EHF High Level Coaching Seminar

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During the Trifinance EuroHockey Championships in Antwerpen 5 weeks ago, the European Hockey Federation held a High Level Coaching Seminar, here is a summary that I wrote to the EHF website about the seminar:

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During the last TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Boom (Antwerpen), Belgium I had the opportunity together with other coaches from the EHF Top Coaches programme and some other invited coaches to attend the EHF High Level Coaching Seminar from 16th– 22nd August.

Those were 6 intense days in which time went by flying…

Friday night, a welcome drink in the bar from the urban yet cozy Crowne Plaza Hotel in Antwerpen (our headquarters during the 6-day seminar) was enough to ‘break the ice’ between the 11 attendants and the 3 conductors; The English Norman Hughes – CDO of the EHF Development Committee, The Dutch Herman Kruis – Member of the FIH High Performance Committee and Group Leader of EHF Coaching Committee and last but not least the Spaniard Alberto Rodriguez – video analysis expert (former video analyst from Spanish National Team) and owner of the video analysis software Nacsport.

Soon you understand that although we all come from different cultures and coaching backgrounds our common interest (passion) made us all immediately connect and easily communicate with each other.

Every day, in groups of 3 coaches we needed to analyze live 2 competition matches in which we always had 2 different assessments per match (previously indicated by the conductors) for instance; patterns of midfielders, patterns of attackers, ball transfer rate and areas, attacking areas and successful rate, substitution patterns and structures, to name a few.

After returning from the stadium to the hotel there it was time to prepare a report to be presented the day after for the rest of the attendees to appreciate and discuss, always under the watchful eye of Herman Kruis.

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The fact that every day the working groups changed created an additional challenge as you needed to adapt to a different profile of individuals/working methods.

In-between the early morning group presentations we also had the privilege to assist to some amazing lectures from the following presenters:

  • Zoe Wimhurst – England. Zoe presented a session on “Vision training for Hockey”
  • Rudiger Haenel – Germany. Rudi presented a session on “Creativity v Drills”
  • Michel van den Heuvel – Netherlands. Michel  presented a session on “Developments in International Top Hockey”
  • Bernar Herrera – Spain. Bernar presented a session on “The use of statistics to improve Goalkeeper training”
  • Michel Kinnen – Belgium. Michel presented a session on “The Belgian Road to Performance Success”

This variety of subjects and profiles from the presenters created a very interesting mix.

We started with the British Zoe Wimhurst delivering a theoretical and practical session about the use of vision skills in hockey and how GB Hockey is working in that area, then the charismatic former top keeper from Spain Bernar Herrera talked about his goal scoring research from London 2012 and World League Round 3 and how those statistics can effectively help you to improve goalkeeping and attacking/scoring training, after we had the top Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel (currently coaching the 1st mens team of Eindhoven Oranje Zwart) in a very relaxed, casual conversation about his coaching career, insights and stories about international competitions and players and finally the Belgian renowned coach Michel Kinnen made a presentation about the  recent successful path of the Belgian hockey (How did they got where there and what is the long term expectation and sustainability plan).

All this activities, lectures, presentations, practical sessions, stats and analyzing over analyzing under the time pressure of deadlines strictly controlled by the conductors allowed us to experience an intensive (sometimes stressful) learning process and that was also one of the goals of this seminar: to replicate a realistic high competition event situation where deadlines, stress and unpredictable situations are permanent factors.

In the name of the group that attended to this seminar in Boom I would like to express the gratefulness to the EHF for the ability and competence to put together such an enlightening and inspiring group of conductors and presenters, a special word for Norman, Herman and Alberto.

In a last note the privilege to attend to this course it is simultaneously a responsibility to share and replicate all the information and expertise delivered during the seminar.

Hockey Greetings,

Bernardo Fernandes

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