SAM Lobsey had a tough first day on the job on Saturday.
Lobsey is the new head coach of Northern Inland Academy of Sport boys’ hockey squad.
Saturday was trial day for this year’s intake and there was plenty of talent on show.
It made final selections tough.
“We have about twenty looking to be in the squad,” Lobsey said.
Many of them he had seen a bit of before playing in the local Tamworth competition, but some he hadn’t, or not so much of.
“I don’t always get to see the Armidale boys. There were a few of them there,” he said.
A talented junior himself growing up in Tamworth, Lobsey is excited about being involved with the academy program.
It is a new thing for him.
“I have done a fair bit of coaching before but not under an academy,” he said.
He has though had a fair bit of experience working with junior players.
While he was overseas – Ireland and Scotland – he spent a lot of time coaching school teams and the juniors in the clubs he played for.
This year he also took on the coaching role at Tudor Wests, taking them all the way to the grand final.
It whet his appetite again for coaching and, when NIAS approached him about coaching the boys’ squad, he was happy to take it on.
“From my point of view I enjoy my role with Tudors coaching at club level,” he said.
“It’ll be a good opportunity to give it a go, see if I can instil anything.”
He won’t be stepping straight into the fire, with last year’s head coach Greg Doolan assisting him.
But he won’t be the only new face either, with Ian Woodley coming on board as manager.
The academy wasn’t around when Lobsey was coming through the ranks and he sees it as “definitely a good thing for the area”.
“You can tell the kids are always keen to learn and enjoy their hockey,” he said.
It is a bit different to regular coaching.
The skill base is already there. The focus is on improving those and their understanding of the game.
“You also talk about things off the field,” Lobsey said.
They look at things like nutrition and training off the pitch.
“It’s not just about individual skills but the whole package,” he said.
It’s not just about nurturing and developing talent either, but uncovering talent.
The squad will regularly meet for weekend sessions – probably between eight and 10.
“Each training will be focused on specific aspects,” Lobsey said.
Which will vary.