welcome to western districts junior and youth development program for girls and boys alike, the westie sticks!
Whether you're a new player, little hockey legend, parent, guardian or something in-between, Westie Sticks is a refreshing way for younger ones to enjoy their hockey.
With the help of New Zealand Hockey, here at Western we've remodelled our hockey development to prioritise fun, exploration, individual successes and skills. Teaching our young ones the importance of enjoying the sport, taking little wins in life, teamwork and self-progression will help them not only in hockey, but for the rest of their lives!
So if you're keen to learn a little more, or want to get started, you're in the right place.
The third most played sport in the world, hockey players enjoy the sports social, technical and fitness benefits! 2 billion people can't be wrong, right?
With 16 people in a hockey team, there's something, and someone, for all our players. These amazing friendships, bonded through competition and play can last across grades, through representative hockey and for a lifetime!
Learning to play hockey is more than just hitting a ball. Amongst other things, it teaches co-ordination, confidence, teamwork, conflict resolution, determination and emotional management.
There's also access to our more advanced Skills Sessions and Holiday Programmes for those who have the drive to go further.
We believe helping one another leads to bigger successes for everyone. Youth players will enjoy a buddy system with players from our Premier teams, as well as guaranteed allotments every year into those Premier teams. Juniors will benefit from the inspiration of some of our Youth volunteers as they assist our coaches.
Here at Western, we pride ourselves on the family-friendly and safe club facilities that we provide to our club members. A high quality game turf ensures safety on match day and Juniors train in our unique indoor shed, sheltered from the winter weather.
There's something incredibly satisfying about the ability to swing a stick at something. Hockey, cricket, baseball, gold, hurling, lacrosse, softball, polo and so many other sports and activities have this great feature in common. Hockey, though, adds more teamwork and athleticism than most for a well-rounded, enjoyable and competitive sport.
here are the benefits western brings not just you but your up-and-coming athletes as well!
From the first time they pick up a hockey stick we aim to give your children the best possible chance to succeed, limited only by their own commitments to their progression. Below you'll find descriptions of Auckland hockey's Junior and Youth grades as well as player pathways into Senior hockey.
Fun-Sticks are our Year 1 & 2 mixed teams, filled with coaches who are excited to make hockey fun, energetic and social!
Mini-Sticks are our Year 3 & 4 mixed teams who still prioritise fun and engagement, but ensure your children are learning new hockey skills, too!
Kiwi-Sticks are our Year 5 & 6 mixed teams. Coaching, still based on fun, starts to develop their hockey senses as well as reinforcing skills.
Kwik-Sticks are the last grade before Youth. Year 7 & 8 mixed teams see them move to full-field and develop their mental game while having fun doing it!
The Youth Championship grade feature children from Year 9 to 13. Coaches focus on ensuring the basic skills are reinforced and the players learn more about what it takes to be dynamic, structural, confident and proactive, and how to love hockey while doing it! Players here at any age will be in a great environment to improve and enjoy their sport.
The Youth Premier grade is the top team in our Youth programme and also ranges from Year 9 to 13. Typically featuring the slightly older, more experienced players, this is the highest Youth competition that Auckland Hockey offers through the club system. High achievers here are encouraged to involve themselves in Premier hockey and often end up as permanent members there before they finish Year 13.
Senior hockey grades offer amazing opportunities for children of any skill level. Newer player can easily fit into the lower grades and play alongside coaches who focus on the development of basics and encourage exploration whereas more experienced players may enter into some of the higher grades before continuing their journey upwards where it becomes more competitive.
Premier grades are the pinnacle of New Zealand hockey's rankings with the Premier teams featuring Black Sticks and elite athletes alike, and the Reserve grade a staging ground to develop and encourage hockey for up-and-coming players. Players coming from the Youth Premier grade often begin their senior hockey exposure in the Reserve grade before earning their spots with the Premier team.
youth opportunity policy
Western's commitment to Youth hockey is seeing us trial an opportunity policy, with the hopes of making it a permanent promise to Youth players going forward. If you'd like an opportunity to play in these grades, just show up to the Premier trials, or get in contact with the men's or women's Club Captain if you can't make the trials.
