Hockey in Argentina
Hockey is considered to be the most popular female sport in Argentina. However, the introduction of the new all-weather fields has led to an increase in the number of boys playing hockey, and the total number of hockey players continues to rise each year. A high point of the country’s success is the second position in the World Rankings gained by the Women’s Field Hockey Team providing further encouragement for sporty kids to experience field hockey as an alternative to the already popular sports of football and rugby.
Hockey has been introduced into the Argentinean national curriculum as a result of the sport’s popularity and success. Clubs are also taking the sport seriously with long term development projects being implemented for the future of hockey. Despite the popularity, and the government’s ambition for the sport, some schools and organisations find it very difficult to purchase all the required equipment – including the balls and sticks – to play the game. It is also a challenge to recruit coaches with quality experience and training, making it very difficult for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to play, let alone grow through the sport.
Your Hockey Volunteer Placement
Your hockey placement will be based at two different projects. The first is aimed at promoting hockey in the shanty town areas, while the second is to experience Argentine hockey at its best in specialised hockey clubs.
The first part for your hockey placement will consist of coaching hockey at a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which uses hockey as a vehicle to tackle crime and poverty for kids aged 6-17 years. The area is extremely poor and you will be coaching mostly on grass fields. However, with passion and commitment, you will find that this challenging opportunity extremely rewarding. As coaches are difficult to come by, the children of Buenos Aires will quickly warm to you as a hockey coach, and welcome you into their communities as you are providing an opportunity that some may never have had before. Bear in mind that the aim is not to find the next professional hockey star, but to discover hockey as a tool to promote sporting values and discipline in areas where kids are exposed to crime and drugs on a daily basis.
The second part of your hockey coaching project will be based in hockey clubs which have much more access to equipment and facilities. Here you will organise hockey coaching sessions and structured matches for the children. From taking part in both projects, you will see a stark contrast between these ‘two worlds’ from the shanty areas to the established hockey clubs.
You do not need coaching qualifications to join our hockey coaching project, just some experience of playing or coaching at a fairly good standard, be it school, club, university or county. This is because our aim is to provide more opportunities for young Argentinean children to play and enjoy hockey, not on finding Argentina’s next national hockey star – although that is not to say you shouldn’t try!
Your Hockey Coaching Placement
Your role in the Hockey Coaching volunteer placement will be to organise hockey coaching sessions for the children, in which you will make an immediate impact. You will be supervised by the in-country staff until you are ready and confident to take the sessions yourself.
These hockey sessions take place after the school timetables in the afternoon and evenings. Introducing structured practice through the basic principles of passing, tackling, positioning and ball possession are key to helping the kids, whilst providing competition and fun games to keep the kids motivated and interested.
In the hockey clubs, you will work as an assistant coach and will be engaged in setting up drills – your own ideas and practices will always be welcomed. The children are talented and have been playing for several years, therefore the aim is to introduce exercises from your own experience as a player or coach at your home club.
There is also the option for you to play hockey with the local hockey clubs. Not only does this provide the chance to get to know new local friends, but you will also find yourself forming friendships, and it is also a great way to help your own Spanish language capabilities.
The idea of these two coaching roles is to experience Argentine hockey by coaching kids coming from two different backgrounds. You will realise how enriching the experience is and how the differing backgrounds of the kids makes them respond differently. Whether coaching at the NGO or the hockey club, this is a stunning opportunity to make a real impact on a community while learning Spanish, playing hockey and making lifelong friends both in Argentina and with other overseas volunteers.
Summer camps in Argentina run throughout January. These camps attract thousands of kids each year, and are run in conjunction with a government sports initiative aimed at getting kids out and doing something constructive with their summer holidays. Volunteer sports coaches are required to coach: football, hockey, rugby and tennis.
Hockey Training Placement
As part of your hockey project you will also be playing and training with local and international players at a local hockey club. The players are looking to impress selectors and get themselves into professional clubs so you should expect to train at a high standard. You will have the opportunity to train with the team taking part in all physical and fitness sessions; these include drills, strategy techniques and possibly the chance to play at a competitive level. The players age between 18-25 years making it an ideal team to make friends and also enjoy the social side of hockey in Argentina.
CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) Check
It is advised that participants complete a CRB/ DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) check in order to take part in this project. Sporting Opportunities can provide this service for you at an additional cost of £30. For more information on the application process please take a look at the relevant Add On Tab.
Gap Year or Student Summer Holidays for Hockey in Argentina
A hockey gap year or career break in Argentina is the perfect way to combine meaningful travel experience. Sport is used as a tool to start teaching kids about community values and development. With a hockey project you will soon find that coaching disadvantaged kids, learning a language and making loads of friends is a very rewarding and fun way to spend part of a gap year or career break abroad.