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Bishop’s Stortford HC Capitalise on Olympics Interest with Vitality Back to Hockey.

The Olympics brings increased visibility to Hockey and Bishop’s Stortford HC have used this opportuning to attract 18 new and returning players to their Vitality Back to Hockey Sessions.

Richard Temple, the organiser and coach of the sessions, has kindly shared their story and what it means for those who #PickUpAStick.

Back to Hockey has returned to Bishop’s Stortford this year to ensure we build on the interest in the game in Olympic year. We initially ran Vitality Back to Hockey in 2012 as the London games was an ideal year to get people inspired about the sport. Over 100 players have attended Vitality Back to Hockey over the last decade and not only did it help save some of the lower sides – it has been a contributing factor to the growth of the club. In 2012 we had four ladies’ adult sides and this forthcoming season we will have eight, as many Vitality Back to Hockey players have gone on to join the club and play regular hockey.

The Olympics is a perfect time to start Vitality Back to Hockey as it primes people to getting active again. Whilst coverage of the games has been shared with Discovery Plus, the BBC have done a good job in showing as many of the GB games as possible on their main channels or red button.

Our current sessions have 18 players signed up, so a good size of group to work with. The gaps between when people last played ranges from 10-34 years, with one completely new starter!

Vitality Back to Hockey has always been personally important to me as I stopped playing hockey for fifteen years and only returned to the game in 2004, so I have some empathy with how lapsed and new players may be feeling. It also was my pathway into getting qualified as a lead club coach and it’s great to see the movement from people being shy and apprehensive about playing to becoming more confident and start to ‘own their play’. We have also seen really good friendship groups being formed over the years and of course we’d like as many Vitality Back to Hockey players progress to regular club hockey.

A number of players have also shared their thoughts on Vitality Back to Hockey;

Caroline, Mary, Louise and Georgina - Bishop's Stortford Back To Hockey

“I found about it via the club’s Facebook post and encouraged a load of my friends ironically from the rugby club to come along. I am really enjoying the camaraderie but also meeting new people too. I hadn’t played since school which was 30 years ago.”

Louise Clark

“I found about Back to Hockey from the club email and also Facebook and Instagram posts. I have never held a stick before. My daughter plays in the U16s and in the adult section of the club. I come along to watch her every week and now I have so much more appreciation and respect for the game. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both sessions so far and would encourage anyone with any doubts; do it. I really wish I had done Back to Hockey in previous years.”

Georgina Baldwin

“I last played at school 28 years ago – although I did play Essex schools as well. I played a little bit at university in student competitions and in the Kent League. I found out about it on social media and Louise encouraged me to attend. When I last played it was on grass so I was never really taught the astro skills and it’s been really fun and interesting to learn.”

Caroline Flanagan

“I last played back home in Canada nearly 24 years ago and I have never played on astroturf before. My son plays in the U10s and one of the other parents had attended Back to Hockey in previous years and really recommended it. I am loving it and the environment is really friendly and supportive.”

Mary Sanders

Vicky and Alison - Bishop’s Stortford Back To Hockey

“My two kids play in the junior section on Sunday. I’m not sure I can commit to weekly league hockey however I have wanted to give it a go. I recommend it to anyone trying to get back into the game.”

Vicky Thompson

“Vicky persuaded me to come along. I’ve not played for nine years and I’ve really enjoyed the sessions so far. I am tempted to get back into league hockey.”

Alison Bassett

Are you feeling inspired by the Olympics, looking for something new to try or just looking to get back into hockey? You can find your local Vitality Back to Hockey sessions here.

Club can still make the most of the summer and be prepared for the new season. Find out how Vitality Back to Hockey can help you club here and make the most of ClubSpark, a free online management system that makes it more convenient to register, manage and promote your sessions.

Do you have a story to share? Please send it to stories@englandhockey.co.uk