National Girls Hockey Academy to Double Up on Offering this October

It has been 18 months since the launch of the national hockey development initiative, the Investec Hockey Academy. These holidays, to celebrate its phenomenal growth, the academy will be taking its coaching line-up of SA Hockey icons to both Durban and Nelspruit.

Recognising the need for development of the sport, the Investec Hockey Academy travels around the country, throughout the year, with the intention of growing and sustaining the future of SA Women’s hockey on the international stage.

This October, the academy’s courses will be offered to the both KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga hockey fraternities for the first time since its inception.

Among the exciting line-up of SA Hockey players, coaches and experts are SA Women’s Hockey players’ Shelley Russell, Bernadette Coston and Sulette Damons, SA Under-21 Women’s coach Lindsey Wright, former Sharks Head Physiotherapist Ruan Fourie and many more.

Based on the Investec International Rugby Academy, an affiliated initiative for boys founded in 2009, the Investec Hockey Academy allows former and current, national players and coaches a chance to use their experience and knowledge to offer mentorship to young players and coaches.

The Investec Hockey Academy offers courses for players at all levels; a Fundamental Players’ course (aged 8 to 11), an Intermediate Players’ course (aged 12 to 15), an Advanced Players’ course (aged 16 to 18) and a Coaches course (all levels).

“I really feel that SA players have to work at twice the intensity of other nations, in order to compete in a professional environment. In order to facilitate in this process, the Investec Hockey Academy aims to start this process from a school-level so that when these players have finished school, they are already equipped with the knowledge needed to become a professional,” says SA Women’s Hockey player and general manager of the Investec Hockey Academy, Shelley Russell.

The academy’s courses are designed to cover a variety of key principles to the sport; including vision and reaction training, sports nutrition, mental toughness, injury prevention and recovery, as well as the latest information on skills training and player development.

Hockey coaches, according to Russell, are vital to the development of players and the sport in the country. The Investec Hockey Academy’s Coaching Course enables coaches to stay-up-to-date with the latest international trends in the game and to create a platform where coaches can share their knowledge and experiences with one another.

“By creating a platform where passionate hockey players and coaches can learn by being exposed to top-level coaching personnel, we hope to create an environment where young players can grow their games. We want to see the natural-born talent that we have in abundance in this country, be directed in the correct way, so we can grow the sport nationally and subsequently improve our international standing,” says Russell.

The Investec Hockey Academy is passionate about installing the values and health benefits of playing sport into school girls, regardless of whether or not they want to play professionally someday.

“I feel that it is important to be out there, taking part in outdoor exercise, from a health and general well-being perspective. There are so many life lessons to be learned from the discipline of sport, especially fitting into a team dynamic. If we can instil love for sport within the youth, that would be first prize,” says Russell.

The Investec Hockey Academy’s next courses will take place on 8 and 9 October at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Durban, and on 22 and 23 October at Curro Independent School in Nelspruit. For more information or to book contact Bernadine on 031 940 5565 or visit

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