DEFENCE is the key word for the NIAS boys’ hockey squad as they gear up for the Academy Games.
The squad have had some good hit outs lately against the Hunter Academy and a visiting UTS side.
The boys have got three training sessions left before the Games and defence will take up a lot of that time, although they have also found some time to plant trees.
This Sunday the squad will be planting trees near the Skate Park on the banks of the Peel for an hour.
Coach Sam Lobsey said it was a great opportunity to do something for the community and to give back to the city
Following the tree planting Lobsey will put the boys through a four-hour
gruelling defensive session at the hockey fields.
The side is brimming with attacking talent, including Isaac Farmilo who is currently in Vanuatu scoring goals for the Australian Youth Team.
The side also boasts Isaac Woodley, Will Turner and Matt Johnson, just to name a few goal scorers.
“We are a bit heavy up front and also have plenty of attacking mid-fielders,” Lobsey said.
“Defence is a bit more technical and more important than attack in some ways.”
The coach believes that because they are young they can still rely on their natural skill to find the back of the goal, but defence is something that needs to be taught.
“A defensive structure and defensive mindset needs to be taught and then executed in the heat of the game,” Lobsey said.
“It is something that needs to be practised a lot because you need to trust your fellow defenders.”
“The structure is very important and is executed as a team.”
On Sunday the squad did some defensive work before combining with the girls’ squad.
There was a lot of game play and fitness as they start to focus on the Academy Games, playing several games over two days.
The coaches are confident and positive they can make their mark on the games this year.
“Defence will be vitally important to succeeding at the games,” Lobsey said.
“Every team can score goals so keeping them out could give you a big advantage.”
“At the end of the day you are more likely to win games than lose if you don’t concede goals.”
The Academy Games will be held in Wollongong on April 11 and 12.