Aims and Objectives

The Brave Academy is an additional tier in the talent pathway between District and International levels. The purpose of the Academy is to build on good work already being done across the country in Schools, Clubs and Districts, to provide additional support to our talented emerging and aspiring hockey players, and to help them develop the tools and skills they need to bridge the gap between domestic and international hockey.

To do this, the Brave Academy will provide a combination of training and competitive opportunities on the pitch, along with support off the pitch in areas such as nutrition & hydration, sports psychology, and strength & conditioning. This will help increase the number of players capable of making the step to international hockey. Players in the Brave Academy will benefit from over 50 hours quality contact time on and off the pitch.

The Brave Academy will be regionalised, with three Academy Centres initially located in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. This is done principally to minimise travelling and time demands for players, at what is a very busy time for young people and their families. This also means we can provide opportunities for more players, while still maintaining good quality training environments. For boys and girls at each Centre, there will be two Stages – Emerging & Aspiring, which is explained below.

Academy Phases

The first phase of Brave Academy training and competition takes place from Monday October 11th – Monday December 5th, 2021. Training will take place every Monday evening at each centre for eight weeks, with inter-Centre competition on several Sundays from late October onwards. Full details including timings and locations for each Centre can be found below.

The Brave Academy also plays a part of our talent identification and confirmation process for National Squad Programme selection; after the first block of training and competition, the pathway will diverge – in early 2022 Academy players selected for National Squads will train and compete only in that programme. Those not selected for a National Squad at that point will continue in phase 2 of the Brave Academy programme instead, training together and working towards selection for competitive matches, or a tournament against teams from other countries during the summer of 2022. See Academy Phase Calendar below.

We believe this change to the system will enable us to support more players and keep the talent pool wider for longer, with those who remain in the Brave Academy programme benefitting from the opportunity to continue their development in an environment that replicates appropriate aspects of National Squad training and competition, to give them as much chance as possible of making that transition at a later date.

Programme dates for the Brave Academy phase 2 and National Squads will be issued along with selection in December.

Why we are moving from Age Groups to Stage Groups

Rather than use a system that simply divides players into age groups depending on which year they were born, we are keen to develop players depending on their needs and stage of development. Research tells us that while this may seem more complex, it is a better way of maximising the production of talent. This is principally because young people develop at different rates both physically and mentally, meaning that competitions based on age groupings often does not compare like for like, and can hinder development opportunities for many.

Clearly age will still play some part in selection for a particular group, but it will no longer be the only determining factor. In practice, this means we can tailor an individual’s programme to give them the most suitable amount of challenge and support. For instance, a player may be invited to participate in the Aspiring Stage at an Academy Centre to give them additional stretch amongst their peers regionally but be selected for the Emerging National Squad to further develop, and may also allow more focus on additional areas such as leadership and confidence.

The Emerging Stage will normally consist of players who are in an earlier stage of physical or mental development, or have a lower training age/playing experience. The Aspiring Stage will normally consist of players who may be more physically or mentally developed, or have a greater training age/playing experience. Each decision will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant information about each player.

As a result, we will now operate two Stage groups called Emerging and Aspiring. This is to reflect the difference between those who are starting to demonstrate the abilities that may help them become international athletes in future, and those who are displaying those capabilities more consistently and working on further refining them.

Phase 1 of Brave Academy training will take place on Mondays from 11th October to Monday 29th November 2021 inclusive. Times and locations can be found here: BRAVE ACADEMY TRAINING PROGRAMME 2021

Inter-Centre competition will take place on three Sundays from October 31st—December 12th and players will be selected to play for their Academy Centre in at least two of these. Players will be advised of the Sundays they are selected for once the training programmes are underway.

Brave Academy Girls Squads:

Brave Academy Squads_Dundee

Brave Academy Squads_Edinburgh Lightning

Brave Academy Squads_Glasgow Thunder

Brave Academy Boys Squads: