One of our hockey coaches, Sam Rowe, recently joined up with the Welsh National Hockey squad to provide video analytics at an international tournament in the Netherlands.
We made use of Sam’s time in self-isolation following his return from an ‘amber list’ country, to speak to him via video link. He shared his experiences of coaching some of the best hockey players in the world as well as the expertise he can bring back to help our pupils develop as players.
“There is a huge correlation between what we do at the Senior Squad and what we do here at Framlingham. To be honest, we probably have a better ability to analyse games at Framlingham because of the 360° video cameras we have on our pitches.”Sam Rowe, Framlingham College Hockey Coach
Travelling abroad, even for work, is no mean feat right now. Despite all the tests and restrictions, Sam says, the Welsh Senior Men’s Squad were in fine spirits as they were able to compete against some of the best teams in the world. He said: “It was a tough tournament for so many reasons. I slept for two days after I came back. At the tournament, we would finish training or a match and go straight back to our rooms – dinner in our room and no meeting up inside with others. The squad can be proud though as we matched our previous tournament performance and now we have our highest ever world ranking.”
Mr Rowe is a video analyst for the team and is responsible, along with a team of others, for monitoring every play and defensive contribution from the players to provide insight into the areas where the team stands to improve most. He adds: “I got into the video analysis work to become a better coach. It’s been a quick development route by working on the analysis of each game and then reporting this back to the players in daily team debriefs.
“Tournament weeks are really full on. I’ll basically be at every one of our games, cutting up the footage into thousands of different pieces to analyse our goals and our tactics as well as looking carefully at opponents.”
But Sam says one of the key reasons that he is so keen to learn as much as he can in his role for the Welsh national Squad, is so that he can provide the benefit of his experiences to pupils back here at Framlingham College as hockey coach. He says: “For me, I just cherry-pick the bits from the Senior game that I can bring back and try to introduce to practice and training sessions here. Obviously not everything is suitable, but there are certainly training exercises and different tactics that I have been able to learn and bring back.
“There is a huge correlation between what we do at the Senior Squad and what we do here at Framlingham. To be honest, we probably have a better ability to analyse games at Framlingham because of the 360° video cameras we have on our pitches.”
Sam has just completed his mandatory period of quarantine in his home and is eager to get back to Framlingham to impart what he’s learned with pupils. He’s also looking forward to re-joining the Welsh Senior Men’s Squad, later in the year, for what will be a highly competitive year of top-level hockey. He adds: “We didn’t make the World Cup automatic qualification spots, but we have a qualifier later in the year and that will be a great opportunity for these players. It’s the pinnacle of the game.
“There are two spaces left in the World Cup and eight teams fighting for them so it really will be brutal competition for those spots. But we’ve got a good group of players and they will fight for it. I believe we are in a good position.”