Revs looks back on 2016 : 2016-09-08


Paul Revington is a prime example of the value of a High Performance Manager within a High Performance Programme. Revs joined Steinhoff Maties Hockey Club in 2015. Maties High Performance had quick Q&A with the hockey master to get his views of the past season.

How would you describe your second season as Steinhoff Maties Hockey’s high performance manager?

“It was very different to 2015 for so many reasons. Several coaches and administrators left Maties Hockey at the tail end of 2015 and our main focus was on replacing these people within our organization and creating a strong leadership environment for the students again at elite level. I then attended the Hockey India League (HIL) for 7 weeks in January/February and despite it being a wonderful event to be a part of, I found myself chasing the train a bit on return.

“As I mentioned already both Women’s and Men’s teams lost several key players and leaders. On top of this the South African Teams had not been allowed to go to the Rio Olympics and several players within the Maties squads had every reason to feel slightly demotivated without clear goals to follow personally. All in all it was a tough start to a season that ended well a few weeks ago!

“The primary goal for me in 2016 (again) was to connect with both head coaches of the first teams and ensure these two ‘flag ship’ teams of the University were functioning well despite various challenges. As the season progressed both head coaches and I were faced with additional athlete challenges but the strength of relationship between all three of us meant we were equipped to face them head on and with calm minds and creative solutions.”

What are some of the highlights of the season?

“The start of the league season for the Women’s team was just fantastic! The energy, speed and attacking ability of the team blew away the opposition initially. Training was high quality and in essence the athletes were motivated and drove the coaches on. The selection of several of the Maties Women into the Senior National and U21 Squad in January and February was no doubt responsible for a lot of this belief.

“The Men’s team performed very well in the ‘tournament type; environments – Varsity Sport, USSA and the Final Top 4 structure in the WPGC League. At the Varsity Hockey series the team won six games in a row playing some fast and enterprising hockey; at USSA and in the Top 4 format of the League they played with great intelligence and determination.

“Obviously winning both the Women and Men’s WPGC again (the men making history as they have now won 4 titles in a row) and then the men also winning USSA completed a very good year trophy wise for the elite teams of Maties Hockey Club.

“Another highlight was the successful implementation of Specialist Drag-Flick Training with Devin Stanton for identified Drag Flickers. This was extremely beneficial at USSA for the men and then in the Women’s Team where Quanita Bobbs got stronger and stronger as the season progressed and was a regular scorer.”

What aspects have you identified that must be worked on for next season?

“Our general recruitment between Women and Men’s teams needs to be better. We must be replacing ‘like-for-like’ players in both teams – that is in terms of skill, physical and especially in terms of character.

“In the Women’s team we said goodbye to some tough (streetwise) characters in 2015 and I was not convinced the team of 2016 was tough and streetwise enough to deal with all the demands that Maties Hockey placed on them.

“In the Men’s team the players showed that they had the potential for this toughness, but it had to be squeezed, shouted and coerced out of several players most of the time. This suggests a lack of internal drive and goal-orientation within most of these individuals. Although the Men’s team proved fitter than their local opposition, the class of 2016 lacked in several physical areas required to perform consistently at this level. Thankfully the team benefited with the inclusion of Nico Koutakis as a physical trainer and he will remedy this in the off-and-pre season training for 2017.

“Other areas to improve include: Operating from bigger squads (24) within both first teams for longer; Doing more physical testing throughout the calendar year on these squads; Using Grant Van Velden and his vision-based pitch training methods; Using our Mental Skills Specialist more consistently throughout the year; and Advancing how we use video to provide instant feedback during training.

There is also a need and desire to have stronger Vics teams – time will tell whether we can get both Vics’ teams inside the top 4 of the WPGC.”


How was it working with Jenny again this year?

“Jenny is an extremely motivated person and coach and this fact makes it a pleasure to work with her. Coupled with her drive she is also open-minded to change and has introduced several new areas again to the Maties Women’s team in 2016.

“These have resulted in the team retaining the League under extreme pressure from opposition coaches who were desperate to knock Maties off their perch. She is also brave and courageous to say it as it is and the players can be grateful knowing that she fights a good fight on their behalf!

“I have also benefitted personally in the sense that in 2015 and 2016 she always asked for my opinion; listened and changed her own beliefs and selections based on my viewpoint; but also been strong enough to reject an opinion and stick with her own belief on a particular topic. This has served as a great example of two HP coaches being strong enough to have their own opinions BUT also selfless and team oriented to know when to combine knowledge and come to the best solution that works for the team.

“I must also mention Karin Hugo as the team’s Physical Trainer and Manager, who plays a critical role in the general growth and management of the team and players. There is a very strong bond and connection between Jenny and Karin that is very good for Maties Hockey.”


Ashlin Freddy coached Maties for the first time in what was a very big season for Maties, how was it working with him and seeing him grow as coach?

“Ashlin is a seriously good player (defender) himself and a fantastic person off the pitch (calm and gentle) – making for the great coach and teacher he is becoming at a very young age. He has played in foreign leagues and therefore has an enlightened mind on hockey – making the initial connection between us even stronger.

“He and I worked out a playing style for Maties very early in the season and players got comfortable and settled very quickly within a potentially rough environment. It has been a pleasure working within a primarily defensively oriented coaching mindset and getting (SA) players to value defence before the flashy offensive skills and tricks. I can see why Neville Rothman and Ashlin are also such a strong coaching team at Paul Roos Gymnasium.

“Ashlin is also a flexible coach within a game and has the gift of being able to adopt a different approach in the middle of a game – a trait I have learned from during the season. As the season progressed and the variables became tougher (several key players left for overseas contracts and/or got injured) we faced the challenges together. We put in our best two League performances inside the Top 4 play-off phase right at the end of the season – the sign of a quality team and coach!

“I must also mention Nico Koutakis (Physical Trainer and Team Manager) who added immense value to our coaching team through his warm ups; gym training and calm yet passionate voice inside the locker room. We need Nico to attend more League games to get that consistency.”


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