Back to Hockey: Hints and tips

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Bicester Hockey Club have been running Back to Hockey sessions for a number of years. Chris Birch, the club's Development Officer shares their story and offers some tips for other clubs thinking of being part of the next National Back to Hockey Campaign in May.

"We started to run Back to Hockey sessions initially because the club needed more players. We decided to have half pitch sessions on a Thursday evening 7:30 - 9pm, so there was enough time to sort kids' tea if necessary.

We knew promoting the sessions would be key to our success. Our local media push has been varied; through word of mouth of our existing club members, promotion in the local paper, via Twitter, message boards, company HR departments (putting up posters on their company notice boards) and occupying stands at community events.

A real mix of players come along to sessions, men and women from 18 years old to late 50s attend regularly.

Since the Back to Hockey sessions first started 16 new players are now playing club hockey and it has helped us to establish a new ladies 4th team. We’ve also gained a number of volunteers; a team captain, a level 2 coach and a director of junior hockey – you cannot put a price on that!"

What are your tips for other clubs looking to start Back to Hockey sessions?

"- Focus on the aim of the sessions– They are for new and returning players, not existing ones! Keep the sessions light and fun and invite friendly lower team players (ideally previous Back to Hockey players) to the sessions to show all abilities are able to play hockey.

- Pitch hire – Ask your local council if they can support the sessions or look to see whether there is any local funding you may be able to access. Back to Hockey sessions can fall under getting people active so can they off free or discounted pitch hire.

- Go for a drink after the sessions!!"

The next National Back to Hockey Campaign is set to launch on the 11th of May and we welcome clubs to be part of it. If Back to Hockey sessions could help your club grow and you would like to take part, speak to your local Relationship Manager to find out more.