Truro Hockey Club Junior Registrations Are Now Open

Dear players and parents,

Finally, the new hockey season is upon us, it’s been getting on for six months - so grab yourself a cuppa, possibly even a biscuit - because this is a long email with some vital information for the new season and how we will have to operate, but first the good news!

Hockey is ALMOST back to full ‘playability’

The first thing I can now say is that England Hockey, having got approval from DCMS for their return to play proposals early, have moved hockey to ‘Step Four’ which means that we can effectively train and play hockey as a club and play local friendlies.

They have also just announced that they plan to move to ‘Step Five’ by the end of September, which will see a return to full league play, with certain conditions and Health & Safety assessments which the club is adhering to.

Truro Hockey Club has produced a .pdf of the guidelines for Step 4 which is also attached to this email, and also contains a link to the England Hockey Participation Agreement which I will explain further down.

Training will start on Sunday 13th September at TRURO SCHOOL.

The second thing I can confirm is that we have now officially agreed to move all of the training to Truro School Astro Pitch (Sir Ben Ainslie Centre.) 

There are several reasons for this.

 

  1. It is the home of Truro Hockey Club Seniors
  2. It is the most suitable Astro Pitch available to us
  3. It enables us to be all in one place which will make it easier for parents with children in different age groups.

 

From a coaches perspective I have to balance costs versus safety and Truro offers us the best solution. The pitch at Penair School has, I believe, become unsafe for hockey and over the last few seasons we have had a few issues with children slipping, especially when it is wet. This is especially problematic in the top corner where the moss has grown through the matting.

 

Given the requirement for increased distancing at training we need the ability to use the full surface to accommodate our players.

 

Truro High School, whilst being the better astro-turf surface for junior hockey, doesn’t have the full footprint and as such the goals on the sides ‘stick into’ the pitch. I have never been comfortable with that set-up and we have had a few ‘near collisions’ over the years.

 

The narrow side channels also mean we don’t have wide enough space for players to move freely down the sides when they have finished their sessions past other groups - which again is a requirement for social distancing.

 

Truro School offers us a combination of much better playing surface and full side channel width for better and easier movement. It also offers us two access points to the pitch, which we will be using throughout the sessions to enter and exit the pitch.

 

 

How Training Will Work

 

The third thing that I have to talk about is how training will work. 

 

Timings for Training

 

In order to accommodate everyone we will be training as follows:

 

U8 and U10 - 12:00 to 13:00

 

U12 - 13:00 - 14:30

 

U14 - 14:30 - 16:00

 

Even with the imminent return to full training there are a few things we need to ensure happens.

 

  1. Any player, parent or spectator showing any signs of COVID (outlined here) must not attend training and MUST STAY AT HOME.
  2. Every player will require their own hand sanitiser to be used in water breaks and other convenient breaks.
  3. Players must observe social distancing out side game play and active training
    • This effectively means when they are waiting to go onto the pitch, outside the pitch area, during breaks.
    • Face coverings can be work during these times if desired
  1. Players must not share water bottles, sticks or gum shields (I know, I know - who would!!)
  2. Players must not celebrate goals with any form of contact - Stick taps are the new accepted way to celebrate
  3. Players must try to avoid ‘picking up balls’ - only touch them with sticks
  4. Every player (or parents on their behalf) must fill in the participation agreement for England Hockey - note you need to select Truro from the drop down list.
  5. Players must turn up in their playing kit where possible and not lend anything to other players.
  6. NO PLAYER IS TO STEP ONTO THE PITCH UNTIL THEIR NAME HAS BEEN TICKED OR ADDED TO THE SESSION LIST (This is for Track and Trace and is a requirement.)

 

Players will be asked to wait outside the pitch until the previous sessions have finished. We are also asking that players don’t enter ‘the cage’ before their session to help players remain ‘socially distanced’

 

Players will enter the pitch through ‘the cage’ and make sure they have been registered. Finishing players will be asked to exit through the other gate which is in the ‘right hand corner’ as you look at the pitch from the car park.

 

Players when entering will head down the left hand side of the pitch to their respective half.

 

For U12’s and U14’s this will be broken down as ‘Boys at the far end’ and ‘Girls at the car park end.’

 

For U8’s and U10’s instructions will be given on the day. 

 

Kit and stick bags are only to be placed at the left hand side side of the pitch, as socially distanced as possible - please spread out - don’t huddle in dug outs.

 

Half way through the session - during a drink and ‘hand sanitising’ break players will be asked to move their kit to the ‘right hand side of the pitch’ ready for exit at the end of the session. That way as one group exits the next group can enter.

