Proving that hockey is a thinking person’s sport, the Moroccan Hockey Federation is working with schools, colleges, clubs and individual coaches to develop an enthusiasm and interest in hockey through both practical and theoretical workshops.
While the Federation is justly proud of its progress in raising participation levels among school children across the north African state, it is also putting a lot of time and resource into teaching young players the history and culture surrounding the sport.
This is the fourth year that the Hockey Federation of Morocco has organised an Open Hockey Day, which not only encompasses pitch-based skills sessions, small sided matches and tactical awareness training, but also retreats to the classroom for a cross-curricular day of hockey teaching.
Pitch dimensions and statistics allow mathematically-minded pupils to shine, while history lovers will relish the opportunity to investigate the origins of the sport, which dates back some 2,000 years ago, and its subsequent development.
Other areas of the curriculum can also relate to hockey. Geography lessons will help the pupils identify the hockey-playing nations around the globe, while science classes will prove a perfect environment for understanding the fitness demands of the sport.
The Hockey Open Day reaches more than 10,000 pupils, ranging in age from seven to 12. It is run on a national scale, providing opportunities for pupils to experience the sport across all the major towns and cities of Morocco.
Explaining more about the day, Kamal Ghallali from the Federation Royale Marocaine de Hockey, says: “The aim is to broaden the reach and ensure the sustainability of hockey. The Federation’s ambition is to continually gather schools into the programme and, through training the teachers, we can create a breeding ground for future hockey players.”
The Hockey Open Day may be the focus for the Federation, but the work continues throughout the year. Teachers will receive training to become competent hockey coaches and there is much work being done to create competitive leagues and school championships. Currently there are 32 clubs in Morocco, playing hockey in three leagues.
The practical coaching sessions are led by high level coaches, some are former national players, others have played club hockey to a good standard.
“Hockey in Morocco is now established in more than 12 cities,” says Ghallali, “We are also working in the rural areas. For example, Tinghir in the south-east is a new hockey project.”
And for the pupils enjoying Hockey Open Day, this was an innovative way to explore all dimensions of a sport through the entire curriculum and create a deeper understanding as a result.
This is yet another project that is helping the International Hockey Federation achieve it's aim of becoming a global game that inspires the next generation. To find out more about the Hockey Revolution, click here.