Monkstown Academy dates back to the late 1960’s when our colts started under the guidance of Tom Keogh. Since then it has been constantly developing and we are now delighted to have about 200 boys aged between 6 and 16. Many of our current men’s 1st team came through the Academy and several of our boys have represented both Leinster and Ireland at both underage and subsequently at senior level. The Academy has gone from strength to strength and expanded to include girls in 2010. The fillies has been the fastest growing section of the club and we now have over 400 girls and are proud to have many of our girls participating in Leinster and Ireland development squads. There has always been a philosophy in the Academy that each and every player should be encouraged to develop to the best of their individual ability while fostering a strong team ethic and having lots of fun along the way. Enjoyment is the key to participation and we hope that all of the Academy progress through to the Senior club and continue to play hockey for many years.
Nick Dee will continue as Head Coach of the Academy for the 2020-2021 season. Nick has progressed through the club from Colts to 1st team and has a wealth of playing and coaching experience at all levels in both schools and clubs. He is currently completing his Hockey Ireland Level 2 course and we are thrilled to have him heading up our Academy. Nick will plan the coaching and will work with the coaches throughout the season to ensure the highest standards are maintained.
All our coaches are Garda Vetted and have completed a Safeguarding course. The principal coaches in each group have completed a minimum of a Level 1 coaching course and there is an emphasis on all coaches continuing to develop their coaching techniques through attendance at courses and conferences. Many of our coaches are current 1st team players and all have a passion for hockey and for passing that enthusiasm onto our younger members
The following are the guiding principles behind coaching at the Academy:
Fun & Safety: The top priority is that each child has fun in a safe environment, while developing their hockey skills to their maximum potential. We hope that each child will develop a real passion for hockey, which will make them want to improve and progress. Our aim is to keep children playing hockey for many years.
Small Groups: We have a high coach/player ratio in each age group. This ensures that during each coaching session players are split into small groups to work on specific skills, allowing for each player to have as much on the ball practice time as possible.
Small games: The club follows the IHA player development model Hooked for Life. This is a well researched programme that maximises the development of each player. It is designed to ensure players play in a fun and stimulating environment which systematically introduces the physical, technical and tactical components. U8s play small 4 aside games on 1/8 of a pitch, which encourages each player to be fully involved on the ball and therefore constantly practising and improving. Players then progress through 6-aside games on 1/4 pitch (U10), 8 aside on 1/2 pitch (U12) leading naturally on to full 11 aside hockey by the time they get to U14s (2nd year).
Skills progression: In conjunction with the Hooked for Life model, the Academy has introduced a development plan of what skills each child should be learning at each age group so that there is a co-ordinated approach to coaching. This means that by the time they are U16 they have a full range of hockey skills.
Team Selection: Up to and including U12s teams the Academy has a policy of mixed ability teams. Players participate in various matches and blitzes throughout the season.
As the boys and girls reach secondary school and the standard of hockey increases, training continues to be in mixed ability groups but teams for matches are selected on merit. Each player will be on a team with those of similar ability and all teams get an equal number of games. There are a number of factors taken into consideration in team selection including ability, progression, player position, and effort and attendance at training and matches. Teams are always open to change throughout the season as we acknowledge that players progress at different rates and we ask parents to respect the coaches opinion.
Once the boys and girls turn 15 they may be invited to play matches for the senior section of the club. Each player is invited to join the senior club once they leave the Academy.