Twelve young hockey players prepare for National Talent Camp

Eliza Brett of Canterbury

Athletes join Olympic champion, Darren Campbell at tough four day camp

12 hockey players from across the country are gearing up to attend the Youth Sport Trust’s National Talent Camp at Loughborough University from 3 – 6 January 2013, where they will be put through their paces and learn what it takes to become Olympic champions.

  • 16 year old Kitty McWhirter from Suffolk
  • 17 year old Elliot Smith from Suffolk
  • 17 year old Francesca Tew from Suffolk
  • 17 year old James Alberry from Rowney Lane, Hertfordshire
  • 17 year old Robbie Gleeson from Linchfield, Staffordshire
  • 17 year old Kate Holmes from Surrey
  • 17 year old Jonathan Griffiths from Surrey 
  • 17 year old Kathryn Lane from Duckfield, Derbyshire
  • 17 year old Christopher Proctor from Ruddington, Nottinghamshire
  • 17 year old Rebekah Walker from Corsham, Wiltshire
  • 18 year old Eliza Brett from Kent (pictured above)
  • 17 year old Lily Elliott from Kent

All athletes will join 90 other aspiring young athletes at the sixth national camp, run by leading youth sport charity, the Youth Sport Trust.

Inspired by Team GBs historic success at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, these promising young sports stars will reflect on what has been an outstanding year for British sport and use this inspiration to motivate them on their journey into elite sport.

The four day event offers England’s most talented 13-18 year olds insight in the world of performance sport and the harsh reality of the demands and commitment required to be the best in their chosen sport. Seven sports will be represented at the 2013 camp with athletes selected to attend from Hockey, Rugby Union, Cycling, Canoeing, Volleyball, Netball, Wheelchair Basketball and a number of athletes across different sports selected by the British Paralympic Association.

Six am starts, two intense training sessions a day, a series of challenging workshops led by leading sports psychologists and athlete mentors and nutritious but basic meals from the camp’s country theme; Nanjing, China, where duck blood soup is the speciality of the region; the athletes are not in for an easy ride. The youngsters will hear from guest speakers including coaches from the England RFU Coaching team; Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree, sports psychologist, Robbie Anderson and mountaineer Bonita Norris; the youngest British woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

In 2007, the camp played host to Olympic Gold medallist rower, Katherine Copeland, who claimed Britain’s fourth rowing gold medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games with doubles partner, Sophie Hosking.

Alongside the camp, the Youth Sport Trust is also running a coaching academy, offering 200 young promising sports coaches of the future the opportunity to develop and improve their personal coaching style and skills, through a range of workshops and sessions on instruction, observation, analysis and feedback.

The National Young Coaches Academy, which is funded by Sport England, features sports coaches across ten sports including athletics, badminton, basketball, boccia, football, hockey, rugby union, swimming, table tennis and volleyball. The young coaches will join the athletes on the talent camp for a joint opening and closing address, which will provide an opportunity for them to share learning with young talented sports stars that they may well go on to support and coach in the future.

Joining the hockey stars will be Athens 2004 Olympic Gold medallist and Youth Sport Trust ambassador, Darren Campbell, who will share his experiences of his journey to elite sporting success and the pressures of being an elite sport performer.

Darren said: “Like me, many of these athletes will face some hard challenges and some will doubt their ability to achieve their dream. However, if they are committed, work hard and realise the sacrifices they will have to make in order to perform at the highest level, they will be on the right road to sporting success.”

Alison Oliver, Director of Sport at the Youth Sport Trust added: “The National Talent Camp is all about supporting talented young athletes and challenging their way of thinking about what it takes to be the best in sport; it will test their commitment to succeed.

“We know that behind every successful athlete is a coach and future sports stars need good coaches. Our aim for the young coaches attending the National Young Coaches Academy is that they gain a real understanding of the importance of relationship building and develop their coaching skills, so they can go on to inspire athletes to achieve in their sport.”