• Junior Performance

Talent Development – A New Way Forward March 2022 Update

The introduction of England Hockey’s new talent system continues with both the accreditation of the first cohort of Talent Centres and the appointment of the first Talent Academies to be confirmed this spring.

The initial cohort of 37 clubs working towards Talent Centre accredited status have put in an enormous amount of work over the last six months, supported by the Talent Team at England Hockey. The end of March will be the first opportunity for clubs to be evaluated against the criteria and we look forward to recognising the first Talent Centre accredited clubs over the coming weeks.

Working closely with clubs, we know that some will need a little more time so there will be a second evaluation window between March and the end of June 2022.

We have received positive feedback from cohort 1 clubs on the resources, workshops, and individual support that they have been able to access as they work towards Talent Centre accreditation. These are helping to guide clubs as they further develop high quality provision and environments for young athletes at the early talent development stage (Talent Foundations).

In December 2021, we held engagement workshops for clubs interested in being involved in the second Talent Centre cohort, and plan to run some more in June ahead of inviting expressions of interest for 2022/23. We expect to be able to confirm the clubs involved in Talent Centre cohort 2 in late July 2022.

County Hockey, which has provided an invaluable training environment to thousands of young players for so many years, remains a key component of the Talent Foundations stage of the new system. Local County Hockey activity will continue to be administered and delivered by counties alongside club and school activity.

The Talent Academy appointment process is ongoing. Talent Academies are intended for the highest potential 15 – 18-year-old players. We estimate that at present there are approximately 500 players per gender ready for the intensity and commitment of a Talent Academy. All applicants have received one to one meetings and multiple contacts with members of the Talent Team to establish their readiness to host and effectively deliver a Talent Academy.

A panel, including independent representation for each Area, will review the shortlisted applications against the assessment criteria and make recommendations to the England Hockey Executive Board for approval.  The Terms Of Reference (TOR) of the panel can be found here.

As the new Talent System develops over the coming seasons, we anticipate many more clubs becoming involved, particularly at the talent foundations stage, delivering a Talent Centre. Matching the environment to an individual’s physical, mental, and social needs at any point in time is critical in ensuring they thrive, develop, and enjoy their hockey experience.

England Hockey’s Right Athlete, Right Environment (RARE) resource provides some guidance about the questions to ask and areas to consider. We encourage parents to use the RARE document as a guide if they are considering moving their child to a different hockey environment.

Finally, we have communicated directly to schools that have engaged with England Hockey in the past, acknowledging that further work is required in this area to learn how changes to the Talent System can have the most impact in a school setting.  Further details can be found here.

For further information on the new talent system, please visit the dedicated pages of the website where you’ll find FAQ’s and resources. If you have a query that is not answered on the website, please email talent@englandhockey.co.uk.