Press Release - Men's Development Squad

Posted by David Devincenzi-Clemens on 2 May 2017

Gibraltar Men’s Development Squad Training camp at Loughborough University.

Over the long weekend the GHA Development Squad (as pictured) attended a training camp at Loughborough University.  The weekend was initiated by the GHA in conjunction with Graham Mansell-Grace (Panda) and Loughborough University.  Back in February, Panda held a three day goal keeping course for the GHA coaching staff and keepers on the rock.  It was here that the seed was sown for the concept of a training camp partnership.  The club president, Carl Ramagge met with Panda on several occasions prior to the weekend to discuss the content of the training camp, ensuring that it was bespoke to the needs of the GHA squad.

The squad met at 9am on Friday 28th May. With the low cloud, heavy rain and a diverted plane to Malaga, the squad arrived at Loughborough University in the early hours of Saturday morning; 16 hours after they met at Gibraltar airport.  The training session planned for Friday afternoon was postponed until later in the weekend.  The training sessions held by Panda and the Loughborough University Coaching staff were first class.  Paying particular attention to the set objectives, the players were put through their paces both on the field and in the classroom.  Not only was Panda coaching the players, he also mentored Head Coach Cristian Zammit.  Zammit then ensured that classroom activities were executed on the pitch, both in training and during the matches. 

   After the first training session and match against Loughborough Town Hockey Club it was time to draw up a list of development priorities. The game was action packed, resulting in the GHA winning 6-5. The local team started off well, putting pressure on the development squad.  With support from Graham Mansell-Grace (Panda) on the side-line, we soon found our feet.  Chris Duerden also supported Josè well in his umpiring skills with his decision making, giving tips and pointers both during and at the end of the game.  The second half started with the development squad 3-2 down.  A tactical team talk by Zammit and Panda meant that Ramagge had to steer his troops to play hockey and pass through the opposition.  With time ticking by it was soon 4-4, then in 2 minutes it became 5-4 and 5-5.  With 6 minutes left the goal scored by Gabay surely would secure a victory.

 

From the post-match analysis of individual players it was evident there were three priority areas for the squad to develop.  These were hot lining, man to man and transferring.  It was back to the training field so the players could start to learn to understand, practice and implement this into their tactical game play.  The team were supported by goalkeeper Laura Myers, GB Ladies development squad.  Myers worked with GHA keeper Joe Borg and the team, with Laura passing valuable tips and techniques linking to some of the focussed areas, for example hot lining. 

Active recovery was a main objective.  Ensuring that the players and coaches understand that it is an important part of any game both pre, during and postgame.  Under the direction of Zammit and Captain Ramagge, the team also started to implement strategies of 3 seconds and 5 passes.  This was executed on Sunday during the game against Loughborough University Men’s Hockey Club.  The players also worked hard on perfecting their understanding of hot lining, ball transfer and penalty corners.  The squad prepared themselves well with high standards for the second game of the weekend. The game was action packed, end to end with the score a 3-3 draw. 

 

The development squad faced a tough challenge playing the University. The University fielded a team of players belonging to their 1st to 5th XI squads.  40 players showed an interest in representing the University, a team of 16 were selected.   Before the match commenced, both teams, officials and supporters observed a one minute silence as a mark of respect for the loss of a fellow Gibraltarian who sadly lost his life in a car crash in Kent on 29th April.  The game was full of action, Stagno took control at the back ensuring that the new hot lining and 5 passing strategies were implemented from the off.  The development squad were soon down by a goal however they scored to draw level.  It was 2-1 on the score board to the home side at half time.  With Zammit and Panda giving an emotional tactical team talk the players came onto the pitch with passion for the second half.  The Gibraltarians put the pressure on and scored drawing level again.  With some end to end, skilful and dynamic hockey being played by both teams it was the University who scored their third.  Within the dying minutes of the game it was one last charge by the development squad, some excellent link play by Julian Hernandez and Julian Lopez saw the ball cross the line to draw 3-3, 20 seconds from the final whistle blown by Josè Ruiz.  Goals were scored by; Loughborough University Jonny Dalriuple (2) and Ben Spencer.
Gibraltar Development; Gabriel Benatar, Julian Lopez and Karl Lima.

The squad have taken many points back to the rock to develop before they depart for their competition this Summer.  Simple but effective points like keeping hydrated, working on and off the ball, jumping back and pressing high are just some of the excellent tips given.

The GHA would like to thank Graham- Mansell-Grace and the Loughborough University Sports team, especially Brett and Danny for supporting the GHA in the development of hockey.  This is the start of a long term partnership with Loughborough.  We hope to build on what we have been exposed to now we are back in Gibraltar, not only to our National team but through our club coaches at a club level.  Using technology has been and is becoming an important tool at National level and the GHA hopes to bring this player analysis technology to the hockey pitch in the near future, making it a world class training facility.

The Loughborough team said that “the GHA Development squad showed Intensity, Desire and Passion which were all principles from the heart”.

Carl Ramagge was overall extremely satisfied “Objectives were met”.

Christian Zammit had a great experience and learnt a lot about developing his coaching style and preparation of players.  “Bringing it all back to basics is something that you still have to do as a coach, even in top flight hockey”.

More information is available on the GHA website www.gibraltarhockeyassociation.com

 

Written by David Devincenzi-Clemens

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