Scottish Hockey : BRAVE ‘defining who we are’

Scottish Hockey has launched the BRAVE Performance Blueprint. The document is designed to clearly set out a distinct Scottish playing philosophy and principles – and further develop a culture of excellence for hockey in Scotland that is based on our values and characteristics.

BRAVE will build on the good work already being done across the country to support hockey athletes. The aim is to bring consistent international success for Scotland – playing in FIH World Cups; competing for medals at Commonwealth Games; senior and junior teams regularly competing amongst the top six in Europe; and a high representation of Scottish athletes in GB programmes.

4 Elements

In the drive to deliver sustainable success on the world stage, four elements have been identified that are key to the success of the blueprint:

  • characteristics and culture as a nation
  • the style of hockey we wish to play
  • how we optimise athlete development
  • priorities for delivering quality coaching to support our best athletes

Scottish Hockey’s Head of Performance, Andy Tennant, said:

“There’s clearly a lot of good work already happening across Scotland, so the idea is to build on this and align our system to create an identity for ourselves as a high performing performance hockey nation. In consultation with our national high performance and pathway coaches, we have identified a distinctly Scottish style, and our vision is very much about being the best we can be – and a good “us” rather than a poor imitation of someone else. Ultimately, we want Scotland teams to play a dynamic attacking style of hockey built on efficient defence.

“So BRAVE helps define who we are; how we want to play; how we best develop talent, and what our key coaching priorities are. If we can align all these key elements, it will give us the best chance to be successful on the world stage.”

Using BRAVE as a mnemonic, the blueprint has identified five key characteristics in players that will help deliver consistent and sustainable success on the world stage.

These are Bold; Relentless; Accountable; Versatile; Excellent decision making.

Andy Tennant explained:

“Generally in performance sport as coaches we tend to be relatively strong on the X’s and O’s of the game and have traditionally focussed on technical and tactical elements. More recently with the support of sports science and technology, we have also found physical skills much easier to measure. But for us the biggest gains to be made are in developing psychological characteristics and promoting positive performance behaviours that help develop excellence in our players.

“We’ve captured this in a simple memorable and distinctly Scottish mnemonic, BRAVE, and we’re looking for our players to display five key characteristics – bold, in terms of the way they approach the game in a fearless and positive way; relentless in their pursuit of excellence; accountable to themselves, teammates and the way we want to play hockey; versatile, so they’re able to adapt and play in a number of different ways; and we also need excellent decision makers – having good technical and physical skills is important but they are worthless unless backed up by good decisions.

“We want to build a system that helps players be those five things.”

The BRAVE blueprint also recognises the principles included within the GB Hockey Talent Development Framework, which was developed in partnership with the two other home nations. While the BRAVE characteristics are articulated to recognise our priorities as a nation, they are inherently similar to those articulated within the GB Framework. We are committed to Scotland remaining aligned with the GB Hockey performance system, while still producing athletes with distinctly Scottish characteristics. Ultimately, we believe this will help us develop successful Scotland teams and GB athletes with medal winning potential.

The BRAVE Performance Blueprint has been designed to be a living breathing document that will continue to evolve and develop over time as the game at international level requires and coaches across Scotland can help contribute to this.

Tennant added:

“BRAVE is not about being prescriptive – there’s a philosophy and a number of key principles in the blueprint, but it’s about principles not prescription. Coaches need to be given the freedom to put their own stamp on things, and the last thing we’re looking to do is stifle creativity for our coaches or our players. We want to build a system that’s free and flexible enough for people to explore what’s within it and to develop a culture of continuous improvement.

“This isn’t about us telling anyone how they should coach, it’s about us identifying the things that are most important and discussing how we can do these things better collectively. We have dozens of high-quality coaches working along the pathway so it’s about engaging all of those who want be involved in this process, having strong coaching conversations and collectively moving the game forward.”

Scottish Hockey’s performance team, including its high performance coaches and pathway coaches, have all engaged with the BRAVE development process in a collective effort, and now it’s time for coaches across the country to get involved and have their say.

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