, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is launching the Year of the Youth, to inspire young people into the sport, help them achieve their potential and celebrate their successes at every level of the game.Working with continental federations and national associations, the FIH will be providing support and guidance; promoting awareness and highlighting examples of great practice within individual national associations; and implementing annual projects aimed at aiding development.
Fitting neatly within the FIH objective ‘To inspire hockey’s next generation’, the Year of the Youth is a global drive to grow and develop the game for the next generation of our hockey community. The programme is led by the FIH Development and Education Committee and the FIH Academy’s army of trainers, educators and experts will be on hand to provide the necessary support and guidance.
Although 2021 is the Year of the Youth, this marks just the start of a long-term drive to encourage young players to take up hockey and then retain those players in the game.
Not only does the concept of the Year of the Youth support the FIH strategic plan to raise the global profile of hockey and attract more participants – both players and work force – but it is also will provide national associations with the opportunity to raise interest among the public, media, sponsors and national government.
Annual development programmes are key to the growth and development of the sport and this is something the FIH will be driving forwards, while emphasising the need for investment in young people to help them achieve their potential within the sport and as human beings.
A global project underpins the concept of the Year of the Youth. Titled, Start:Play:Stay, the FIH will work with continental federations and national associations to plan their own strategies to grow the game; provide access to projects and ideas which can be adopted for use; and enable national associations to access equipment and resources where needed.
The growth in digital education and learning in recent months has shown just what can be achieved with access to online information. As part of the Year of the Youth initiative, FIH has developed a Grow Hockey Guide, which provides advice and concrete ideas on how to develop the game within an individual country, taking into account their own range of resources and facilities. For example, in many countries, beach hockey may be a route to encouraging new participants into the game. For others, the small sided version of the game may be appropriate. This guide will help with setting up appropriate activities at the right stage of development.
At the heart of the initiative is a willingness to work together. Whether that is national associtations sharing information and resources with another nation, a school or club sharing with a national association, or any other number of permeations – the key is a sharing approach.
The Year of the Youth will also align with internationally significant days, such as Olympic Day, or indeed World Children’s Day.
“The FIH Development & Education Committee (DEC) is extremely excited be leading the 2021 Year of the Youth to create and celebrate how our sport can positively impact the lives of young people across the globe. The DEC hope that this second edition, coming 20 years on from the very first Year of the Youth, will shine a light on the brilliant efforts of clubs, schools, National Associations and other public and private organisations to grow our fantastic sport.” Tayyab Ikram, Seif Ahmed – Co-Chairs FIH Development & Education Committee