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Bonnet on women’s progress

By Mark Etheridge

National women’s hockey coach, Giles Bonnet has identified six key areas that need attention after the squad’s recently completed tour to China.

Bonnet, a former international player and coach himself, was appointed to take over from from former women’s coach, Jenny King, shortly before the gruelling tour began.

And Bonnet was honest in saying that “not every objective was reached. But the process was started which was in itself a key goal.”

The six areas that Bonnet has identified as requiring attention at the July and August training camps are: technical skills, physical conditioning, decision making and on-field responsibility, specialist skills, set pieces and structures.

Bonnet says that a new style of play and framework were understood and implemented in the 12 matches played against the Chinese national team.

Key structures were introduced which gave players the appointments to play both with and without the ball. Specific technical training was started in specialist areas such as ‘keeper, drag-flick and striker trainin.

Importantly a collective vision was shared and identifiable and measurable goals were agreed on that would be required to make the vision possible to realise.

“The squad we had in China showed a strong resilience to being pushed hard and a fighting spirit to remain competitive which was very pleasing to see. As the group improves its structures and individual skills within the structures, this tough competitiveness will be able to turn good performances into results.

“There’s also the attitude to do the hard work required, very necessary to become a more competitive team. This was another important quality that stood out at this stage.”

The team, although never managing to beat China in the test matches, became more competitive as the tour went on, especially in the final three matches.

Of the road ahead, Bonnet said: “We’ve got two camps after the upcoming Interprovincial Tournament (East London in late July). This will allow us to continue the progress that was started in China. The camps will also form the start of our physical testing and individual physical planning programmes.”


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