THE battle for the hearts and minds of sporting juniors has seen Hockey Albury Wodonga add a new string to its bow.
On Saturday the association finished a successful under-9 season.
Almost 90 players took part in a year that also included a series of skills session before a home and away competition between six clubs.
Organiser Deb Lawrence said its success had seen Hockey Albury Wodonga re-commit for next year.
“It started last year but wasn’t particularly successful,” she said.
“But the key was getting the clubs involved and this year we had great support from Beechworth, Wodonga, Wombats, Falcons, Magpies and the Scots School.
“The kids played each week, at different times, exactly the same as a regular season.
“In the past we have had programs like Hookin2Hockey that were basically skills based — but kids love playing a game.”
Lawrence said traditional hockey competitions were missing out on juniors at a vital stage of their development.
“Most of the competitions start with the under-12s but by that time the kids are already committed to either footy or netball,” she said.
“With this we have girls and boys as young as six, learning the skills and playing hockey — some have already stepped up into the under-12s.”
Lawrence said Hockey Victoria would take the next step with an under-10 development program in November.
“The coaching group will be made up of state coaches, elite players and top local coaches for an entire day,” she said.
Visit hockeyalburywodonga.com.au for more details.