NIAS held its second boys’ hockey training session for the year in Tamworth on Sunday in sweltering conditions.
New coach Sam Lobsey had the boys sweating it up in a session based mostly around defence and discipline.
Discipline during games and at training was being reinforced, with a few players taking time out to complete push-ups for indiscretions.
“We are looking at defensive rolls right across the park,” Lobsey said.
“The first session was more about the mental side of the game but now we have incorporated the physical side as well.”
The squad was learning the different ways to tackle individuals and also to defend as a team in a game.
“Footwork and body positioning are very important aspects of defence.
“We are looking to force the opposition to go one way with what we do.”
“If we can make them rush a decision or force them to go where we want them to, we can control the game.”
The boys also did a bit of work on attack, and forcing a result when they are in the scoring zone.
“Every time we cross the 25m line with the ball we want a result,” Lobsey said.
“Whether it is a goal, a corner or a penalty doesn’t matter.
“Once we are inside that line we don’t want to waste our possession.”
The squad is in its early days although many of the boys have been there before or play with and against each other locally.
“We are looking for the boys to work as a team in defence and attack,” Lobsey said.
“Trying to stop them going one out or getting isolated is a focal point at this stage.”
The 2014 squad is a good mix of ages, with a lot of boys who have been in the squad for three or four years, as well as some new faces.
“The young guys are good to have around and seem to be training with more intent than the older ones at the moment,” Lobsey said.
“At the same time, having the older boys set the example on and off the field for the young guys is important.”
“They have got to share the knowledge and encourage the good culture this NIAS squad has.”
The squad will break for Christmas but will get back together early next year for a two-day camp and games.
NIAS will travel to Newcastle to take on and train with the Hunter Academy on January 11 and 12.