Men’s head coach Danny Kerry admits he’s delighted to be watching more hockey than ever in the FIH Pro League – although he joked that his wife isn’t quite so sure!
The FIH Pro League in 2019 sees 128 games take place across the globe, with 15 teams doing battle in the biggest hockey league the world has ever seen.
Thanks to BT Sport, Danny has been able to follow the game around the globe and said, “I have watched all of the matches and I’ve been following our women’s team as well, so I’ve been watching even more hockey, much to the dismay of my wife!
“It’s been fascinating being the Head Coach of a programme, you know all of the decisions that have to be made about how much you’ll be developing your side, versus fielding what may be perceived as your out-and-out team.
“With FIH Pro League being linked to world ranking points, then being linked to Olympic qualification, teams have got to strike an important balance of getting the points they need whilst also continuing to grow and develop because if they don’t they will slowly but surely be overtaken. Getting the balance right is a big challenge as a Head Coach.”
The next squad Danny picks is for the away game in Germany on Sun 28 April, and when asked about the variables he takes into account when selecting a squad, he said, “You look at athletes who have performed in the training block and who have performed in the matches prior.
“You’re really trying to look around meritocracy of level of performance and training level of performance previously, that’s one factor. There’s then a factor about exploring your style of play and which players may allow you to grow that well.
“Equally, exploring players that may bring a different direction of growth to your team, and then also half an eye on Olympic qualification and the Euros in the summer. No one ever takes Olympic qualification for granted, but should you qualify you’re looking at rates of progression of players and accumulation of experience in those players. Then when you get to select for things like the Olympic Games you’re selecting with confidence that you’ve exposed them enough that you understand what they can consistently deliver. There are multiple variables.
“Another is combinations of players and how they work together under the pressure of a live international match, there’s also consideration for the opposition themselves and what type of opportunity that may present.
“We’ve travelled long-haul so far so some of our younger athletes may not have had that experience so let’s expose them whilst having enough core athletes who are going to keep the ship steady and solid, there are a lot of variables.”
Next up Britain are away to Germany, before their first home match in London on Saturday 4 May against Spain. With this type of dynamic hockey, it’s bound to be an exciting occasion at Lee Valley Hockey and Teniis Centre.