Launched in September 2017, the purpose of the Great Britain Elite Development Programme (EDP) is to provide players who have the potential to become medal-winning Olympians of the future the best possible opportunity to achieve their international hockey ambitions.
As with the senior international programmes, the GB EDP is coordinated by England Hockey on behalf of all the home nations. This work forms part of the Great Britain Framework (link to page referencing this under Governance) that exists between England Hockey, Scottish Hockey and Hockey Wales.
The programme is funded by UK Sport and the National Lottery as part of Great Britain Hockey's World Class Programme.
The GB EDP sits within the Performance Development segment of the Great Britain and England Player Development model. The Performance Development stage is about keeping the potential international athlete of the future in mind. It is about motivating and inspiring them in a hockey context.
The aim is to provide high-quality experiences that provide satisfaction through accomplishment. At this level, players will also have a clearer line of sight to senior international hockey through U21, other age group competitive opportunities and potentially early exposure to senior international hockey itself, further igniting their interest and aspirations. While players are unlikely to be full time hockey players with most studying at university, they will be making lifestyle decisions to support their hockey.
- Identify and select the most talented future senior internationals with the potential to perform at world’s best level
- Implement a programme that enables players to maximise their potential and that supports the development of the skills, physicality and character required to become a medal winning Olympian in the future
- Deliver junior international teams that excel at U21 and non-U21 level (Junior European Championships, Junior World Cups and non-U21 competitions)
The GB EDP runs on an annual cycle from January to December each year.
A formal assessment phase is conducted in the autumn each year for current members of the programme and athletes are nominated by a Home Nation, GB EDP Head Coach or English/Scottish National League Club.
Ad hoc assessment opportunities may be conducted at additional times. Any ad hoc assessment phase will be agreed between the GB Head of Elite Talent Development and the relevant GB EDP head coach and will be communicated clearly in advance to any athlete involved as well as those athletes currently involved in the programme.
Full details of the selection criteria and process can be found here.
GB EDP is a Great Britain-centric programme and is built on a principle of GB primacy (e.g. maximising opportunities for GB players).
As Great Britain doesn't compete consistently at junior international level and as the Home Nations compete independently as Home Nations, there are times throughout the competitive season when the focus is on Home Nation activity e.g., England senior international and U21 competition. These have been agreed with all Home Nations and align with preparation for major competitions where the Home Nations compete separately.
As England is the Nominated Country in the GB Framework Agreement, the England U21 programme is embedded within the GB EDP and, for this reason, there will always be a minimum of 24 England U21 players selected to GB EDP each year.
Since its inception in 2017, several players have gone on to earn places in the senior programmes.
2018 - Tess Howard, Rhys Smith, Zach Wallace, Jack Waller
Having featured for both England and GB at youth level, Rhys Smith, Zach Wallace and Jack Waller all made their senior international debuts for GB at the 2018 Seoul Anniversary Internationals. Two months later, Zach and Jack helped England's men to a fourth-placed finish at the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup before they also represented England at the 2019 EuroHockey Championships. All three have featured for GB in the FIH Hockey Pro League too.
In November 2018, Tess Howard was selected for the GB team who took part in that year's Champions Trophy. She made her debut in the opening game against China and featured in every match, scoring her first senior international goal in just her third appearance against Japan. She then made her England debut at the 2019 EuroHockey Championships and scored to help GB qualify for the Tokyo Games in the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
2019 - Esme Burge, Izzy Petter, Tom Sorsby
All three players transitioned from the GB EDP into the senior programmes within a few weeks of each other and made their international debuts for GB in the FIH Hockey Pro League that year. Tom since become an ever-present in defence and made his England debut in August 2019 before going on to play in the EuroHockey Championships later that month.
Izzy Petter hit the ground running on the international scene, scoring in just her fourth game for GB against Germany before finding the target in her third England appearance against Belarus at the 2019 EuroHockey Championships. The former goal was assisted by Burge, who was playing just her second international game.
In addition, GB EDP members Holly Hunt and Alex Malzer also made their senior international debuts for GB's women during the year. Josh Pavis and Peter Scott also received maiden call-ups.
2020 - Fiona Crackles, Ollie Payne
A highly rated goalkeeper and 2019 EuroHockey Junior Championships silver medallist, Ollie Payne was offered a place in the senior men's programme in September 2020 and made his international debut against The Netherlands in the FIH Hockey Pro League just a few weeks later.
Fiona Crackles - who captained England's U18s to EuroHockey Youth Championships bronze in 2018 - also made her senior bow that day for the women's team and, despite her young age, showed impressive maturity against both the Dutch and Belgium and was rewarded by being offered a full-time place on the programme in January 2021.
In addition, Sophie Hamilton also played her first senior matches for GB against The Netherlands and Belgium with Holly Hunt also featuring on one occasion. Miriam Pritchard was also called up to the squad for those fixtures.
As a UK Sport funded sport, a number of Athlete Performance Awards (APAs) are allocated to hockey. The APA is a National Lottery grant awarded to certain athletes in support of their progression towards medal success at the Olympic Games. The APA is designed to enable athletes to engage fully with the programme and meet the necessary training and competition demands associated with progression towards the Olympic podium. The APA grant contributes towards the living and sporting costs that athletes incur whilst being a member of the Programme.
GB Hockey has been allocated 40 awards per gender for the Tokyo Olympic cycle across the EDP and the senior centralised programme. The number of awards available to the GB EDP will fluctuate during an Olympic cycle dependent on the needs of the senior teams, performance need and breadth/depth of ‘talent’. At certain points in the cycle, athlete numbers on the programme may be increased or reduced in order to best serve the performance need at a particular time, subject to the absolute discretion of Great Britain and England Hockey.
The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) is a Sport England funded partnership between talented athletes, education institutions and national governing bodies of sport.
It aims to support English athletes to fulfil their sporting potential and to meet their academic and vocational goals, through a dual process which creates a genuine balance between sport and education.
England Hockey receives a number of scholarships each year for eligible English athletes (England U21 members of the GB EDP) who do not receive an Athlete Personal Award (APA) through the UK Sport World Class Programme. On average we envisage athletes will remain on TASS for one-to-two years before they transition to the World Class Programme or complete their academic studies.
For more details, click here to visit the TASS website.