The FIH Hockey Academy is the education, training and resource centre for the hockey workforce across the globe. Whether it is a course for umpires and officials in Peru or a coaching course in Ghana, the FIH Academy supports international development projects that raise the professionalism, sustainability and accessibility of our sport. To date the academy has trained more than 10,000 members of the global hockey workforce in coaching, Umpiring, officiating and management.
The ongoing Covid-19 situation has had an inevitable impact upon the work of the FIH Academy. Courses that would normally have seen a gathering of educators, coaches, umpires and players have had to temporarily cease and it is difficult to plan for the immediate future, with so much of the world still in varying states of lock down.
However, this is not a department that will ever stand still, and plans were already in place for online courses, so the Covid-19 situation simply made the courses even more relevant and necessary for our hockey community.
And the results so far have been impressive. In April alone there were 22 courses – all of which were fully booked. The courses catered for more than 200 participants from 35 nations.
The most recent course was the forward-thinking Athlete2Coach programme. Recognising that elite athletes who move into coaching have very different learning requirements than other aspiring coaches, the FIH Academy has developed an online course that brings a small cohort of athletes and former athletes together to develop coaching knowledge.
Understanding that great players don’t automatically make great coaches, and addressing the areas where the athletes need development is something that makes this course unique. The fact that it is delivered online means that time-stressed athletes can make a start on transitioning from player to coach without the need to travel to coaching courses. The accessibility of the courses also opens the opportunity up to athletes from across the globe.
Much of the work of the FIH Academy is about partnership. For example, the TAP project in West Africa involved FIH working alongside the African Hockey Federation, the Ghana Hockey Association, England Hockey and UK Sport. Either in process or in the pipeline are development projects with Hockey India, the South Africa Hockey Association and the Belgium Hockey Federation.
Two important partners involved in work of the FIH Academy are technology provider Coach Logic and specialist synthetic surface designers and suppliers Notts Sport. It is active engagement with these companies and other worldwide partners that has allowed the FIH Academy to make such an impact on the sport and its development.
One further development that involves the FIH Academy is the launch of a new membership scheme – the FIH World Hockey Membership. This is part of the Hockey Invites initiative and aims to get more people to join our sport and take an active role. This paid-for membership scheme has a number of different categories: coaches, umpires and members, and each category has bespoke benefits, including discounts on the FIH Hockey Academy courses.
Director of the FIH Academy is Mike Joyce. He says: “The FIH Academy was created five years ago with the objective of providing a global education framework for the hockey family. The Academy aspires to provide a wide range of flexible learning programmes that compliment not compete with National Association education programmes.
"The involvement of hockey family stakeholders and partners is of fundamental importance to the success of the FIH Academy. Hockey is not just a team sport, it is a family sport, and strong families work together, they collaborate, they share and support each other.
"The FIH Academy encapsulates this ethos. It is successful because we strive to be inclusive, and strong because of the diverse and significant contribution of individuals and organisations from all areas of the global hockey family. We are also indebted to the support of our FIH Academy partners Nottsport and Coach Logic."