Some of Hockey Central Victoria’s young stars had the chance of a lifetime at a clinic run by two dual Olympic gold medallists in Bendigo yesterday
Netherlands internationals Lidewij Welten and Eva De Goede took some time out from a holiday to coach juniors at HCV’s Ashley Street complex.
The HVC juniors took in every word spoken by 22-year-old striker Welten and 23-year-old midfielder De Goede.
As well as two Olympic gold medals each, the pair also won last year’s Champions Trophy – regarded as the most prestigious tournament behind the Olympics.
The Dutch duo began playing internationally at 17, the age of some of yesterday’s pupils, and were happy to pass their knowledge onto about 25 HCV players in a three-hour session.
“Just teaching them some basics and skills and having a lot of fun, it’s important they have fun,” De Goede said.
“Basics is important in passing and receiving and skills how to defeat a defender and a shot on goal.”
The Dutch stars are taking a well-earned break in Australia after helping their nation defend its 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal in London in August.
“We just want to go on holiday, we decided to do some clinics here just for fun,” Welten said.
The striker, recognised as one of the Netherlands’ best players, was not too concerned about giving away tips to a potential future opponent, saying “it would be fun” to play against somebody she had coached.
With the men’s Champion Trophy being played in Melbourne, HCV secretary Katrina Bales searched the internet to see if any players would come to Bendigo to take a clinic.
“I just sent an email to see if they would come to Bendigo, being from Holland everything’s close together and they were a bit concerned about coming an hour-and-a-half out of the city,” Bales said.
“It’s a long way to Bendigo, but they came up on the train. We hope they just improve the kids’ skills while they’re here.”