The Nordic Caravan is a joint coaching project between Sweden and Denmark, where the EHF employs coaches from other countries to coach day camps to kids from these two Nordic countries over a 10 day period. This was the third year that the project has run, with a record number of kids attending, both boys and girls, ranging from 6-17 years old. This year, I, Jamie Hooper from Wales, and Mateusz Grochal from Poland, were asked to lead the coaching for the caravan. As we are both members of the EHF Youth Panel, we knew each other very well before arriving in Stockholm (for more information about the EHF Youth Panel, visit the Youth pages on the EHF website).
Three coaches from Sweden travelled with the caravan the whole way (Ella Torstensson, Sofia Blomgren, and Nicole Carlsson), with local coaches from the different clubs playing very important roles on the day.
9 kids from Sweden travelled the whole way with the caravan. The caravan first visited Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Lund in Sweden, then Slagelse, Orient and Kalundborg in Denmark. Every day presented different conditions to work with; with glorious sun to pouring rain and from 9 kids on one camp up to 50 on another! But as coaches we tried very hard to keep each day as diverse and fun and possible, particularly for the kids travelling the whole of the caravan. We wanted to make sure that as well as having fun, each kid walked away from the day having learnt something new and hopefully made some new friends, and would want to come again next year.
We both found the week extremely rewarding, both from a coaching perspective, as well as being able to get to know the kids and the local coaches away from the pitch.
The idea of bringing different nations together through hockey is amazing; the concept, and full support from both nations is truly inspiring, and many other European countries have a lot to learn from this project.
We both hope that the Nordic Caravan will continue to grow each year, and that we can continue to be a part of it. Thank you to the EHF, the Swedish Land Hockey Association, and the Dansk Hockey Union for an amazing few days, and most of all, thanks to the kids! We hope to see you next year!
Jamie & Mateusz