National School Sports Week: Hockey Happy!

Posted on: 21 Jun 2023

Dimity Williams, Lower Sixth pupil at Wells Cathedral School, explains how her own personal experience and love of hockey has led to the creation of ‘Hockey Happy’, an event established for primary schools in the local area.

I play hockey for the school 1st XI, Bath Ladies 1st XI, and have taken part in many England hockey events such as the Futures Cup.

I came to Wells Cathedral Prep School in Year 5 from a primary school which was lovely but had no astro, so no hockey. It was my first games session at Wells that set me off on my hockey journey. I just fell in love with it! So I set up this project to help other children see if they might love it too.

The name ‘Hockey Happy’ (which has already been used in the United States) comes from the benefits you get from playing hockey, and actually, from any sport. The aim of the event was to introduce kids who would not otherwise have the chance to play hockey with free coaching sessions at the Wells Cathedral School astro.

I thought that, if I was lucky, we would find 10 or 20 local kids to come and try it out. I was wrong about that…

On Tuesday 25 April, we had 71 children aged eight and nine join us from three local primary schools. I had to split them into morning and afternoon slots so we had enough coaches! I was supported enormously by a large group of friends and by my brother, who all offered to help coach the sessions. Their enthusiasm was definitely the key to such a successful day.

When it came to planning the day, most of all I wanted it to be fun. So we had some music playing and added lots of dancing warm-ups/cool downs! Then the kids learned about ball skills and about the game too. I came up with five fun drills (such as ‘Hungry Hippos’ and ‘Skittles’) which all focused on developing crucial hockey skills. I tried to devise sessions that they would really enjoy so they would keep going. At the end of the session we gave everyone a free hockey ball, which they loved.

It was the support from the school that made the day work. They made the pitches, equipment and safeguarding staff available - and all the ground staff were incredibly helpful.

In the end, the day was a great success! Many of the children said how much they had loved it and that they hoped I would organise another event in the future. I hope that this will be possible, as myself and my team of coaches loved the experience, too. We would be delighted to put on another session in the future for other primary schools as well - so keep an eye out for the sequel: ‘Hockey Happy 2’!

Tom Webley, director of sport at Wells Cathedral School, said:

“Dimity hosted a fantastic day of hockey. The organisation of the event was flawless and I commend Dimity and her team of Sixth Form coaches for their enthusiasm and expertise in making it such an amazing experience for the primary school pupils. It’s a day they will remember and it was lovely to see the smiles on their faces as they left the astro!”

James Mayes, head of hockey at Wells Cathedral School, reflected:

"When Dimity approached the sports department with the Hockey Happy idea, we were delighted to do everything we could to support her and bring the event to fruition. I was so impressed with the way the pupils ran the sessions on the day; each and every one of them really stepped into the role of a hockey coach and represented the school to the highest standard. It was clear to see how much fun the children were having, and everyone should be very proud of the way they inspired the children to give their activities a go."

Luke Justin, head of sport at St Joseph's and St Teresa Primary School, commented:

“We had a fantastic opportunity to be invited to the Cathedral School on Tuesday for a hockey masterclass. The class entered the artificial turf for what was, for the most part, an unknown sport. We began the session with a dance warm-up to get the blood flowing. After being divided into teams, each group proceeded to learn the fundamentals of hockey. The sun kept shining along with the kids' joy for more than an hour of skills and small games. They had the most amazing time.”

About Dimity Williams

Dimity Williams is a Lower Sixth pupil at Wells Cathedral School.