The lack of an outside pitch isn’t slowing down the Dubai Youth Hockey Club, who are making strides in increasing the sport of field hockey in the UAE at grassroots level.
The first youth hockey development coaching programme in the region has spread the game by spurring interest in children despite playing on the inside surfaces of Horizon International School rather than a typical turf field.
It hasn’t mattered, however, as Nadia Schwarz and her husband Paul founded the club in 2012 and realised there was a need for a structured programme.
“We always knew there was a need for a youth hockey club out here because we both play hockey ourselves,” said Schwarz.
“Then we realised we could take this a bit bigger and we reached out to a very full database that we had and we got 50 kids from there and now two years on, we’ve got about 130.”
The club is for children 4-16 and follows the Hockey Australia FIH youth coaching programme, Hookin2Hockey, for teaching the skills and rules of the sport.
As small as field hockey is in the UAE relative to other sports, Schwarz has found that there’s a diverse range of kids that have interest. The widest group in the club is children from the Netherlands which make up around 60 per cent, followed by kids from the United Kingdom, India, Australia, New Zealand and other nations.
The dynamics of field hockey allow it to be all-encompassing from an age and gender standpoint. “It’s tiny here but I love it, it’s as simple as that,” said Schwarz.
“If you were from really anywhere else in the world apart from the Middle East, you generally will have hockey leagues, clubs and schools. So, with obviously the European community here, they’re really used to that form of hockey and they grew up with that. It’s a huge sport for them.
“It’s a completely inclusive sport and that’s what’s fantastic about it. It’s got that nice social side to it and the most important thing is that it’s quite a fair sport.”
Schwarz herself has a background playing hockey in Australia and is a certified coach. The club also has another head coach from Ireland and assistant coaches that are parents of the children and have played the game before.
There’s still room to grow and Schwarz hopes the club is demonstrating there’s enough interest to justify the creation of an actual field that can be the centralised home of field hockey in the region.
“If we can get the people to play it, then it’s simple, there’s more of a demand,” said Schwarz. “It would be great to just have one place we can call home for hockey. Hopefully with the youth side, we can show that it has a future as well.”
Anyone interested in participating can inquire about the coaching sessions and league during the current 14-week term.
What: Dubai Hockey Club
Geared towards: Field hockey enthusiasts
When & Where: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Horizon International School in Um Al Sheif, Dubai
Cost: Dh65 per session during the 14-week term, Dh100 for individual session
Contact & info: Email [email protected] or call 050 944 6172
How to Get involved:
Dubai Youth Hockey Club has programmes for both children, as well as a separate women only team:
For children aged four to 16, coaching sessions are offered three times per week, while a league for kids aged nine and above takes once a week.
Perfect for training children in the skills and rules required for field hockey.
Takes place every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with specific sessions for under eight, under 11s and 12-plus.
League for nine and over
Consisting of three teams.
Children are placed on teams based on age and ability in order to make teams as fair as possible.
Teams play each other every Friday in short matches of about 15 or 20 minutes.
A leaderboard is kept and an end-of-term celebration and award ceremony takes place.
Fantasticks Ladies Hockey Club
Club is women-only and made up of many mothers whose children participate in the youth programme.
Meet once per week and organise pick-up games.
Competitors can put their physical and mental skills to the test in the gruelling Ice Warrior Challenge at Ski Dubai on November 1.
This will be the fifth edition of the event and is expected be the toughest yet, with entrants required to climb over ice walls, ascend tangled ropes, drag and push lorry tyres and shovel snow – all while coping with the freezing conditions.
Now it's fourth edition, the organisers are continuing to come up with fiendish ideas to test the competitiors; new additions for this year include the car challenge, which will se competitors needing to dig a hole in the snow that’s big enough for them to crawl under a 1982 Chevy automobile.
The Ice Warrior Challenge is held in aid of chairty and the money raised by those competing will go to the Dubai Centre for Special Needs.
For the top male and female who not only endure Ice Warrior but emerge as its winner, there is a prize worthy of their efforts. A flight to Amsterdam and a two-night stay at the largest ski dome in the world – Snow World Landgraaf – awaits.
Even those who aren’t victorious will receive vouchers and giveaways from Ski Dubai and will have an opportunity to win a flight to a destination in Europe, courtesy of Air France and KLM.
Possible participants can compete as individuals or in teams of five and registration is now open at www.premieronline.com.
To see what you could be getting yourself in for, check out this video…
Senior figures from Indian cricket and representatives from India’s new football league will fly in to Dubai to discuss the development of their sports with experts from around the world.
Host Cities is a two-day event where leading figures in sport and business come together to discuss the benefits of being a host city.
The summit will also incorporate multiple sessions including panel discussions, case studies and workshops dedicated to bidding, hosting, legacy, funding and more.
Rights holders, leading sports bodies and past, present and future host cities will be able to interact and discuss practical advice in understanding the bidding process and learn about what rights holders are looking for when receiving bids.
Looking beyond an event is also high on the agenda as potential host cities establish what it really takes to stage a large-scale event that leaves a positive social and economic legacy.
Organisers SMG said: “Streamline Marketing Group has made great strides to enhance the look, feel and dynamics of this important legacy event while continuing our tradition of hosting the world’s most senior mega-events stakeholders and event rights holders for the most important mega-events initiative in the world in 2014."
As part of Host Cities 2014, being held from 26th – 27th November, Sundar Raman from the IPL governing council and Kushal Das, general secretary of the All India Football Federation will be in attendance at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
From the UAE, Mohammad Al Kaabi, the UAE’s National Olympic Committee board member will be in attendance as well as Salah Al Talhak, the Senior Vice President – Corporate Communications & Tournament Director, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, among other senior sports officials from all over the world.