Thursday, 29 June 2017

New Hockey Trophy: World 9's Challenge

A few post back I talked about a new hockey trophy played over three formats of the game on one weekend.

Well in this post I am putting forward another idea for a new competition called the-

World 9's Challenge

We will take the 9's format that was used a few years ago in Australia as part of the International Super Series. The teams competing in this new competition would be all-star teams as per below-

1. Asian Hockey Federation All-stars
2. Pan America Hockey Federation All-stars
3. Oceania Hockey Federation All-stars
4. African Hockey Federation All-stars
5. European Hockey Federation All-stars
6. World All-stars

Now could this concept work? Where would it fit into the hockey schedule? Would the best players want to participate in it?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Australian Media Give Hockey a Fair run

Currently the Australian Hockeyroo's are over in Belgium playing in the World League, and very shortly our Men will be also playing in the World League round, yet what do I find in today's West Australia Newspaper and short little piece that is you weren't looking for it or for that matter looking closely you would miss. Now for a long time I thought that this was the fault perhaps lay with our own sport, and the way we pitch and market it to the wider community, but now I am starting to wonder and question that. I believe that the Australian Sport Media and the many Australian Sport Journalist around the country are perhaps complicit with the sports of AFL, Cricket, NRL to make sure that nothing else gets a look in, I do know in recent times that the A League, Netball and NBL have managed to get coverage but this has been largely done to make it look like the Australian Sports Media are not in the tank for Cricket, AFL and NRL.

So again I ask myself why is this, why are they utterly and totally in bed with these three sports, when you consider the following-

- AFL (Australian Football League) is basically a sport that is domestic to Australia, it will never ever be international despite what the powers running the game may like to think, in addition to this it has been racked in the past and is still racked by various controversies in the area's or drugs, betting and player mis-behaviour. Yet our winter sports media is still dominated in southern states particularly by it.

- Cricket while its a international sport yes, the domestic game here in Australia has pretty much other than the Big Bash disappeared off the face of the earth, in addition to this its still plague no matter what it thinks by issue with match fixing etc, and there is a massive cancer eating away at the game which is called New South Wales Cricket. Yet despite this is remains the dominate force in the summer sports media.

- NRL (National Rugby League) while its an international sport in a sense, all though its really only dominated by three countries Australia, New Zealand and England, and in addition it continues to be racked by betting, drugs, player mis-behaviour and club mis-management scandals. Yet despite all this it still dominate the Sport media particularly in the Northern States.

Why is this?

Now I know people will say that tennis gets coverage and like say A League does to, but these two sports have massive problems in particular with Match fixing. So again despite all these issues with these sports the Australian Sports Media continues to allow them to dominate the market, and shut out or help shut out any other sport that tries to cut through. Don't get me wrong the media will rap the AFL, NRL and Cricket over the knuckles but its nothing more than a smack and say your a very naughty sport, they don't hard and press the issues, because like I say and perhaps they wont like this they are in the tank for these sports.

When the do cover Hockey and this is generally only at the Olympics, or Commonwealth Games they cant even get the names of the teams right, often called the Australian Men's Team the Hockeyroo's when they are the Kookaburras and the Australian Women's Team the Kookaburras when they are the Hockeyroo's despite being told the facts on countless occasions by Hockey Australia. Now they should be covering our sport because we actually have a good story to tell.

Hockey is-

- An international sport played at the Olympics, which is the real pinnacle of sport.
- Our sport is scandal free.
- Allot of our top players out there are doing amazing work in the community

But perhaps I have with this just answered my own question, good news don't make a good story.

Anyway Hockey Australia are I give them there due, correcting this by working on there own online media channel etc. I believe perhaps its also time for our own dedicated Magazine in Australia for Hockey, and I would be interested in pursuing this if anyone would like to help.

But I say this one last thing to the Australian Sports Media and I know you wont like this but tough. Stop being so far in the tank for AFL, NRL and cricket, get your heads back in the game and notice that there are allot of other sports out there with a story to tell, and its a much better story than AFL, NRL or cricket could ever dream about having.

