A life in the week of Elliot Foweraker, director of hockey at Taunton School
An early start at 7.15am with the performance programme. I am running a recovery session which involves a foam rolling session for a mixture of boys and girls. After sorting out fixtures and catering etc for the week I am then out onto the astro for an open pitch session, where any players with study periods can use these to train. Today I am working with some 1st XI girls on their footwork in outletting. After break I am on year 7 and 8 games, which is a team session with their coaches getting them ready for Wednesday matches. This week’s rotation sees me with the U11As looking at some close-range goal scoring. After lunch it’s onto a busy year 3 and 4 games. With some nasty weather, I take them into the sports hall for some indoor hockey, working with Nicola Foad, head of girls’ games in the prep school. We are trying to use our indoor facilities to help progress their skills and techniquesand despite a very loud session they love it. I am now onto the Horizons Programme (co-curricular clubs after school) for a boys pre-season session, getting a couple of teams ready for next season. My evening finishes with some girls indoor training matches v King’s Bruton, our first indoor games of the year for my U16 and U18s.
Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the end of Monday. As assistant housemaster in a boarding house, I have a late night trip to A and E with a 1st XV rugby boy who is showing signs post-concussion, which means an eleven-hour visit to hospital. Fortunately all is okay. After a quick power nap, it’s back on the pitch for junior games, working with the U14s on their ‘Tough Tuesday’ which is a combination of fitness and skill work helping to cement their skills under fatigue. Senior games follow this session where I do a similar session working with the ‘top squad’ (a combination of 1st XI and 2nd XI who are combined to promote differentiation and more consistency in their play). They do timed shuttles and then train under fatigue. This session the focus is transitional defence, which unfortunately for them means more running.
It’s prep school match day after the morning heads of sport meeting. I do another open pitch session, this time working with a third team boy to try and improve his A Level PE hockey grade for his practical assessment. After this, more fun and noise with the year 3 and 4s, who still can’t stand still, but this time out on pitch working on some more skills. A bit of admin over lunch and then out to prep school matches. I am coaching a mix of teams, the U11s v Wellington followed by the U12s v Blundell’s. It’s a great afternoon of sport for the girls, winning all four of their matches. Afterwards I have a boys’ indoor session for an hour before heading over with some of the boys to Taunton Vale HC, where I coach the men’s 1st XI team with Ian Haley 7-10 pm. After tearing my meniscus recently, I am itching to play but instead hobble round and help out some of our very talented young squad and assist Ian with the session.
I start with a performance programme session. I’m running the core session, which I tend to join in with, doing a deck of card workout for half an hour, six different exercises and reps dependent on the value of the cards. Aces are never fun. After a few one-to-one sessions in the morning, a third and final year 3 and 4 session (they should be getting good by now) it is over to indoor club for year 5 and 6 boys playing three or four a side for 30 minutes. It’s a trainer and trouser job but still great for their development. Afternoon is out to a team session (working in Saturday squads). Seniors up first and, with a Friday night derby game looming, I take the girls for a bit of light skill work then a video analysis session for the whole of the top squad. We watch our games back from the previous weekend courtesy of our new Olympic standard AP camera from Sports AV. The juniors play some training games at U14 and 15As and I coach the U14B game v Park School U14As. We come away 2-1 winners. Well done to my friend Mr Kane and his girls. I am on duty tonight in the house until 11pm. I always have the intention of getting admin done but with 70 boys there is always something going on.
After a week of hype, the girls 1st XI face locals King’s College under the lights this evening. Before this though a morning flexibility session for the pupils. 7.15am hurts on a Friday. I cram in a bit more admin and some pre-Saturday prep before a year 5 and 6 stretch and challenge session, similar to the senior school, we put them under fatigue, followed by a skills session mixing all abilities together. I work with the girls 1st XI captain one-to-one with some drag flicking for an hour and then another stretch and challenge session again for the year 7 and 8s after lunch. A quick prep school club 4-5pm for year 5 and 6 boys before the 1st XI game. The girls pile into our new hockey shed, with a few nerves starting to show (it’s not often they play in the evening with more than 100 people watching). I tell the girls to go about their normal business. So on goes the music and off they go. Despite a number of chances, and some great hockey, they finish 0-0 at half time but still win the game 1-0.
Less busy after last night’s game. However I stay at home with the 14As, who are a very talented bunch. With their county tournament on the way, it’s good to get to grips with them alongside their coach Lynda Rixon. I then head over to take the 2nd XI at Kings who put on an impressive display coming away 9-1 winners. Back at school, it’s a quick clear up and a bit of a debrief with the staff.
An early start as I am off to England Hockey JRPC Tier 1 tournaments in Bristol. I coach the U15 girls at Exeter, coaching two teams of ten all day trying to get them through to the next stage of the system. Despite being a long day, it’s always nice to interact with parents and catch up with the coaches and friends. I manage to keep tabs on the 13 of my school players who are there too, watching a few of their games. The final selection is out this week so, for all my school players and the U15 girls, good luck.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF