams competing in the afternoon. The rain that was forecast, thankfully, didn’t materialise although I don’t think that would have dampened the spirits of the young teams anyway. The morning’s victors were Bridge Primary A Team who beat Chartham Primary in the final. St Stephen’s Junior School secured third spot, beating Sheldwich A Team in the play-off.
Blean Primary School won the afternoon final, beating Wickhambreaux Primary School. Third place went to St Peter’s Primary School after beating Sheldwich’s B Team.
As with all of these tournaments and sports events I have the pleasure of attending, the enthusiasm, hard work and attitude shown by all of the young participants shines through, regardless of the results. These youngsters play sport in the spirit it is intended for. As you can see from the galleries below, the fun and enjoyment they are having is fantastic to see. These young sports stars are a credit to their schools and a reflection of the values being taught both there and at home.
I would, as always, like to single out praise for the teachers involved in coaching these teams, most of which happens outside of the traditional school day. Also, a massive ‘thank you’ needs to go out to the Young Sports Leaders from CCGS, Simon Langton School and The Canterbury Academy … these events simply couldn’t take place without your continued support.
Thank you to the Sports Partnerships, School Games Organisers and Thanet PASSport for inviting me along to these Quicksticks’ Tournaments and allowing me to be part of these fantastic events that occur throughout the school year.
Good luck to all of the Quicksticks’ teams that will now represent their areas in the Kent School Games Finals.
Please take a look through our galleries of the tournaments, and feel free to share this article with anyone who may be interested.