Game Sense/Player Empowerment Coaching Model

Recently I was invited to write some articles on hockey and hockey coaching for Field Hockey Forum

This is my very first contribution on the Game Sense/Player Empowerment Coaching Model, which I have adopted as my hockey coaching approach, check out the article on the forum at the link below

Friday, 23 June 2017

My Top 5 Australian Olympic Hockey Moments

Today being National Olympic Day, and this week being National Hockey Week in Australia, I thought I would share my top five Australian Olympic hockey moments. Here they are in order starting with number 5 and moving through to my top moment at number 1-

5- Australia v New Zealand (1976 Montreal Olympics Gold Medal Final) (Mens)

This may seem a little strange as that Australia lost to New Zealand on this day and took home silver, but it makes it to the top 5 because this was one of the best Australia mens teams every assembled for an Olympics, but perhaps was an Olympics before there time and has the boycott not happened in 1980 at Moscow they most likely would have one gold, here is a you tube highlight of this game.

4- Australia v Korea (1988 Seoul Olympic Gold Medal Final) (Women's)

This is the first gold medal the Australian Hockeyroo's as they were to become later won, this was won of the strongest Australia Women's teams to go away with many Australian hockey greats in it, from a young Rochele Hawkes to great like Sharon Buchannon. They would beat Korea in the final, here is some footage from that game-

3- Australia v Korea (1996 Atlanta Olympic Gold Medal Final) (Women's)

This was the first gold medal one by the greatest Australian Hockey team of all time, this team included Rochelle Hawkes, Alyson Annan among many others, and they dominated this Olympics go all the way through to win the Gold against Korea in the final. Once here is some footage from that game-

2- Australia v Argentina (2000 Sydney Olympics Gold Medal Final) (Women's)

This was the final piece in the symphony of the greatest Australian Hockey team of all time, this was the completion of a golden era for the Australian Hockeyroo's when they completed double Olympic Gold in Sydney in 2000. This team again included many great among them Rochelle Hawkes who equaled Dawn Fraser in winning three Olympic Golds in one event for Australia. Once again here is a bit of footage from that moment

1- Australia v Holland (2004 Athens Olympic Gold Medal Final) (Men's)

This is my greatest moment of all time, only just over the 2000 Hockeyroo's, why because in one simple way it was the moment the Australia Kookaburras finally broke the curse and made the top of the medal podium at the Olympics. This was a great team with many players who would form the backbone of the teams going forward. There was Jamie Dwyer, Bevan George, Brett Livermoore, Luke Doehner among many others. The Australian's one this game in extra time which makes it even more exciting, here is some footage from the classic final-

So this is my top 5 moments what do you think, would you change the order, would you add another moment from Australia Olympic hockey history, look forward to hearing from you.

Does Field Hockey need a T20 Version?

Does our sport of field hockey need a Twenty 20 version of it?

Now this is an argument which has been debated and discussed now for some time, and there has never been any real conclusions. For a long time now the great World and Australian Hockey Coach Dr Ric Charlesworth has advocated that our sport needs to change to the Nine-a-side format which he introduced when coaching the Kookaburras (Australian Men) from 2005-2014. Now this could well be the way forward yes-

We all remember the Super 9's tournament which was held in Perth, for those that don't check out this link to refresh your memory-

An while this tournament certainly was exciting, initially and had big crowds in its first year, it died away very quickly and has pretty much now disappeared, the only one that is advocating and pushing for this now is pretty much Dr Ric Charlesworth.

Now we have Hockey 5's which is being played at Youth Olympic level, and yes this is a good format, and I do believe that we should be pushing to have this included at Olympic level in addition to the current 11-a-side format, but again it is not really a format that will work as a T20 version of hockey.

So what is my solution, well I am thinking that perhaps we don't need a solution, as that our game is perhaps right now in terms of number of the field fine. Perhaps what we should be looking at is tweaking rules instead. There has all ready been a number of good rule changes around the world of hockey that I think should be brought in across the board to make the game more exciting. These are-

- In the Indian Hockey League a field goal being worth 2 rather than 1.

- The introduction of quarters, which I still think know coach at international level is yet to truely harness to their teams advantage.

However I would look at introducing these other rules changes as well-

- 3 point shot for a goal scored by a player if they hit it from outside the attacking d but inside the 5 yard broken line.

- Teams can nominate twice per game for a period of 3 minutes an attacking power play where all goals scored through this period double.

