Once again our HockeyMagic conductors are on the road, this time to Slovakia. Tomislav and Dick sent us a report, check it out below!
Less than 24 hours after coming home from Denmark, we continued the Caravan in the direction of Slovakia. This time with a van, which made it possible to take the goalie gear donation and more special HockeyMagic ‘tools’ with us. In addition travelling by van made the special caravan feeling complete. 24 hours later we reached our destination.
Our first station in Slovakia was SK Senkvice, nearby Bratislava. A club with a long tradition, a big hockey heart and a good artificial pitch, which was recycled pitch organised through an EHF donation, that was laid down two years ago by the players themselves. In Senkvice we had a two day clinic (2nd and 3rd July) which gave us the possibility to extend the techniques and exercises with more details and more variation.
During the two very hot days we had more than 30 players from three different Slovakian clubs. Some of them travelling more than 100 km (in one direction) just to join us. In spite of the heat, the players enjoyed the exercises very much, especially blindfolded hitting, balance and coordination, HockeyMagic tricks, games and the biggest favourite Australian style hockey. We were supported by eight local coaches, with whom we shared our teaching methods and some of the latest coaching developments from The Netherlands. On Friday evening, we loaded the bus again and headed 120 km up north to our next stop in Nova Dubnica.
Nova Dubnica has two clubs, and less players than the region around Bratislava, but their hockey heart is just as big. They only have small sized pitches and dream of a real size pitch one day. However, as we have seen in the two-day-clinic, there is plenty of hockey talent growing. Some of the young players really impressed us with their level and all of them impressed us with their dedication. In spite of 30 plus degree weather on both days, the players stayed focused on hockey for the whole time.
Also in Nova Dubnica we had a great support of local coaches and volunteers. A nice detail was that our visit drew attention of some veterans who used to play in the 70’sand 80’s, the golden age of field hockey in this area with many more clubs and many more players. We hope that these times will come again one day!
The European Hockey Federation would like to thank Slovakian Hockey Federation, board members Matus Parajka and Zuzana Strapkova in particular, for inviting us and organizing this Caravan. Everywhere we went we felt welcome on and off the pitch and truly enjoyed this hockey road trip. Everyone’s eyes lit up when we showed them some HockeyMagic, and the coaches were very enthusiastic, which helped make this experience truly remarkable and all about our shared passion, hockey.
Source and photographs: Dick Besters and Tomislav Jamicic