Clubhouse: Join the club - Richmond HC

Richmond HC

The Clubhouse, England Hockey's new annual magazine insert, delivers interviews, tips and coaching guides straight to your letterbox or perhaps even your clubhouse. For the most recent issue we spoke to Richmond Hockey Club.

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Richmond Hockey Club is like many other clubs in the country. Filled with enthusiastic players and coaches, optimistic about the future, and with a burgeoning junior section. We went down to the Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground on Sunday morning to find out just what makes the club tick and to speak to the full range of coaches that call the club home. What we found is that being a coach at club level is atough but rewarding role – psychologist, tactician, tub-thumper, cone-carrier, mentor, travel organiser, shoulder to cry on – the list of roles acoach has to take on is seemingly endless…

Richmond Hockey Club was founded way back in 1874, with Richmond Ladies beingformed in 1989 and a junior section being added in 2003. Now over 400 players train and take part in competitive fixtures, with the men back in the England Hockey National League.

Men’s captain Andrew Denye says: “Like many clubs we have had our ups and downs but since we put a new framework in place five years ago things have really started to pick up. Acknowledging that not everything can be fixed overnight was the simplest yet hardest aspect to take on board for all of us. That made the task of identifying achievable goals and committing time and energy towards them easier, and having people take ownership of specific tasks was absolutely key.

“The market for top-quality coaches is very competitive so whilst we continue to look to recruit from outside, we have also started to invest heavily within the club on players who want to make the switch to the dug-out. We are also looking to younger coaches so that we can develop them ourselves and ensure that every team has access to a coach who will inspire them and allow them to fulfil their potential.

He adds: “We rely so much on our coaches and volunteers We have a few professional coaches but as so often in the sport, people give their time freely because they love what they are doing. Former GB skipper Soma Singh is our elite coach and is supported by 1st team manager/coach Ben Blake. Their squad, which makes up the 1st and 2nd teams, consists of about 40 players, with Robert Noall coaching the 2nd team.

"Below that we have a men’s club coach, Peter Moralee, who looks after general club coaching. Each Thursday we have about 60-70 men at training and the elite men also do a fitness programme in groups on Tuesday nights with the details emailed out each week."

Richmond Ladies captain Alex Ferguson adds: “We have Matt Brigden as 1st team coach, Oli Hyatt as 2nd team coach, Robert Noall coaching the 3rd and 4th teams and Farrukh Ahmed in charge of the 5th and 6th teams. They all train on a Tuesday, with some 80-90 ladies training across two pitches.”

She continues: “A lot of players left at the same time two years ago – it’s the kind of thing that can happen at club level – one person goes and others follow. It was a challenging situation but one you need to approach in a positive frame of mind. We ended up with a few teams relegated but now we’re starting to turn things round. We’ve also had a new set of coaches this year and we are working together to build team spirit and trust.”

To read more about Richmond Hockey Club and what their coaches had to say about the challenges posed by club coaching, as well as loads of other great features, download the latest copy of The Clubhouse, available at the bottom of this page.