- Eliminate the draw, by re-introducing golden goal extra time for all game's, with a twist that both teams must drop from 11 players to 9 players and they are only allowed 2 subs. The time period would be 7 minutes only 1 way, then it goes to shoot-out.

So there just a few changes I might make to the game, I welcome other comments what does everyone else think, do we need a T20 version or are we ok as we are, do we need to change some rules to make the game more exciting or are we ok as we are. If you were in administration what would you do with our game, look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Could we have a World Club Comp in Hockey?

In recent times, I have been reading comments by people in relation to the Hockey Pro League, that they would have preferred to see a World Club Championships similar to what we see in Football, well I am not sure if this is possible, in hockey. Why do I say it may not be possible well?

- European Hockey League right now is the strongest club based league in the world, and there really isn't a competition anywhere else being play that can match it from a club point of view.

In saying that, I am prepared to put forward a model that may work in the end. This is my model-

- Each country hold there own Club Championship qualifiers, with one winner emerging.
- Those winners then compete in a Continental or Federation qualifier, with one winner emerging from that, or in Europe's case they get two.
- Then the World Club Finals are played with one club team representing each continental federation.

So what you would emerge with is the following-

2 x European Hockey Federation based Club qualified
1 x Asian Hockey Federation based club qualified
1 x Oceania Hockey Federation based club qualified
1 x African Hockey Federation based club qualified
1 x Pan America Federation based club qualified

Now like I say Europe gets 2 club teams qualified, but this is in recognition that they are the strongest continental federation from a club point of view.

This is the only way I can see it working, but like I say I am not sure that it would actually be a viable competition as I suspect the European teams would dominate it, I know for a fact I cant see an Australian based club right now that would be strong enough to beat a single EHL club.

Anyway what do you all think, I welcome comments and thought, is this possible.

Expanding the Hockey Pro League

Recently the International Hockey Federation (FIH) launched the fantastic new world competition the Hockey Pro League, now I personally believe this is a great concept and a great competition and is the future of the game. However there have been some out there who have there reservations about the HPL and the fact that it might take away the opportunity for countries not ranked in the top 10 to be able to compete against the best. Well in a way this is a fair argument, but it also isn't being fair the the International Federation who I believe plan to role out further changes after the HPL comes in 2019, but they need to take this first step then go from there.

With this in mind I have been thinking about how you could expand the Hockey Pro League to include all hockey countries and give everyone the chance to reach the top comp level which starts in 2019, and this is what I have come up with. We do it similar to the way the structure the Davis Cup and Fed Cup in Tennis. So this is the format up with, now bare in mind this would not be able to be implemented in full till after the first four years of the current Hockey Pro League which starts in 2019.


Hockey Pro League (Premier Division)

Men's Teams: Australia, Holland, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Great Britain

Women's Teams: Argentina, Holland, India, China, Great Britain, Germany, USA, Australia, New Zealand.

Hockey Pro League (Division 1)

Men's Teams: Ireland, Spain, Canada, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, France, China

Women's Teams: Korea, Spain, Japan, South Africa, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Canada

Hockey Pro League (Division 2)

Men's Team: Egypt, Poland, Russia, Austria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA, Chile

Women's Teams: Chile, Belarus, Malaysia, Uraguay, Czech Republic, France, Azerbaijan, Switzerland

Hockey Pro League (Division 3)

Men's Team: Brazil, Oman, Azerbaijan, Trinidad & Tobago, Bangladesh, Italy

Women's Teams: Russia, Mexico, Thailand, Ghana, Austria, Kazakhstan, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine.

There would be in addition to these division's the following continental divisions-

Hockey Pro League: Asian/Oceania Hockey Federation Division 1
Hockey Pro League: Africa Hockey Federation Division 1
Hockey Pro League: European Hockey Federation Division 1
Hockey Pro League: Pan America Hockey Federation Division 1

Now starting from 2023 there would be a promotion and relegation system put in place, which would be as follows-

- Top team from each division 1,2,3 will be promoted to the division above.
- bottom team from each division premier, 1, 2 will be demoted to the division below
- The winners from each of the continental federations will play-off in a home and away leg against the bottom four teams in Division 3

Now like I say this is just a suggestion, it is my contribution to the debate as we move forward into a new era. I welcome comments, I think this can work and it will create interest and regular competition for all countries who play this great game.

