Walking Hockey keeps picking up speed at Portsmouth HC

Portsmouth Walking Hockey
When they put on a Walking Hockey session as part of their 2018 #HockeyFest, little did Portsmouth HC know they would now boast a group of more than 80 members.

Cllr Lee Mason, former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, had set the club the task of making small changes and big differences to get the city active. 

But even he would not have guessed just how much of a difference the club would make in such a short space of time, with 20 of their Walking Hockey group having never picked up a stick previously.

As part of his proposed plan to get Portsmouth active, Cllr Mason had a collective aim of walking one million miles, losing one million pounds of weight and volunteers dedicating one million hours of time to their community.

Having seen the benefits of Walking Hockey, he said: “Everyone has a part to play in Walking Hockey; everyone is involved as a team. 

“It attracts people who wouldn’t be involved in sport otherwise and it’s great to see generations of families who are able to play with each other. You would not have that mix of age, ability or experiences in other spheres.”

This latter point is something that Alf Wimshurst – head coach at Portsmouth HC and the Walking Hockey organiser – is very proud of.

“It’s been great for families, we’ve found parents of kids who are at the club already have picked up a stick and know how their kid feels,” he explained.

“The sessions are purely aimed at being informal and enjoyable. Each week all you can hear is the laughter come from all the pitches. 

“We have gained new members, both those who are only interested in Walking Hockey and those who have also decided they want to take part in other sessions we offer. 

“It’s fantastic to watch the family enthusiasm grow. It creates a great atmosphere at the sessions.”

One of the families that attend the sessions are the Barnes’, with Paul and Andrea – a self-confessed ‘Hockey Mum’ who only played the sport for the first time three years ago - joined by their two hockey-mad sons Owen and Tristan.

Speaking about attending the sessions with his family, Tristan said: “We play against each other but it’s never too serious.  Other hockey can be serious, and you are going along to win the games, however here it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s still good.”

Paul also added: “It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, or a previous player coming back to the sport, it gives you a great opportunity to get involved in the sport you love no matter what your age. Also, it’s great to spend time and play sport with the family.”

Sometimes individuals need a little nudge to convince them to return to the sport.

Peter Russell was one of those, having hung up his stick. However he did keep in contact with some of his old team-mates and it was they who persuaded him to take up Walking Hockey, a decision he is very glad he made.

He said: “It’s a good game to play and there are lots of people of different ages with different skills. It just nice that everyone gets on, there are simple rules and it’s so relaxed which is the attraction for me. It’s only an hour long so I can manage, but is a great form of exercise as I walked two miles tonight”

If your club is interested in offering Walking Hockey please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/walkinghockey or speak to your Relationship Manager.  There is a range of support available including an Online Management Portal, a club support guide and promotional materials.