 

Unfortunately players will not be able to ‘join follow on sessions’ as they have in previous years as all players will have to remain in their social grouping until we have further guidance that social bubbles can be further integrated. We can accommodate 30 players max per half of the pitch which should be enough for our age groups.

 

Parents and spectators will have to remain outside the playing area on the path outside the pitch.

 

Only players and coaching staff will be allowed within the playing area.Club registration and membership **IMPORTANT**

 

Registration this season (and for future seasons) will be via the Truro Hockey Club ‘ClubBuzz’ site. This enables us to be fully GDPR compliant, operate ‘hands free’ registration (important in this COVID world) and in time will help us with overall club administration.

 

Each player has to be registered individually but please use parental email addresses when setting up as it’s a two stage affair. You can change this later when the player is registered.

 

The process is a tiny bit clunky but it genuinely only takes 5 minutes in total. 

 

Stage one: Click here to ‘apply’ to the club for each player (you can use the same email address)

 

For ‘Sport’ please select Junior Hockey and for Interested in please select ‘Playing

 

You will get an email confirming your application.

 

Stage two: I will ‘approve’ your application and you will receive another email with a link to click on where you will complete the application (for each player you have registered you will receive a separate email.)

Please note - I will approve applications in batches every day so it may not be immediately.

 

You will be prompted to set up an account for the player (each player has a separate account) 

 

Click on the link in that email and fill in all of the details including the ‘media consent’ box and fill in parental details in the guardian box. ALL parents filled in in the Guardian box will receive emails throughout the season, so if you are in a co-parenting household or both parents or other guardians need to be contacted and kept informed then please put them here.

 

You can, if you wish, at this time change the registration email address to your child’s email if you they have one. That way they can receive emails during the season too should they want to. This possibly only applies to children in secondary school who start to gain more independence. 

 

Media Consent:  I’m not going to plead here but it is much ‘easier' for us to have players that we can feature in photos - even if we can’t name them. As you can appreciate we need to promote hockey and Truro Juniors and being a team sport it’s really hard to spend hours finding shots without certain players in from matches. 

 

I also don’t distinguish between media and social media anymore because as you will all know - they two are vastly intertwined. Any stories that local media outlets run, they share on their social channels first an foremost, so there really is no separation. We will only use positive images of children to celebrate their achievements and promote hockey and Truro Hockey Club, as any sport club needs to do these days. Obviously we fully respect your wishes on this.

 

Payment and subs

 

We have kept subs to the same rate as last year:

 

£85 for one child

£75 for further siblings

 

Once registered please can you pay by bank transfer (DO NOT use the online payment system on the site) to the Junior Account. 

 

Sort Code: 54-30-37

Account no: 16013751   (please use surname and initials as reference)

Payments must be received in full by the End of October this season please.

    If you receive an automated email from ClubBuzz about quarterly payment - ignore it.

 

England Hockey Participation Agreement **IMPORTANT**

 

The link above takes you to the England Hockey Participation Agreement. This needs to be filled in for each player separately and also any coaches, umpires etc. This is a key part of England Hockey’s commitment to COVID Safety and also Track and Trace. It only needs to be filled in once to cover the whole season and you need to select Truro from the list of clubs that your child plays for.

 

Schools have their own system - so we need to have this filled in. To be compliant NO PLAYER will be allowed to play, even as a guest, without this form having been filled in. Unfortunately England Hockey don’t supply a list of who has filled in the form or who hasn’t so I have to trust you, but PLEASE do fill it in before 13th September.

 

My advice is use a laptop if you can for these registration forms because they are a bit easier to navigate that way. I tried on a phone and it was fiddly, not impossible, but not as quick as a laptop.

 

Club Administration

 

The club system, called ClubBuzz, will, in time enable us to administer the junior club in a more efficient way. In due course I will be able to schedule matches and teams on the system and players/parents can confirm availability online. 

 

More immediately it will enable me to communicate with you during the season with my weekly updates and also with regards to upcoming matches and competitions.

 

There is also a forum on the site, that is as yet unused, but I will start a junior hockey thread on there and use that to post any information.

 

For a number of years I have wanted to have a ‘For Sale’ system for anyone wishing to sell on preloved hockey kits (shoes and sticks are always outgrown with plenty of life in them) so I think I will include that on the forum so parents can post any items that they think are good enough to have a new home. So that is a good time to talk about kit.

 

Hockey Kit and Equipment  

 

We have decided to change the supplier of the hockey shirts and hoodies this season to AGAME. This is the same supplier that supplies the senior club and it will help with the ‘one club’ ethos that we are trying to promote.

