Hockey offers free training

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The North Otago Hockey Association is inviting people of all ages to bring a mouthguard, pick up a hockey stick and have a go during a free three-day training session at the newly-upgraded turf at Centennial Park.

The session will be led by former Black Sticks player Mark Kake on January 23-25.

North Otago Hockey Association administrator Kiri Ballantyne said the course was aimed at helping coaches and players build their knowledge and expand their skills to coach others.

“It’s mainly directed at coaches, but of course we need to have players there so that the coaches have somebody to coach,” Ballantyne said.

The training session was the brainchild of Southern Hockey, a parent association of North Otago Hockey.

Kake will also be travelling to other parts of the South, including Gore, Invercargill and Cromwell, to provide similar training throughout the hockey season.

The three-day session in Oamaru will be the largest training course organised for North Otago Hockey in the past year.

“We’re aiming at everyone who actually wants to come in and give hockey a go,” Ballantyne said.

Initially, it was difficult to get the training session out of the planning stages.

“We sort of missed the boat with the schools, because it was still in early planning stages and we weren’t certain of any dates,” Ballantyne said.

“This is the first step of what we are going to get him [Kake] to do throughout the year.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for young kids to be able to participate.”

Ballantyne was optimistic about the possibility of future training sessions in North Otago, also involving Kake.