With pre-season training in full swing I took the opportunity of talking to Chris Simcock, Head of Coaching & Performance, and asking him a few questions about how pre-season was shaping up and how do the coaches make those final decisions on team selection.
Q: How does Pre-season training work?
A: We use pre-season training for a number of different reasons. Firstly, it gives all players a chance to dust off any cobwebs and simply enjoy being back on the hockey pitch. Secondly, it's an opportunity for the coaches to see how players have progressed since the end of last season. That could be in terms of fitness levels, functional playing skills and also mental maturity. The latter is just as important as technical skill, particularly in our younger players. The ability to make good, consistent decisions and cope with the pressures on the pitch is a really important part of ensuring players are selected for a team in which they will thrive and grow.
Q: How does selection work?
A: We have a club selection policy which underpins how we make our selection decisions (click here to view the selection policy). At this point in the season we will invite players to specific training squad sessions based on what we know about their current level of play. Over the pre-season training individuals may also be invited to a variety of squad sessions to give them the opportunity to train in different environments, with different coaches and different squads. This flexibility ensures we give every player the opportunity to train in the environment which enables them to be their best and to enable coaches to understand what a player's aspirations are for the season ahead
Q: Who makes the final decision?
A: We have a full coaches meeting, which will take place on 18th September, where we review all players, discuss their progress and their potential. This discussion enables all coaches to have an input and share what they have seen in players through the pre-season training. We then agree on the final team selection that will come into play the following week as we go into the first league games of the season.
Q: Does that mean selection is final on 18th September and you will always play in that team?
A: That's a really good question. As you know, at Fylde we live by our 3 Club values, Inspire, TeamWork and Respect. These all have a part to play in selection through the season. We aim to coach all players in a way that inspires them to continually look at how they can develop their playing, therefore we expect to see some players move teams as their playing progresses through the season. Teamwork thrives when we are clear on our expectations of ourselves and each other, therefore coaches will always be talking with players about what they want to work on and how to build their skills. Finally there will be times when tough decisions have to be made on team selection , we will communicate these honestly and with respect, remembering that we all play for Fylde HC, in the the team that needs us at that point in time.
Thanks Chris, and one final question… Who should players or parents talk to if they have any questions about selection?
In the first instance talk to the coach and / or captain at your training session. If for some reason they aren’t available to talk to you can contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org