 

Another reason for this is that under the COVID spectre we can’t ‘try kit on’ at the side of pitches and handle kit unnecessarily. Existing playing kit that players have IS STILL PERFECTLY OK TO USE. 

 

We aren’t expecting players to go out a buy new shirts if they still have shirts that fit or have them passed down from siblings.

 

There will be a dedicated shop set up - this has been delayed due to COVID but we hope to have that up and running within a couple of weeks.

 

I will explain this in a week or two when the online shop is set up - and I will also share the link.

 

Hand sanitiser

 

A new one for us all, but all players must this season carry their own bottle of hand sanitiser. I’m not a medical man, but I have been told that only ones with a high (70 or 80%) alcohol content have any effect on COVID, and it needs to be applied and rubbed in for 20-30 seconds. This must be used during drink breaks or at other convenient times. Get a small bottle and pop it in the kit bag (named of course.)

 

Penalty (short) Corner Face Masks

 

Because of COVID we will no longer be able to supply shared ‘club’ face masks for defending penalty corners. As I mentioned in a previous email we have an existing stock (which James and I are collating this week) which will be sterilised and available for sale at a greatly reduced price on a first come first served basis.

 

I have had a few enquiries for these already but should have some stock still available.

 

Penalty corners masks aren’t a requirement, they are optional, but parents and players often feel more confident (plus I think the kids like wearing them because they look fierce in them.)

 

It is worth noting that in 7 a-side games ANY child may be required to defend a penalty corner so if you wish your child to wear one then unfortunately this is a new cost this season. Thanks COVID!!

 

For any parents wishing to buy a new mask then they are readily available online. I would look out for brands like:

 

  • TK
  • Grays
  • Mercian
  • Gryphon
  • Dita

 

Sites to check are:

 

 

This may seem like a minefield - and sizing can be tricky but Grays do a range of junior masks that fit the U8’s and U10’s.

 

Brabo also do a Junior range that are quite lightweight 

 

The TK 3.1 is what we used for the U12 boys and U14 Boys last season and they are great value for money too.

 

Masks must be clearly labelled - they can even be decorated or personalised with stickers so that children can distinguish them, provided that the decoration doesn’t affect the visibility or protrude from the mask (i.e. is flat - you can’t stick bears teeth or studs to them to make them more fierce!!)

 

Hockey Sticks

 

Most players in the club already have sticks but for anyone looking to buy new sticks for their children or for new players that haven’t got their own stick then here is a quick guide.

 

Sticks are either made of wood or (more commonly these days) a composite of Fibreglass, Carbon and Aramid.

 

Wooden sticks are great entry level sticks for very young players but they wear out quickly on Astro pitched and players soon grow out of them. However, they do have a ‘softer’ touch on the ball and can make life easier for new players when it comes to controlling the ball.

 

Composite sticks are now the stick of choice for most players at most levels but they come in different shapes, sizes and composites.

 

Stick length is very much a personal choice - I was coached by GB legend Sean Kerly as a kid and he always said ‘Use the longest stick you can comfortably hold.’ - Other international players and coaches prefer shorter sticks. 

 

Most U8’s and 10s start with 28” or 30” stick. By the time they hit U12’s that goes up to 34” or 35” and U14’s (most of whom are taller than me anyway) are playing with full adult sticks that tend to be either 36.5” or 37.5”.

 

Defenders tend to have longer sticks for greater reach, attackers tend to opt for slightly shorter and lighter sticks for greater speed and skill.

 

Sticks also have different levels of ‘curve’ or ‘bow’ in them for specialist moves like drag flicks or 3D skills.

 

For beginners at any age - the straighter sticks are the best as they are easier to control the ball with. I find players that move to a ‘large bowed’ stick too soon can actually hinder their development as opposed to enhance it.

 

Click here for a useful guide for anyone that is just starting out.

 

When it comes to composite sticks then U12’s will probably opt for a stick with slightly more carbon than U10’s which increases ball speed, but also makes control a bit trickier.  Typically U12’s play with between 20 and 45% Carbon sticks.

 

U14’s tend to increase that to between 60 and 80% carbon. There is no right or wrong - just personal taste that evolves as you grow.

 

In addition to the big hockey stick names such as Kookaburra, Grays, Mercian, Dita, Adidas, Gryphon, TK and Slazenger there are some newer brands on the scene that offer surprisingly good sticks for what can often be really good value. James Frewer uses Beikou sticks and I use Vortex Sticks both of whom offer good junior ranges as well as senior ranges and I’m very impressed by both companies. Sunny, my youngest has had a Vortex junior stick for a couple of seasons and he loves it and I know that James’ daughters use Beikou sticks and find them light enough and really good to play with.

