Four talented hockey players from the Borders joined the Scotland Under-16s development squad for a day of intensive training at Tweedbank on Saturday.
Jenny Wright, Iona Kellett and Maris Cawthorn, who all turn out for Selkirk High School and Fjordhus Reivers, as well as Rhona Gowans, Gala Academy and Fjordhus Reivers, were part of the 27-strong squad chosen from across the country by lead coach Pippa Bell who selected with particular emphasis on mind-set, attitude, athleticism and coachability.
Bell, who also plays and coaches with Fjordhus Reivers, told TheSouthern: “Although the weather was not welcoming, the day was a great success and the girls were a credit to their schools, clubs and districts from start to finish.
“I am incredibly excited by the talented squad I have the privilege of coaching and developing over the next six months, leading up to an international development camp in Largs where opposition from Holland and Northern Ireland will be competing.”
Scottish Hockey performance coach and Borders development officer Janet Jack was invited by Bell to lead a two-hour morning session focusing on passing and movement skills.
“The girls were totally absorbed in the session and applied an excellent workrate on the pitch and with focus during demonstrations and questions,” added Bell.
Post lunchtime, Jack presented a workshop to the girls on “winning attitude and goal-setting”. The presentation gave the girls the insight into what is required to become a leading international athlete and the support, decision-making and sacrifices that must be made to achieve success.
A former Scotland international player herself, Jack spoke to the group about her own experiences and how they shaped her into the ambassador she has become for the sport of hockey.
The afternoon pitch session was all about game play and putting into practice the skills developed during the morning. The U16 squad played three 20-minute matches against a Borders Regional Performance squad which comprised of a mixture of U16/U18 players.
This was a fantastic opportunity for the Regional players to work together as a team and also be observed by National coaches on their progress since joining the performance programme in October.
Bell would like to thank Jack for giving up her time to share her technical and tactical coaching on the pitch, and also her “positive and inspirational” support to the girls. A further thank you to Tweedbank Sports Centre and Bowling Club for the use of their facilities.