Former SA Women’s Hockey player and well-respected Mental Toughness Coach, Louise de Jager (nee Coertzen), has been chosen to lead the Johannesburg-leg of national hockey initiative, the Investec Hockey Academy, which takes place on Saturday, 9 and Sunday, 10 June at St Peter’s College in Sandton.
Having represented SA in the 2009 Junior World Cup in USA, and played for the SA Women’s Hockey team between the years 2009 to 2013, de Jager is eager to put her experience to use by sharing her knowledge and skills with Gauteng’s hockey fraternity.
De Jager will join the Investec Hockey Academy as the Course Captain of their high-performance courses in Gauteng, and will also manage the Academy’s popular Customised Courses; individually tailored training offered to school teams and clubs nationally. Known for her powerful drag flicks and overhead shots, de Jager is passionate about the growth of hockey among school players, and developing future talent.
“It is an honour to be able to provide hockey players the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals in a sport that is close to my heart,” says de Jager.
Hockey is not the only sport de Jager has made significant achievements in; she placed 14th at the 2004 World Gymnastics Championship hosted In Germany and received her Gauteng Provincial Colours for Water Polo and Athletics. At school, she also participated in tumbling, swimming, tennis, squash, cricket, and golf.
Having looked up to SA Women’s Hockey legend, Lindsey Wright, de Jager and other SA Hockey professionals hope to inspire young players to have big dreams in the sport that they love.
“There’s no better inspiration than working closely with professionals in the game. Together we want to give them an experience of a lifetime with a multifaceted approach; focusing on tactical, technical and mental elements of the game, as well as the importance of health and wellbeing behind the scenes,” says de Jager.
Aimed at growing the awareness of the benefits of sport, hockey participation and skills from a grassroots level, the Investec Hockey Academy offers a Fundamental Players’ Course (ages 8 to 11) that aims to build a solid foundation for the sport, an Intermediate Players’ Course (ages 12 to 15); focusing on skills development, and an Advanced Players’ Course (ages 16 to 18), providing players with position-specific training.
In addition, the development of coaches is equally important to the Investec Hockey Academy as they play a role in establishing and maintaining the professional standard at school level. The Coaches’ Course, which runs alongside the Advanced Players’ Course, allows coaches of all levels to work alongside professional coaches, providing a first-hand experience of implementing the latest international coaching techniques and creating a community forum of discussion.
“It is important that we create a community among coaches to share their thoughts, techniques and questions. Our course provides an interactive forum for coaches to work on techniques to develop all-round sports performance,” says de Jager.
With a successful practice in Randburg, de Jager is a firm believer in the value of sport in building necessary life skills.
“Playing hockey teaches valuable and transferable life skills; such as maintaining concentration, the ability to handle pressure and anxiety, self-belief and perseverance. Being a team sport, hockey develops vital ‘people skills’ such as effective communication, social skills, cohesion and team dynamics. The challenges and demands experienced help solidify important mental skills, opportunity for relationship building and large amounts of enjoyment and fun needed later in life,” says de Jager.
When asked what advice she’d give to young players, she had much to share.
“Be coachable and soak up as much information as you can from a variety of coaches. Champions aren’t born in gyms or on hockey astros, they are born out of their daily habits; if you want to be the best, you have to set daily routines that you strive for. Becoming a champion is a journey of one million small steps.”
For more information about the Investec Hockey Academy’s Courses, taking place, visit www.investecacademy.com or contact Bernadine Miller on (031) 940 5565.