Much of the talk in the wake of both the London and the Rio Olympics has been around inspiration and getting people not only playing hockey but improving as players. Dan Fox, who played at both of those tournaments as well as many others for his country is as aware as anyone about the need to provide quality coaching to inspire all types of players. That’s why he’s launched his own coaching company – 1-2-1 Coaching, to pass on his expertise to help hockey players to be the best they can be.
“For me too much is lost from the game. You have the best players and coaches with so much knowledge and experience to pass on and only very limited structures within which to do it.” says Fox, who was capped over 200 times for his country. “If you do want to coach you can coach a maximum of one or two sides because everyone trains on a Tuesday evening or plays on a Saturday. Worse still, when players retire from international hockey they often get a job outside of the sport and that’s it – all their talent is lost from the game.”
Fox hit upon the idea of putting together a network of coaches from across the game to allow players the chance to work with the best, most knowledgeable players of the last ten years. With the likes of Barry Middleton, Ellie Watton, Glenn Kirkham, Zoe Shipperley, Nikki Lloyd, Adam Dixon, Phil Roper and Fox himself all available for coaching sessions 1-2-1’s roster reads like a who’s who of British hockey.
ENG 2-0 IRL Watton deflects in from a penalty corner #EHC2017 pic.twitter.com/qgi4Mpvwil
— EuroHockey (@eurohockeyorg) August 19, 2017
1-2-1 isn’t just another coaching company, though. The rationale behind setting it up comes from Fox’s own experiences. The defender was a latecomer to the international scene. He did not come through the junior international ranks, instead showing great improvement during and after university, thanks largely to some dedicated coaching sessions, like those 1-2-1 coaching is offering.
“I was very lucky to be coached by some of the best players of their era.” says the former GB star. “When I was 17 I had a summer training with Chris Mayer of Cannock and Great Britain. We were in a group of three – it was the best training I’ve ever had. When I started at Hampstead and Westminster I worked with Todd Williams the former Australian full back. He spent a lot of time on me as an individual and I learnt so much from him.”
“When I joined Hampstead, I was a 2nd team player. Three years later I had an England cap. Even when I was part of the Great Britain squad, the best session I ever had was a Thursday afternoon when Barry Middleton and I just spent an hour on our own doing 1v1 attack and defence into the circle. That’s what I want people to be able to experience.”
With sessions for individuals and small groups, tailored to suit their needs, Fox hopes to be able to ensure players across the country can experience the same sort of gains that turned him from being a good player into a player competing on the world stage. But it’s not just aimed at those with lofty ambitions:
“I think 1-2-1 Hockey can benefit everyone. For example, if you’re a club or a school this is a chance to think creatively. Let a top international use your pitch to coach your players and see the benefit as those players improve. What they’ve learnt will filter down through the rest of their teams.”
ENG 2-2 GER Roper with a wonderful little flick over the keeper after a huge aerial pass to level the scores up #EHC2017 pic.twitter.com/7EJKSGOYjc
— EuroHockey (@eurohockeyorg) August 21, 2017
“In Birmingham, we already have a school willing to give up their pitch and in return get a superstar coach to run masterclass sessions for their own junior teams. This is brilliant. Why not do the same at any club or school? Imagine the impact on a back to hockey side, a junior team or even a 1st XI.”
You can find out which coaches are available here and find out everything you need to know by visiting the website here. You can also follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
So what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to learn to #beyourbest.