Anyone for hockey?
Our new Graduate Sports Assistants are hockey specialists, steeped in the game and ready to discover and develop the hockey talent at Downe, hand in hand with the PE team.
Mike Urquhart joins Downe House direct from his Masters in Athlete Development at Middlesex University. He has played hockey since Upper Fourth (Year 9), was captain of hockey at Sandbach Boys and in the first team at Bangor University; he also played regional hockey in North Division 1 and has a Sessional Coaching Level 2 qualification to his name.
Joining Mike is Jess Persse, a Coaching and Fitness Graduate with a Sports Development degree from Plymouth Marjon, also with a Level 2 hockey qualification. Having played since the age of seven, Jess developed her game early, playing county hockey for Devon. However, due to an injury at age 16, she re-directed her skills towards coaching and has managed the national league first team girls and taken six teams to the national finals.
Jess says, “It’s really exciting to join such a great PE department with very knowledgeable and experienced coaches. Mike and I are looking at what we can contribute to hockey to complement and extend the solid foundations that the girls already have.”
Mike added, “Jess and I aim to improve the fitness and health of the squad, monitoring performance to avoid injury. We’d also like to introduce the same playing style from Upper Fourth up to the first team so that all the girls play with the same formations, skills and structure. Hockey is such a great game – I love the intensity and honesty, whereby players announce their own fouls, and also the amazing team atmosphere.”
Both coaches agree that the England Women’s team success at the Olympics has been inspirational for players and coaches at all levels. Mike concluded, “We are definitely driven to succeed as coaches after witnessing the England team take gold and totally inspired to chase reward.”
Picture shows (from left to right): Mike Urquhart, Jess Persse (Graduate Sports Assistants) and Tony Riddle (Teacher of Hockey/PE).