In November 2011, the club heard about a new scheme that England Hockey were advertising called Back to Hockey. This was aimed at women who had played hockey at school or in clubs but had had a break for some time. It was also aimed at beginners who had never played hockey before. It had a focus on fun, fitness and friendship with all abilities and fitness levels welcome. We decided as a club to give this a go and the first course was run in November on a Tuesday evening alongside our ladies’ training sessions at Oxford Brookes Sports Centre.
It was a huge success with over twenty women signing up at the first session. These ranged in age and ability from mums who had children playing and wanted to join in, to women just starting out on their careers who had moved recently to Oxford, and everything in between. It was great to hear the giggles and chat going on and seeing them all clearly enjoying themselves.
We started with the basics, from how to hold a stick to how to move the ball to dribbling and passing – and eventually they also worked out how to stop the ball! Most have now moved on to more advanced skills and some are now playing in our ladies’ teams. Everyone improved immensely throughout the sessions and I think it was a worthwhile scheme to become involved in.
Our Back to Hockey ladies also starred in a video filmed by England Hockey, to promote the scheme during the run up to the Olympics.
We ran a second course in May and are planning another for autumn 2012, so please spread the word to your friends who might be interested.
From a ladies’ section struggling for players, we now have too many and need more teams which is a great position to be in. We aim to enter a seventh ladies’ side in the league next season and look forward to continuing this scheme next year and welcoming more women Back to Hockey!