Walking into 2017

walking hockey
A slimming world group, a couple of 60 year olds and even a lady who is getting treatment for cancer donned their tracksuits on Monday to give hockey a go with a slight twist! 

Bromsgrove HC has evolved their Back to Hockey sessions to cater for a new audience to ease people back into the sport by hosting ‘walking hockey’ sessions. Alan Gormley set up the sessions and was over moon that 35 people turned up ready to take on walking hockey. 

“It was incredible to see so many new faces to the session on Monday; I was optimistically aiming for 20 so it is great that so many more attended, showed my marketing paid off!!” Alan’s enthusiasm for hockey is a clear driver to why so many people enjoyed their evening and are eager for more! 

The idea stemmed from a Back to Hockey participant who found the sessions were a little too hard and instead of giving up suggested this idea to Alan. 

Liz Morris who proposed the idea to the club loved the session; ‘I loved hockey when I was younger, I played at school and then for Birmingham Municipal HC until I was about 30 then it all stopped. After a gap of 20–something years I tried Back To Hockey but needed something a little slower so I suggested to Alan that we start a walking hockey club. It’s been great tonight with so many like-minded people and I have made some new friends – really enjoyable.”

Anne Turton attended the Monday evening session using it as rehabilitation; ‘I played a lot of hockey as a youngster and it was my passion. I played a couple of seasons with Bromsgrove ladies but then I stopped and I wasn’t very active. In August 2015 I was diagnosed with myeloma – bone marrow cancer. I have come through some pretty hefty chemo sessions and this is part of my recovery periods, to build up stamina and to get as fit as I can. I wanted to get out and meet people rather than sitting at home feeling sort for myself.” 

Participants were raving about the session; “Thanks so much for the walking hockey session last night – it was great to get back to playing hockey despite being banned from running by my knee surgeon!  It was lovely to see such a good turnout and the session was really well organised and a great way to get to know other people.”

Alan who organised this session made sure he did his research beforehand, from how the session may look like to who the ideal audience is. Here are 
Alan’s top tips for any club who fancies hosting their own walking hockey sessions. 

1. Research your local market to see if there is a need or latent requirement
2. Market across all media channels regularly and in a lively and varied way
3. Involve your local sports bodies and regional EH representative.
4. Come up with a project cost model that is attractive to and affordable for participants
5. If possible run the session before a Back To or club session so people can see, if they want to, a pathway
6. Involve other suitable club members in the launch session
7. Have a good supply of long sticks so people do not have to bend too far – lots of our people were older and less flexible than existing players.
8. Create a first session that eases people into the sport paying particular attention to a relevant warm up and a run through key basic skills
9. Have a coach who can relate to and communicate with participants in a lively, relaxed and friendly way.
10. Remember that the participants will have a vast range of expectations and will almost certainly be nervous and / or apprehensive. Greet them individually and create a session that is relaxed but well organized. 
11. Follow up immediately after the session with each person to get their reaction.
If you would like to host your own walking hockey sessions please get in touch with Alan from Bromsgrove here. We think this is a great initiative and excited to see how the sessions progress! 

walking hockey poster