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Discussion in 'General Hockey Chit-Chat' started by MKochar, Jan 3, 2018.
....could hockey learn lessons from this approach?
I don't see a massive difference between netball as portrayed in this article and hockey. Apart from the large gender disparity in the UK netball scene.
The numbers don't strike me as overwhelmingly brilliant, they don't seem anything special compared with other sports of similar levels of exposure.
The "superleague" format seems to be an American style franchise league. Calling it a superleague doesn't make it more super.
The National League could call itself a superleague and not much would change.
The people who have been interviewed and say they are going to watch the games are those who have been invigorated enough to get involved in such an article in the first place, the article itself does not give any evidence to suggest that there are large/growing attendances at the superleague games. It would be interesting to know what the figures are and if they are large, it would give weight to the concept and certainly give some food for thought.
The interviewees are already interested in netball, and the fact that they are enthusiastic and are able to say that they enjoyed seeing certain players play is no different to someone wanting to go see Ellen Hoog or Ashley Jackson play. I do not think that in the Hockey fraternity, high-profile players suffer from a lack of recognition/exposure.
It would be interesting to see how much exposure both have outside the playing fraternity.
The rise in numbers, could be interesting, but without comparison with Hockey it is hard to read anything into it. It is plausible that Netball was starting from such a low ebb that the first 50% is easy, especially given exposure in Commonwealth Games etc, which has raised the profile of the sport somewhat in England. Rather like a GB gold medal at the Olympics the other year. It is equally possible that they are doing something remarkable. But there isn't any evidence to say one way or another.
Netball, like hockey, is a game many people played at school and then abandoned, so I can see that there is a ready market of older ex players who given an opportunity (people are much more fitness oriented today than they were say 20 years ago) would give it a go at a more advanced age. Giving an obvious outlet for those players seems to be a really good idea and I wonder what if anything is available for ex school hockey players who at the age of 40+ may want to have a run-around with like-minded people. I wonder if clubs/groups of clubs could *ahem* club together to create a network of older players or returning players who want to do it as a social thing without necessarily the regular pressure of playing in a 20 team league.
Comparisons with other sports are always going to be interesting and a sensible sport should seek to look at its "competitors" and see what, if anything they are doing well.
I don't read anything in this article which makes me sit up and think, "jings, we really should be doing that".
I think your head is in the sand on this one @Krebsy .
I would hardly call our national league "super".
Have a look at this.
This is typical of may of the games in the league.
They have made great efforts to improve the product and embraced professionalism. This is reflected in the quality of the netball being played in the league improving exponentially and the economics of the league begin to work.
A quick spot the difference:
- there is a very good size crowd that is creating an atmosphere unlike at most English matches (including the national team's clap clap brigade)
- the crowd have paid to be there
- games are played at a time that does not clash with the timings of local/regional leagues so average Jane can play on a Saturday and spectate on Friday Saturday and Monday evenings
- there is actually a hospitality section where people will have paid a lot of money to be
- the game is being played live on Sky Sports, certainly enjoying better exposure than our national league
- the best are playing against the best, unlike hockey where it is common to see England U21s or even seniors playing in regional conferences
- the facilities are brilliant, they are not playing at the local authority's pitch (sorry HWHC)
- it looks and feels professional. If a kid goes to the superleague they think "I want to be a netballer". Rock up to Holcombe on a wet Sunday afternoon that might not be the feeling
- superleague teams engage with local teams to boost support and ultimately attendance at matches
- they have the clout to attract internationals from around the globe
- the league has excellent geographical spread to inspire across the country (from London to Manchester, bath to Newcastle and everywhere in between)
What can we do? Where do I start?
- let's play in the summer
- reduce the size of the national league to ensure the best are playing against the best week in week out
- force internationals to play outside the M25 bubble
- make clubs create a good product that consumers will PAY to see
- schedule national league games at quality venues at times that maximise spectators
Whatever @Krebsy says we risk being left behind. Historically hockey never took off in the UK as there were no competitive games to watch. We MUST have a product for punters on the ground.
You’re comparing an indoor league to an outdoor league. It would be fairer to compare with indoor hockey which is badly neglected by EH, other than the finals at the Copperbox. Some great indoor hockey going on and I’ve not seen a single bit of promotion from EH.
At risk of spinning out a different thread- England hockey has actively stopped centralised England players playing in the national indoor competitions this season other than the finals should their team make it. Cynically, you might say that the thinking is that they make money from that event so want a top product to show off but it totally devalues the competition which IMO should be the best Vs the best.
Similarly, the England players are not allowed to play in the Euro clubs indoor competition either which doesn't exactly incentivise clubs to make the effort to take part.
You mention the dreaded P word in hockey circles and everyone starts screaming money and how Holcombe/Wimbledon/Surbiton/EG/Reading - whoever happens to be flavour of the week is ruining the sport because they 'spend money'.
Embracing professionalism and being professional are two different things.
This seems a classic case of internet forum hyperbole. I am not sure you read all of my post? I based my response purely on what was in the BBC article and said so, I wondered what the comparisons were with hockey, I never said they were favourable or otherwise. Just because a post doesn't agree wholly with your, (possibly well founded) opinion or the course of my opinion, whilst possibly arriving at the same conclusion, does not follow the exact same direction as yours, does not mean you should accuse people of having their heads in the sand. If you take the time to read my response, you will see that I am advocating further investigation into the comparisons and where there are lessons to be learned, then they should be.
