At Kinross Hockey club we try hard to give children as many options as possible to develop as members of the hockey community, whether as player, official or coach. This page tries to explain some of the choices that are available.
Each of the main Kobras sessions has three groups, roughly corresponding to Under 10, Under 12 and Under 14. Children join Kobras at all ages, and we try to ensure that everyone is placed in a group that suits their age, physical build and skills, but also taking into account important issues like friends! When they are ready children can ask to move up to a higher group - we'll often encourage them to do so as well.
There are never enough playing opportunities for most of our children because of the limited opportunities for school hockey in the state system and for boys at Dollar too. We are working with Scottish Hockey to increase the number of competitive fixtures, but in the meantime there are a number of ways children can play more. Some of these will only suit the most gifted individuals, but we would always encourage children to have a go.
There are weekend hockey academies, with professional coaches. Many of our members attend Hockey Performance Academy in Perth.
There are also many holiday hockey camps around. We try to advise parents of the dates for these, but they tend to be oversubscribed and so you have to move fast.
For talented children there are further opportunities:
Scottish Midland District has trials for its U14 and U16 teams in the spring. Successful candidates then attend training sessions and take part in the interdistrict competition.
Parents will be advised of the dates of trials as they arise.
Moving on from kobras
From the age of 12, choices open up.
As well as the opportunities outside the club described in the previous section, children can also start to spread their wings within the Kinross Hockey Club family.
Firstly young people can start to attend the late Kobras session at 7:30 on a Thursday. These sessions are much more competitive - the games are played on a full-size pitch, and the ball is moving much faster. However, players of all standards are still welcome, including complete beginners. Young people can make the step up to these sessions as and when they and the Kobras coaches feel they are technically and physically ready.
We are currently running a girls' development squad to help girls make the step up to adult hockey. This takes place on Wednesdays at 6pm.
The late Kobras session is a good transition to adult hockey, but it is not a requirement. Although Kobras nominally runs to age 14, it may be possible for young people to stay on at the early Kobras sessions beyond the age of 14 if we feel that this will not cause problems - it's not fair to have older children running rings round the younger ones, for example.
From age 13, players may be invited to join in with training sessions with the adult clubs and then make the step up to playing games with the men's and ladies' second teams.
Making this transition can be quite scary for some people, and there is no pressure to do so. Players who don't want to make the transition to the rigours of league hockey can remain in the late Kobras up to the age of 16 or can shift over to the Korinthians. Even then we don't close and doors and it is quite possible to move to the main adults' sections at a later date.
From age 14 young people are able to develop other hockey-related skills, either alongside their development as a player or, if they prefer, instead.
From 14 it is possible to do a 1-day SHU Hockey Leaders Course and qualify as a helper at the training sessions. Young people are then able to help coach with the younger children at Kobras. Many of our youngsters do this as part of their Duke of Edinburgh. From 16, we may also put young people through the two-day UKCC Level 1 coaching course, making them qualified assistant coaches.
Also from age 14, Scottish Hockey runs junior umpiring courses, and young people can then put these skills to good use in training games or at Kobras tournaments.