Final communique from Kisakallio rounding up the week-long camp for England u14 girls.
Saturday! Up early to a beautiful day, breakfast and off to the ice hall after warm up.
We had a one hour on-ice review session to go over some of the things we have learnt this week and then some fun games.
Back to the complex for lunch and then some team pictures before some locker room team presentations.
We packed and loaded the kit onto the bus and it was off to Helsinki airport to begin the journey home.
This is the first year we have had this age group and it proved to be challenging for all concerned. This programme is set up to develop players for the GB teams and as such has different goals to some teams.
The week is an introduction to the environment and expectations of a world championship or Olympic qualifier. Behaviour has to be of the highest level, the team has to interact well and the leaders on team are helped and encouraged to learn their difficult roles.
Games against their age groups from world powers in hockey allows the players to pit themselves against their peers and let the coaching team work alongside and observe other coaching systems.
An enormous thank you needs to go to the coaching and management team, the amount of work these people put in is awe inspiring, and their expertise over the year has made all the camps and this week the success it was and gave the players the memories that will always stay with them.
I know they have already drafted out next year’s programme following their mantra: if it’s good and it works – improve it!
A big thank you is to all the parents that have bought into the programme, encouraged and supported the girls through the year and invested a great deal of time and money into the players.
Lastly and most importantly the players, they have worked their way through the ups and downs of the year, taken onboard their off ice fitness programme, all the many different warm ups and cool downs. They have come to terms with the testing and evaluations over the year, learnt new systems and methods of play that will enable them to compete against international teams.
They have learnt how you interact with people and athletes from other countries and travel and live as a team in a competitive environment and most importantly learnt to sing the National anthem – we hope they will sing it many times!
The team was a credit to their sport and the country.
These girls have shown that with constant encouragement and planned development they can become the athletes that we are trying to build and hopefully they will be the GB players of the future.
One last thank you to Arto, without who these trips would never have happened. Arto works with Lyn every year to put these trips together. Unfortunately Arto had a fall at the rink on Tuesday and ruptured his musculus quadriceps femoris, he had his operation on Thursday and is now home. All the girls and staff wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him in the future.
England u14 Girls 2016