Former national goalkeeper Chris Hibbert led a highly successful Eastern Cape residential hockey camp in Grahamstown last week.
Hibbert said the idea of the camp was to offer a unique experience to Eastern Cape’s young players, exposing them to the latest trends in coaching and giving them a taste of the kind of training their European counterparts are exposed to.
Open to boys and girls aged between 13 and 18, the camp at DSG in Grahamstown was attended by more than 90 players as well as a group of 10 learner coaches from schools in the Eastern Cape.
Schools with players and coaches represented included Clarendon Park, Collegiate, DF Malherbe, DSG, Grey High, Kingsridge, Kingswood, Pearson, St Andrew’s, St Dominic’s, Victoria Girls, Victoria Park, and Woodridge.
Once his playing days were over, Hibbert, who represented South Africa at two Olympics Games, coached in the United Kingdom before returning to South Africa last year to become the director of sport at DSG.
Hibbert said: “The aim of the camp was to mirror and ultimately surpass what was being offered to the hockey-playing youth of Europe.
“We set up the camp to encompass a complete hockey experience for young players, and focus on teaching them the latest trends, skills and tactics in the modern game, a lot of which they would not have been exposed to in their own school and club environments.
“In addition to this, we provided lectures on sports psychology, nutrition and video analysis, as well as sessions of strength and conditioning, and pool recovery.
“All of this would not have been possible without the willingness of DSG in Grahamstown to open their campus to the participants, and we are grateful to them for sharing in our vision.
“We must also thank equipment supplier JDH and coaching company Nineteen Hockey for supporting the camp,” he said.
Hibbert said his plan was to create an environment as close to an international training camp as possible, and to give the Eastern Cape’s young players the opportunity to maximise their potential and to inspire them to achieve higher honours.
He was able to organise a group of well-qualified coaches for the camp, including ex-SA and Beijing Olympian Paul Blake, ex-SA men’s coach Brian Hibbert, SA U18 boys team convener Alan Redfern, EP men’s player Dean Ferreira and St Andrew’s head of hockey, Gary Frayne.
“The camp was a resounding success with glowing reviews from coaches and players alike, and there are plans to repeat this camp and other hockey clinics in and around the Eastern Cape on a regular basis,” Hibbert said.
– Neale Emslie