Sam Quek says lockdown has given privately educated kids a sporting advantage


As the coronavirus continues to have a negative impact on the future of sport, I was made aware last week of another detrimental effect of lockdowns.

And it could have a huge knock-on effect as to who makes up the next generation of our national teams.

One of my Twitter followers, a schoolgirl named Izzy Gardiner, who plays her hockey at Broxbourne Hockey Club, tweeted Great Britain and England Hockey on Thursday.

She wrote: “I feel strongly about the lack of equality and diversity in hockey, particularly in relation to the lack of opportunities/facilities for people like me who attend state schools.

“I can’t play hockey at all now whilst private school students are having regular training and match play, putting students like me at a huge disadvantage.”

Reading her tweet made me feel sad.

Hockey clubs have been forced to suspend play during lockdown

Firstly I can relate to the fears of a young girl worried about her future hockey career, and secondly I was upset because what she was saying is also completely true.

With hockey clubs across the country closed, state- school children, like her, are unlikely to be picking up a hockey stick for a while for any meaningful match play or training, owing primarily to their schools’ lack of facilities.

Whereas her private-school counterparts, with their bigger finances and better facilities, will likely be playing regularly. I attended a private secondary school and I believe privately-educated children do have an advantage in their hockey development.

However, I also believe that club hockey is the ultimate equaliser. Unlike in school, at your club, as your hockey skills advance, so do you, up the age groups and the ability levels.

I went from playing with my own age group to quickly playing with older kids and then to playing with and against fully-grown women when I was just 15.

Doing so sped up my development infinitely more than playing at my school ever could.

However, if club hockey had been suspended like it is now, there is no doubt it would have been a huge advantage to my development to be continually playing some form of hockey, rather than none at all.

The sayings really do ring true. Practice does make perfect and if you don’t use it, you lose it.

When hockey eventually resumes and the national youth selectors emerge, the different levels of sharpness and confidence between those who have been playing regularly and those who haven’t been could be stark.

When the lockdowns are eventually over, GB and England Hockey will need to work extra hard to make sure that state-educated boys and girls, like Izzy, aren’t overlooked due to circumstances beyond their control.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *