President Fabian Stewart says the Jamaica Hockey Federation has started a virtual training programme in association with the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to focus on youth development in the sport.
Stewart told The Gleaner that the programme is headed by Argentinian coach Pablo Mendoza, FIH master coach Rodolfo Mendoza, and PAHF coach Chris Clements.
He said it is important to keep all stakeholders engaged during this time as they have been inactive since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID is very rough, that’s the first thing, and every single solitary plan now is tentative,” Stewart said. “What we have done is to start our online training programme that is dedicated to our elite coaches group and is specifically for our Under-21, or our national junior players. Starting on October 20, we will start our virtual training programme for club, school, and other coaches across Jamaica, and it is expected to run from now until December.
“The other aspect of our programme, which is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) programme, which is in conjunction with the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), is geared towards youth development as well. It has been pushed back to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that will see the coaches, including Pablo Mendoza, come to Jamaica to directly engage the junior players. We are awaiting new information for the date and time for that programme from our international partner.
“What we’re trying to do is continue our development work because we have all the plans in place for our normal season as our calendar is standard. But that all depends on the protocols, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the Ministry of Sport. We can’t make any plans until we are given permission to do so.”
Stewart said that discussions have been ongoing with the respective ministries regarding the reopening of the Mona Hockey Field to start individual training in accordance with online sessions.
JHF vice-president Audrey Gaynor said that the players are happy to be engaged in the sport and that the JHF has ensured that each player is provided with their own hockey equipment during these sessions.
“So now, we have all the various coaches, about 10, and we have split up the boys and the girls to be coached via Zoom. There is also specialist training, such as sessions for goalkeepers and so forth, on a special day and time,” Gaynor said.
“We’re going to start with the players. We just actually sorted out the groupings for them. Whatever work they have given the players to do, they will videotape those sessions, and the coaches will review and give feedback. We’re not doing anything tactical. It is mostly technical work because they are limited to the amount of work they can do unless they are on the pitch.”