For the foreseeable future, there will be 3 spots reserved for Youth aged players in the Reserve and Premier teams, with an additional 3 players invited to attend trainings in the hopes they might fill-in for injuries or absences. By ensuring that Youth players have targets to strive to, we hope that they can work towards their goals and see their hard work rewarded!
youth & junior development academy
The WDHC “Development Academy” is run over the summer to develop and encourage our young players both experienced and new to hockey to not only play the best hockey that they can but also to love hockey as much as we do!
The programme has evolved to cater for all kids and young adults who would like to play hockey - regardless whether you’ve never played before or if you're in representative teams! We take pride in prioritising fun, exploration, individual successes and skills to ensure each child makes improvements over the course of the programme.
The training programme covers everything from basic to advanced skills, nutrition, warm up, down and stretching, match tactics, leadership, communication, teamwork and friendship. Along with representative coach Vic Methven, we are fortunate to have secured the coaching services of NZ representative players who have all coached at school, club and/or representative levels and we are very fortunate to have them coaching at Western as well. Their combined experience of playing and coaching allows them to teach players across many ages and skill levels but all with the aim of helping our players to improve and be their best.
Players are taught systems, techniques and skills that will help them not only in hockey, but for the rest of their lives!
Continuing on from the success of last years expansion, the programme includes U23s, Youth, Intermediate and Junior players and is a combination of skills and games sessions. The games sessions also double as grading games/trials and there will be Youth and Junior Coaches and Selectors watching to help grade players for the winter season.
Due to our funding efforts, programme this year will only incur a small cost of $40 per player (for the whole programme).
All sessions will all be held at Avondale College, Gate 3, Rosebank Road, Avondale.
DATES & TIMES
Skills Sessions Sunday 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th of February
Games Sessions are on Sunday the 3rd & 10th of March
U23s (19-22 Year olds) and Youth (School Years 9-13) - 5.30pm -7pm
Intermediate (School Years 7 & 8) and Juniors (School Years 1-6) - 4.30pm - 5.30pm
Juniors (school years 0-6) - 4-4.45pm
Intermediate (school years 7&8) - 4.45-5.30pm
Youth Girls (high school years 9-13) 5.30-6.30pm
Youth Boys (high school years 9-13) 6.30-7.30pm
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
A drink bottle
We can provide hockey sticks for those who don’t already have one, but we do recommend you bring a mouthguard and shin pads if you have them as well.
We go ahead rain or shine so make sure you bring sunscreen and a rain jacket.
Registrations for 2024 are open, so please follow the link below to book your place! If you would like to come along to the Games Sessions as you are trialling for a Western team for this winter season, we will open registrations early next year.
Please don’t hesitate in emailing email@example.com for more information
Keen to come and try hockey before you sign up for the winter season? Each year in February we run a free Have a Go Day for all ages. Run by the Youth Committee with dedicated coaches, this is the perfect introduction to hockey.
Held at Avondale College Hockey Turf (Gate 3, Rosebank Road) Sunday 4th of February, 3.30-4.30pm.
Sessions will suit:
People wanting to give hockey a go for the first time, or those who haven't played for a number of years.
People will be split into groups based on their age and experience to ensure everyone gets to participate at their own level.
Structure of session:
Skill development rotations - 45min (the amount of these stations will depend on numbers)
15min of games
We are able to supply sticks on the day for you to borrow however you will need to have your own mouth guards
WHAT HAPPENS AFTERWARDS?
Players who've enjoyed their Have-a-Go day can then join the Development Academy at their leisure. It will run directly afterwards, and allows children to enjoy, improve, and progress their hockey. Just ask any of the coaches on the day, or email us to join the the Development Academy sessions!
Please complete the registration form below as soon as possible so we can properly plan for the\sessions, there will be a max number of kids we can do in each session so register early to secure your spot!
Please don’t hesitate in emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information