Friday, 16 June 2017

My Idea for a new field hockey trophy

With the introduction of the Hockey Pro League in 2018, and the end of the Champions Trophy, there will be room in the International Field Hockey Schedule for a new trophy, well I have an idea which is different and brings together several version of the game under one, format. This format will be field hockey's version of the Ryder and Presidents Cup in Golf. Now the trophy I currently don't have a name for it all though I thought that the Dwyer/Aywar Cup would fit perfectly as perhaps the two greatest players of the most recent era.

This trophy would be played between the following to teams-

Australia/New Zealand v Rest of the World

The best 16 men and best 16 women's hockey players from Australia and New Zealand would combine and compete in a series of games (rubbers) against the best 16 men and women's hockey players from the Rest of the World, over one weekend. The format would take on the following-

3 x Hockey 5's Games (1 mens, 1 women's, 1 mixed)
3 x Hockey 9's Games (1 mens, 1 women's, 1 mixed)
3 x Hockey 11's Games (1 mens, 1 women's, 1 mixed)

The winner will be determined on the following points system over the weekend-

1 point for a win
1/2 points for a draw

The first team to 5 points wins the competition. However if both teams are tied at the end of four and half points a piece, then a winner will be determined in the following way-

-  Best of 3: mixed teams 3 on 3 shootout

If still tied after that then-

- Best of 5 mixed teams 1 on 1 shootout

If after all this the two teams are still square then a count-back on goals for and against over the weekend will be used to determine the winner.

I believe that this would be a very exciting format and a different format which would be very attractive to the players to participate in, also the trophy would only be contested every two years similar to the way the Ryder and Presidents Cup is in golf.

What does everyone think, would this be a great idea, would it work, would there be interested in trying to get it up and running, the first contest could be held in Melbourne say in late 2018 or 2019, with it alternating every two years with the countries that make up the rest of the world squad.

I welcome people's comments.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Passing/Leading/Game Based Drill

This is a passing and leading drill, which then converts into a game situation which I have used at training. It starts off with a pass round the back, followed by a pass to one of two leading options in the centre, then at this point it moves into a game situation where the attacking team has slightly more numbers than the defending team.

The idea of this one, is to encourage constantly leading and movement from the players, and also work on your transfer passing across the field. I welcome comments on what you think and how perhaps it could be improved.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Hockey Pro League is a great concept, now its Australia's time

A while ago I talked at length about my vision for a brand new Australian based domestic field hockey league, that would take our game into the professional era and put a game back into the public eye after years of fade away.

Well just this week the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced there exciting new Hockey Pro League, which will be played between 9 nations in Men and women's across 6 months starting in 2019, in an home and away format. This is a fantastic concept and takes the great game that I am passionate about to the next level. So with this I thought that it was time to revisit the idea of a domestic competition here in Australia to start in the same year as the Hockey Pro League.

I believe that this competition should now not replace the current Australian Hockey League, that should remain, but revert back to being called the Australian Open National Hockey Championships, and instead this new league should be a seperate competition in addition to this.

So what structure would this new league take on, well it is my view that it needs to be franchised based and like we are seeing with Netball, links need to be formed with National Rugby League Clubs and Australia Football League Clubs. So this is what I am proposing-

2 x Western Australian Based franchise
1 x South Australian Based franchise
2 x Victorian Based Franchises
2 x New South Wales Based Franchises
1 x Tasmanian Based frnachise
1 x ACT Based Franchise
2 x Qld Based Franchises
1 x NT Based franchise

Now under this format that makes 12 teams with the bigger hockey states have 2 franchises each, and I would propose that 1 of those 2 franchise be based in a Major country region e.g, Bunbury. These teams would then play 21 games with 11 home games and 11 away games before a final playoff series to be held at the home turf of the team that finishes on top, over 1 weekend, this would be called a Hockey showcase.

The competition would also have some rule tweaks to make the game more exciting, some ideas I propose are-

1. Field goals are worth 2 and penalty corners are worth 1.
2. Each team has 2 power play periods of 2 minutes in each game, where goals will double.
3. Games will be broken up into 4 x 10 minute quarters, with 2 minute breaks at 1/4 time and 3/4 time and a 10 minute break at half time, where local juniors will be showcased in some form.