Bobby Crutchley: looking ahead to 2015

Barry Middleton and Bobby Crutchley celebrate 450

As 2014 draws to a close we caught up with Great Britain and England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley as he looks back on a successful year and gives us his thoughts on what's to come in 2015.

Looking back at 2014: “2014 has been a big improvement from the previous year. I feel that the whole group have made significant strides and if you take into account the fourth place finish at the World Cup and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games I think we are slightly ahead of the curve of success we have been working towards as we continue to build up to the Olympic Qualifiers next year and Rio in 2016.”

On the Champions Trophy and England performances in India: “Finishing seventh at the Champions Trophy was obviously disappointing, but as a coach I am looking at the quality of play and I’ve been really encouraged by some of the hockey we produced during the tournament."

"Obviously we want to win tournaments and be in the medal matches on a regular basis and working with this squad I believe that’s not too far away, but we need to win the key battles when tournaments reach the knock-out phase and we didn’t manage to do that this time around.”

So what areas will you be focusing on to make those key matches? “Ultimately we have to convert our performances into better results and medals, but I know there’s no straightforward answer to that. There’s definitely been improvements in our attacking play and I think we showed that out in India, but there is still work to do to improve the consistency of scoring from open play. That’s quite a specific area though and as a team we put a high level of importance in our training to progress every area of our game. One of my main aims is to ensure that the training environment continues to get better, which in turn will help our international performances.”

Switching to Great Britain and looking ahead to 2015: “We have more flexibility with switching to Great Britain and it will be good to have players like Chris Grassick available. The Champions Trophy provided a great platform for newcomers Chris Griffiths and Sam Ward to make the step up to senior international hockey and I was really pleased with their performances. I think it’s clear to see the extra strength in depth we are beginning to build up in the squad and this is such a vital area for us if we are to consistently compete with the top nations."

What the year looks like: "2015 will be a busy year with the Olympic Qualifiers and the European Championships in London in August. Looking ahead to the Olympic Qualifiers in June, how we prepare for that tournament in the first half of the year will be key. It comes back to how important the training environment is for us and then we’ll use test matches against Belgium, a ticketed game against Germany in London and the Hamburg Masters to provide us with a good benchmark for where we stand heading into the summer."

We'll be catching up with Great Britain and England Women's Head Coach Danny Kerry over the next week or so as he looks back at the recent Champions Trophy, progress made this year and what's to come in 2015.