Plan to foster Tweed hockey

THE next crop of elite Australian elite hockey players could be budding on the Tweed right now.

That is the opinion of representative team coach Margaret Coleman who has established a development squad on the Tweed to nurture the skills of junior players and prepare them for the next level.

The squad had its first session at Murwillumbah's Barrie Smith Fields on Sunday with 42 players training under the guidance of eight coaches.

Coleman, who coaches the Tweed Border under-11 girls representative team, said she had for some time been toying with the idea of a development squad.

"Our talented players need that extra tuition and training to take them to the next level, to show them as many aspects as possible of what elite athletes aspire to," she said.

"I rallied the support of about eight coaches, sought approval from the (Tweed Border Hockey) board, and it has gone from there.

"We identified about 60 players in the under-13 to under-15 age group and sent out letters inviting them to join the squad."

Among the coaches assisting the squad is former Hockeyroo and Olympic gold medallist Sharon Buchanan.

Coleman said Australia had helped set the standard for international hockey but it was necessary to continue to develop young talent to maintain the nation's position on the world stage.

"It is important to get the basics right to start with so we teach them about nutrition and fitness, and enhance their skills with intensive training, to give them an idea of what it takes to be an elite athlete," she said.

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