Top young players & officials take centre stage

Mercia Lynx and Saxon Tigers boys in action at the Futures Cup

The England Hockey Futures Cup takes centre stage this week as 300 of the country’s most promising young hockey players and officials get the opportunity to experience what it is like to take part in a top international hockey tournament.

The Futures Cup is designed to replicate the professional environment of an international hockey tournament.  It represents the culmination of months of development, training, competition and selection as part of England Hockey’s long term athlete development pathway, the Single System.

The participating young athletes, all aged between 15 and 18, have received hockey coaching and advice on fitness, nutrition and lifestyle management at 12 Junior Regional Performance Centres (JRPC) across England over the past four months.

As Melissa Bennett, England Hockey’s National Manager for the Single System, explained, “The Futures Cup provides a fantastic opportunity for young players and officials from across the country to come together following the culmination of the Junior Regional Performance Centre (JRPC) programme over the last few months.

“The participants will experience a hockey tournament in a performance environment with the focus on implementing the core skills developed over their training sessions.” 

More than 2500 young people have been through a Junior Regional Performance Centre since June with 288 now selected to compete at the Futures Cup for their JRPC cluster team, known as the Pennine Pumas, Mercia Lynx, Saxon Tigers and Wessex Leopards. 

As well as providing the young participants with vital tournament experience, the Futures Cup offers them an opportunity to showcase their abilities to the coaches of the England Hockey U16 and U18 teams, who will be in attendance.

While much of the focus is on the young people on the pitch, the Single System and the Futures Cup offers an ideal training ground for the next generation of hockey coaches and team managers.

“It also provides a chance for coaches and managers to get a taste of how important their roles are in the coordination and development of players in this environment,” added Bennett.

Now entering its fifth year, the Futures Cup will once again be held at Cannock Hockey Club in Staffordshire from Thursday 1 – Sunday 4 November.

Follow online at www.englandhockey.co.uk/futurescup. On Twitter, use hashtag #FuturesCup.