Coaches Corner

Early Playing

My name is Joe Thomas and I have been the Westbury hockey coach for 7 years. I started playing for Yatton at 17 years old, but I fell in love with the sport at University at Marjons in Plymouth. After three years there I returned to Yatton and helped set up Somerset Gryphons. As 1st team Captain and coach we had a couple of good years winning promotion before I returned to Marjons again to do my PE PGCE. This year was spent studying, training and playing. It was a hard year but I achieved my ambition and played National League hockey. Upon my return to Bristol after the course I joined Westbury


Coaching Background

I started coaching at 18, wanting to help develop the youth set up at Yatton. I’m proud that quite a few of those young players at still playing now and some at a very high level. I extremely pleased that 2 of those players have decided to come and join Westbury this year as a result of those early days.

I have been going up through the badges and have been Coaching Westbury for 7 years. I have also been lead County Coach for the last 5 years too. The two allow me to give maximum potential to young players, coaching both Westbury and County players in a way the selectors like and the result is big percentage of players making it through to the higher levels of County and regional hockey.

The Vision

Taking on a club with an older demographic, we have worked hard to keep and adapt the ‘Westbury style’ as well as gaining new players. Linked into this the explosion of youth development, the future is looking incredibly bright. We now have U18 players’ form 7th up to the 1st team. County and regional players are integrated in practically every team and going forward the youth of today will make up the team I want to take into National league in a few years’ time.

I have never known a club so determined, supportive and passionate about sharing my vision. Youth development was something I addressed my first year in charge. The ‘youth development committee’ is now bigger than most clubs ‘general committees

1st team and top end – training expectations

Don’t be a robot and repeat low level functions dictated to you… use your brain and apply what is learnt into games. Coach each other using the coaching points. Analyses what you, your partner or your team is doing… and feedback. Constructive criticism and positive reinforcement from all is far superior then direction from one person. If you’re not sure, ask! 100% Effort is a prerequisite, mistakes are accepted and improved. You can’t play in silence so be vocal – clear precise instructions… and ENJOY it!

Joe Thomas