Will a remarkable career in hockey coaching help to win Olympic Medals ?
Tim was Head Coach for the Midlands Region Hockey programme from 1993 to 2008 in which time the Midlands won the National Championships 10 times and were second on 3 occasions. The players came to him at 11/12 years old and he usually worked with them for two Sundays a month and at regular training camps and tournaments in England and abroad until they went to university at 18.
In 1997 Tim left teaching to become a full time professional coach having gained the Level 4 coaching certificate from England Hockey in 1995. From 2006 to 2010, he worked for Welsh Hockey as one of their High Performance International coaches and took Wales to two European Championships - Prague in 2007 and Madrid in 2009.
Between 2000 and 2011, he also worked with two National League Clubs (Worcester and Belper) and their associated feeder schools and won 45 National Championship and League titles with age groups ranging from under 11s to seniors.
In 2009 Tim was shortlisted for England Hockey's Performance Coach of the Year and finished runner-up to a coach centrally contracted to England Hockey.
Tim’s ability to develop the best players in the women’s game has been rewarded many times but one of his greatest achievements is the fact that six Midlands players he coached over several years have recently been selected for Great Britain Women’s Olympic Squad (out of the England contingent of 13 in the squad of 16).
Crista Cullen, Anne Panter, Helen Richardson, Georgie Twigg, Laura Unsworth, Sally Walton and their fellow players are ranked fourth in the world and the team recently won the London Prepares test event at the Olympic Park.
Will an Olympic Gold Medal be the ultimate reward for Tim’s involvement with Hockey ?
The Great Britain Women’s team went on to be awarded the Bronze Medal – and now they have even surpassed that achievement by winning the Gold Medal in Rio (summer Olympics 2016).
To recap –
Soon after he took up his coaching role at Belper Hockey Club in 2003, Tim identified Hollie Webb (who scored the match winning penalty goal in Rio) as a player with special potential - she was just 13 years old. Tim coached her for a total of four years in an elite ‘fast track’ training group when she was one of 18 junior international players from Belper Hockey Club who have benefitted from his knowledge of hockey.
Tim was instrumental in the early learning of several other members of the Gold Medal winning team when Midlands Head Coach for 15 years: Crista Cullen, Shona McCallin, Helen Richardson-Walsh, Georgie Twigg and Laura Unsworth as well as the one of the travelling reserves, Ellie Watton were in his Midlands Development Group where they were identified at 11 years old as players with potential. This Development group had regular training days, weekends and extended camps in England plus tournaments in Holland to enhance their hockey understanding for the next 6 years. Joie Leigh (the second travelling reserve in Rio) played with Tim at Belper Hockey Club when she came to the nearby Repton School for her 6 th form studies before moving on to Bristol University.
Tim recalls that Shona had contacted him from Rio following his email to wish her the best of luck to say that she still had the ‘red booklet’ which they all were given in his Midlands training group setting out how to become an international hockey player. She also remembered the initial talk he gave to that group and their parents when Tim said they were the players who would win Great Britain a gold medal in the Olympics. At the time the parents were mildly amused but they must be bursting with pride now.
As for the players, they have now got “the ultimate reward “for Tim’s coaching and motivation.