2nd October 2020 —
Witham Hall welcomed Olympic gold medallist and Team GB Hockey superstar, Shona McCallin MBE, for a day of Hockey coaching for Year 3-8 Girls and Year 7-8 Boys, in association with The Mintridge Foundation.
Pupils in Years 3 and 4 were incredibly excited to see Shona in her Team GB tracksuit in the morning. She worked through some dribbling skills, as well as emphasising the importance of working as a team. The afternoon Girls' Games sessions consisted of four mini games for Years 5-7 and focussed on agility, teamwork, perseverance and tactical thinking. The girls rotated around each group to ensure all enjoyed some expert coaching from Shona. She kept the tempo high in the last session for the U13s, too. All were worked extremely hard, but in Shona's words, 'it is important to play at maximum potential, even in training, as that is what wins gold medal matches'; advice echoed in the VLOG she setup during lockdown. Shona applauded the efforts of the pupils throughout the day, commenting that, 'the hard work, determination and engagement in the drills was impressive'.
Each session finished with a Q&A session, with pupils eager to understand more of the challenges of professional sport. Questions such as, 'Can you play multiple positions?', saw Shona explain that her coach had once said they needed people to play more than one position, as they didn't have any subs. Having the ability to play more than one position helps you to understand the game better. When asked about her toughest opponents, Shona replied, 'Probably Australia, as on paper they were stronger than us and we battled really hard and won'. This further highlighted the importance of training hard to achieve results.
Following the questions, Shona kindly took the time to sign sticks, much to the delight of the pupils.
Image credit: The Mintridge Foundation - mintridgefoundation.org.uk