Indoor hockey camp proves to be a learning curve for UJ stars

UJ player, Isabella da Rocha keeps possession from Katie Winter of UCT during a Varsity Hockey round-robin match held in Pretoria in 2013. Photo: Saspa

University of Johannesburg (UJ) students Cheneal Raubenheimer and Isabella da Rocha were buoyed by some invaluable game time when they attended the South African national indoor hockey training camp held in KwaZulu-Natal.

The camp took the form of a round-robin competition and acted as a provisional selection event for the South African senior women’s hockey side ahead of the Indoor Hockey World Cup qualifiers in Namibia starting in June.

Despite neither player being new to national team selection, the pair felt that the camp had much to offer.

“The camp was definitely a success for me,” said 23-year old Da Rocha. “It was rather tough as we played seven games in three days, but I learnt a lot through the whole process.”

In addition, Da Rocha, who plays in defence for the 1st team UJ woman’s side, indicated that the provisional selection games served as an eye-opener.

“Every time I go to camp, I learn more about the structure of the team and how we should be attacking and defending in different circumstances.”

Cheneal Raubenheimer (orange) of UJ battles for the ball with Wits player, Belinda Plaatjies (yellow) during a Varsity Hockey encounter at UJ in Johannesburg in 2015. Photo: SASPA

Currently, in pursuit of a Higher Certificate in Business Management qualification, the defender said indoor hockey was a technical sport that required constant fine-tuning of one’s skills.

She added that the guidance received from the coaching staff at the training camp helped immeasurably to hone her skills.

“Our coach, Lennie Botha, was really helpful in guiding me when I made mistakes on the field. He helped me understand what I should be doing instead. This really helped me grow as a player and, at this moment, become a better defender.”

Da Rocha said she would now turn her full attention to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup in England in July.

Raubenheimer, who is completing her third year in Retail and Business Management, represented the Proteas in 2014 in field hockey.

She is, however, relatively new to the indoor hockey scene, finding that she needed to adjust to the fast pace of the game.

She said, “It is much faster than field hockey, so you always have to be aware of what’s going on around you. I keep learning new things, whether technically, tactically or even about myself.” The forward was, however, reluctant to look too far into the future, saying that her immediate focus was on the upcoming Varsity Hockey tournament in May. “It is the first tournament on my list and I want to put all my energy into that.”

Are you a hockey aficionado? If so, let us in on the differences between indoor and field hockey by posting a message on the Northcliff Melville Times Facebook page.


Tshepiso Mametela

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