 

Don’t be afraid to buy second hand on eBay either, kids grow quickly and they grow out of sticks. Provided they are in good condition you can often grab a bargain - Ask James Frewer about the stick he bought on eBay from GB International player!!!

If the handle grip tape is a little loose on a snd hand stick then you can pick that up for a few quid and you have a perfectly functional stick - plus it’s better for the environment because its re-using/recycling.

 

Shin pads

 

These are essential for hockey, football ones are fine, hockey ones are better. Ones that have ankle protection are even better. They are readily available online and in sports shops. Get the right size (varies by manufacturer) because if they are too big then they catch the knee cap and if they are too small then they don’t offer enough protection.

 

Gum Shields

 

As a coach I strongly advise that all players wear a gum shield that fits at all times during training and matches. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an ACTUAL requirement and I can’t enforce it.

 

An ill fitting gum shield however will be more trouble than no gum shield because it will fall out and players will just chew it.

 

Buy the correct size (Junior for most kids) and follow the fitting instructions - most require being moulded in hot water and ‘sucked and bitten’ in place in the mouth. I still see kids with adult gum shields in their mouths and guess what? They don’t fit so the kids slide them around and chew them.

 

They are readily available at sports direct or online at Amazon and all other sports retailers.

 

If you child struggles with keeping a regular gum shield in then the Sisu range are worth looking at. They take a few goes to get the fit right, but you can reshape them in hot water.

 

Once fitted they don’t come out unless you ‘clip’ them out with a finger nail. They also allow you to talk, breathe and drink with them in. I use mine for both Hockey and Roller Derby and it’s never let me down and Sunny, my youngest (a gum shield chewer) swears by his too. They do come in youth sizes.

 

Astro (training) Shoes

 

You can’t wear football boots on a hockey astro pitch. You can wear regular trainers but they offer little grip on a slippy surface. Astro trainers are by far the best solution and offer the best grip.

 

Ones designed for hockey also offer the best foot protection - football astros will grip, but can be thinner and have a lower heel which can leave the foot exposed.

 

Another option (which many senior players use) are trail running shoes - as they are basically the same as an Astro but often a bit cheaper. Look for ones with a ‘chunky’ tread.

 

Gloves

 

Not essential - but I swear by hockey gloves as I have had too many knocks on my knuckles from both sticks and pitches. Direct Hockey has a bit of a sale on at the moment. 

 

Don’t panic - they tend to come in Left Hand only (not a pair) as most players prefer to have their right hand free, and it’s the left hand that takes the knocks - but you can get some versions in right hand too - some defenders prefer to have both during a game.

 

Again,most players prefer the ‘short fingered glove’ and I prefer ‘open palm’ so you can still feel the stick.

 

‘Skins’ or ‘Skinful’ layers don’t offer any protection apart from against the cold. 

 

Base layers

 

Not essential, but they can offer a bit of protection for legs and knees of you slip over. They can also keep you a bit warmer in the winter months.

 

Tracksuit bottoms are also perfectly acceptable.

 

 

Volunteers

 

As always we rely on you, the parents stepping up to the plate and helping out where possible.

 

If anyone wants to help out as a coach then please let me know. The more we have the better training we can deliver. Smaller groups always work better than larger groups.

 

I will need volunteers to run the register in each age group if possible - dead easy - just tick them in or add their name to the list if not already there (along with contact details)

 

Other roles will become apparent as we move through the season.

 

OK - I think that’s it for now. 

 

I told you it was long. Things will be a bit odd the first few weeks - bare with us - it is all new to us too. Provided the online registration and the player participation forms are all done by yourselves then the rest will just happen.

 

For the first session we will, as coaches, go over the ‘new procedures’ with the players so they know what’s going on and why. They will all be used to new ways of existing in school by then anyway with bubbles and year group separations.

 

Please also read the attached pdf’s from Truro Hockey Club and England Hockey regarding Step Four return to hockey (where we are now)

 

If you have ANY questions then please just ask.

 

I look forward to seeing you all again. Let’s hope the winter is kinder to us that the last 6 months have been and we can have some lovely afternoons with some decent weather (not too hot, not too cold - somewhere in that Goldilocks zone would be nice)

 

All the best and as always thank you for your continued support

 

Nigel Barker

 

Director of Junior Development

Truro Hockey Club

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