This is a stock campaigner response. "risk being left behind". There is little to back up the assertion that a growth in Netball means a deleterious effect on hockey. Especially when the numbers of participation are so demonstrably small. Reactionary lurching will not solve anything. Considered, evidence based learning and adapting will give a long-term stable growth to the sport.
It's not all or nothing. We must be open to new ideas, but we must not just jump from one thing to another.
As @Ravennghorde says, there is an element of comparing apples with pears here, so we need to understand how the different profiles of each sport affect these numbers. Is the indoor arena a draw? I don't think we can really compare the quality of the sport. To suggest that, for instance, the Women's National League does not contain some superstars of the sport is derisory. Are we presenting them in the best way? Are we giving easy access to the high levels of hockey? The big tournaments tend to be tucked away in a far-flung corner of SE England, is this ideal? Can we put top level hockey on tour? Would building a decent hockey arena in each city where the national league teams can play centrally and not (for example Clifton Robinsons) on a (admittedly good) school pitch in the countryside on the outskirts of Bristol?
There are many things to look at, but the evidence cited on this thread is not yet compelling.
Regarding this, I have tried to find which players will play for the indoor national team this year but found nothing. Do you know who will take part?
England (and other team lists) available on the FIH Match Centre website.
Good luck to you @NicfromSweden (but not against England )
Apologies @Krebsy . I shouldn't have got personal.
You make a series of reasonable points I was just disappointed by your dismissing the fact that Netball seem to be makeing significant steps in the right direction in terms of getting their product out there.
My reference to the sport being left behind is more a reference to the history of the sport in the early 20th century. At the time Hockey had no national competition and no regular "big matches" for spectators to see. The vast majority of matches were friendlies and as a consequence did not grab the attention of the paper's,media or spectators. As a result sports with top level competition took off. Look at the growth of rugby league and the subsequent professionalisation of rugby union. The media love it when there is something to fight for and without a national league (absent till the 80s) they couldn't find this in hockey so stayed away.
What the answer is for hockey I don't know.
You mean a packed Wembley Stadium for the women’s final on the national news every year doesn’t count as high profile or get the attention of the media?
Read carefully @Ravennghorde
Early 20th century. I'm talking inter war period and 50s. Key decades that saw hockey left behind rugby and turnaround further securing their grip.
If you want to talk about today, it's all well and good getting 5000 into Wembley once a year but I'll tell you that the crowd of 80 odd I saw at Hampstead Brooklands last season wasn't great at the lower end of the prem.
No apology required, but thank you nonetheless.
Ah I think I have been mis-interpreted then, may be my wording, I am not dismissing the steps netball have taken. I am simply questioning, due to the lack of evidence one way or another, whether what Netball has done is an indication that Hockey is deficient in some way and needs to buck its ideas up. The basic premise of the OP seems to be (correct me if I am wrong), Netball has done something, therefore Hockey must be lagging behind. Simply put, the stats and commentary are not comparable at this time. It is impressive purely from a netball perspective, but it is not an indication of anything further, yet.
Rugby has always been an order of magnatude larger than Hockey, netball or anything like that. Even in the amateur days, the results were reported on Grandstand, internationals were/are televised free-to-air and the top leagues pulled in 4-5 figure crowds every weekend.
Hockey has no doubt ways to improve its exposure in this country and others. But there are major differences between the sports which mean direct comparison between the two results is not going to tell the whole story.
This is exactly my point. When reading article about something else, it is easy to get envious and think "well netball has all this cool stuff, I want it" and forget to realise that we actually have some pretty cool stuff too.
Let us do a stock-take of our own toy-box before declaring that the kid next door got better toys from Santa.
Your point is a good one, and goes to highlight the difference between the two sports.
Netball is played indoor in a facility which can be used for many sports and where storage of temporary stands is both common and easy. When it is not being used for netball, it can be used for basketball, handball, all sorts.
Hampstead play at Paddington Rec which whilist an excellent hockey facility, is a windswept field in London with few spectator comforts. Grandstands cannot be kept nearby as there is an athletics track in the way and there is nothing you can do to control the climate so on a soggy Sunday afternoon in February, not even the best players in the world are going to entice many people out their warm shopping centres and onto a cold hockey field. That is something that cannot be changed for outdoor hockey and shows how the two have decisive factors which are simply incomparable.
International at Wembley Stadium in 1952. Attendance peaked at 68,000 in 1976.
The problem wasn’t in the early years, certain not for the women’s game. The problem was the failure to cope with the change to artificial pitches and the massive loss of school hockey and thus of interest.
Wow that is a very young team! I guess they are using this as a way to get international experience for the younger players that are on the way in to the outdoor team.
Like Back to Hockey, for example?
Quite possibly, I have not seen it.
How has it gone?
How does state school sport provision compare between netball and hockey? That will affect the usefulness of back to xxx
According to the quotes on the website, very well...
I know that anecdote is not the singular form of data (that's datum!), but a friend of ours started playing again two years ago at Liverpool Sefton and she and the friends she joined with are all still actively engaged.