A New Way Forward - U16 and U18 open selection receives over 650 nominations

Talent Development - A New Way Forward
During the week of 26 October, England Hockey will be welcoming more than 650 talented young players to three venues across the UK to demonstrate their skills and potential as the squads for the England Age Groups (U16 and U18) are selected.

In a year that will be remembered for uncertainty, universal change and finding new ways of working, the open nomination process that has been piloted this year is a demonstration of finding a solution to enable squad selection to take place within the limitations of Covid-19 restrictions. It is also, perhaps more importantly, an example of England Hockey listening to feedback and enabling wider and more diverse opportunities to identify and engage our future England and Great Britain senior players. 

In August, England Hockey published their Talent Strategy 2021. This was developed following consultation with members including the Talent Survey and sets out a vision to create a talent system that will take performance hockey to a new level, is inclusive and diverse, and generates a talent pipeline that everyone is proud of.

Something that we have been aware of and which the talent survey feedback reinforced, are the barriers that prevent young people from accessing and progressing through the current system. This new approach to England Age Group selection will value a player’s current performance and their future potential, and with nominations invited from the hockey community, it will enable a broader pool of talented players to be observed and considered for the Under 16 or Under 18 squads.

"We asked club, school and player pathway coaches to provide more information on the performance and potential of players than ever before and were delighted to receive over 650 nominations.” said England Hockey’s Junior Talent Manager, Dieter Hill, adding, “huge thanks go to all those who have engaged with us on our new direction.”

Of the open nomination process, England Hockey Performance Director, Ed Barney commented, “I’m really enthused to see the team at England Hockey, working with the wider hockey community, acting quickly on the feedback received and embarking on some tangible, exciting steps forward. We are committed to building a talent system which is more accessible, more impactful, creates more opportunities and enables young athletes to progress based on the talent they demonstrate and potential to challenge for senior squad places.”

The evolution of a new talent system which centres around shared ambitions and is developed in partnership with the hockey community will take time. The next step will be a series of (virtual) forums and focus groups in November. Our intention is to provide more information, address many of the questions you have raised so far and seek your input on key topics as the strategy evolves together.

Information about how you can access these will be shared in the coming weeks. If you would like to register your interest to be contacted directly about these forums, please email talent@englandhockey.co.uk.

Finally, we would like to wish every young player attending the selection events the best of luck and record our gratitude to everyone who has nominated young players.

We would also like to thank all those involved in the planning, organisation and delivery of the events, particularly our incredible Hockey Maker volunteers.