Hard work ahead for hockey squads
National hockey coaches Nicholas Brown and Christine Bartley foresee hard work for their players as they get ready for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
Jamaica successfully negotiated last week's CAC qualifying tournament at the Mona Hockey Stadium, but Brown and Bartley foresee a programme of hard work for the teams to be ready to do well in Barranquilla, Colombia, which will host the Games next summer. In addition, both envisage a bright future for the game in Jamaica.
Jamaica won the men's side of the qualifying tournament outright with the women's placing second. Moments after the tournament ended on Sunday, Brown said, "Well, we continue training until the second week in December and we take a break and then we're hitting the field hard again come January."
Though disappointed that her girls lost to Guyana in the women's final, Bartley was also looking ahead.
"It means that the work starts now," she said. "We even have to work harder and smarter because it's going to be more competitive, so that means we have to make sure that we spend a lot of our time preparing physically, mentally, tactically, and technically, and I think if we can do that effectively, then we should be able to go away and compete very well," she outlined.
Brown is hoping for some competition to get the teams sharp as the Games approach.
"I've spoken to the president," he said of a chat with Jamaica Hockey Federation president Fabian Stewart, "and we are looking at a pre-tournament around Easter for the CAC Games."
The Games are set to begin on July 19 and will end on August 3.
Both coaches saw good signs in the qualifying tournament. Noting that the women's team has one teenager and two 20-year-olds, Bartley observed, "While there is youth, then of course development will take place."
Asked about the consistent crowd support for Jamaica throughout the tournament, Brown added, "Hockey is coming back on the map."
"A lot of youngsters are getting more involved, and you know, it's a good thing when both teams can reach the final. It shows that we're doing as much as we can with as little as we have," he concluded.