18th April 2016, Brussels: The EHF and KNHB are delighted to announce that as part of the EHF-KNHB Development Programme the twinning projects are now up and running.

For the EHF President, Marijke Fleuren this twinning project is a “kind of a dream achieved.” And for the KNHB President Erik Cornelissen “we want to contribute to hockey as a world sport by sharing knowledge.”

Strong words from two Presidents who have been the frontline supporters of the ambitious Twinning Project that will see 9 European Hockey Member Associations linked with 8 Dutch Clubs.

In the run up to the EuroHockey Championship in Amsterdam in August 2017, the KNHB and EHF have joined forces to support hockey development in the (smaller) European hockey Nations.

The EHF-KNHB Development programme consists of 4 programmes:

1) Sharing knowledge/resources

2) ParaHockey

3) Youth Leadership

4) Twinnings

Today we focus on the Twinning Programme that connects Dutch clubs with a number of European hockey nations.

They will cooperate in the areas of coaching, umpiring, officials, youth- and/or club development and event management.

The aim is to strengthen each other through sharing and exchange of knowledge and experiences. The hockey family in action!

9 EHF Member Associations have been linked to 8 Dutch clubs:

– Poland – SV Kampong

– Austria – MHC Oranje Zwart

– Czech Rep – HOD

– Croatia – MHC Oosterbeek

– Bulgaria – HC Athena

– Switzerland – MHC OSS

– Portugal – Venlose HC

– Lithuania & Belarus – BHV Push

The President of the EHF, Marijke Fleuren said “For me the twinning project is a kind of a dream that comes true. I believe in sharing knowledge and learning from each other. I have visited so many clubs all over Europe and listened to their needs and challenges. I am sure that shared views and ideas from the one can mean a world of difference for the other. I sincerely thank the KNHB clubs for opening their doors and welcoming European Hockey Federation Member Associations to come in. It will be a lifetime experience not only for the European countries but indeed for the Dutch clubs. Legacy! And the Hockey Family working together for a better future for our sport.”

The President of the KNHB Erik Cornelissen said “The twinning project perfectly supports two of our strategic pillars: we want to contribute to hockey as a world sport by sharing knowledge and we want to leave a positive impact in society.”

The first two twinning projects that are up and running reported the following activity to date:

Push-Belarus/Lithuania:

On March 30th Push, Belarus and Lithuania officially launched their two-year twinning program. Minsk women’s team came by bus to Breda for a training camp and a match against Push. The Lithuanian coaches shadowed Herman Kruis (Push & FIH coach) and talked with members of the club to expand their knowledge in the area of coaching, umpiring, marketing, etc.

In May Push coach Herman Kruis and EHF Development Manager Norman Hughes will conduct a coaching course for Belarusian and Lithuanian coaches in Minsk, Belarus. Belarus boys and girls U18 will be in Minsk to practice. Also Lithuania girls U18 have been invited to play matches, so the coaches can analyse their performance. In July a visit to Push in Breda has been planned for Belarusian and Lithuanian teams and a month later Push coaches will visit Lithuania to share knowledge.

VHC Venlo /Portugal:

Mario Almeida (Technical Director Portuguese Hockey Federation), Madalena Vilar (coach) and Vasco Ribeiro (coach) have visited Venlo from March 25 to 27 during their Top Sport Weekend. Vasco and Madelena, two young Portuguese trainers, assisted with a training session of Venlo U14 and U16. Venlo’s coaches shared knowledge on training methodology and exercises, but also on how to approach relatively ‘young’ teams.

On Friday Venlo gave a presentation about video analysis. On Saturday there was a workshop on the high performance sporter and on how to train tactics and techniques. Mario Almeida gave a presentation about Portuguese hockey, which made a big impression to all as not many realized the challenges hockey in Portugal faces. Both VHC Venlo and the Portuguese Hockey Federation stated that the Top Sport Weekend was a very successful ‘Kick Off’ to their twinning program!

The other twinning partners are in the process of putting their action plans together.

Pictured: The delegation from Push Hockey club with their colleagues from Lithuania and Belarus, Herman Kruis (EHF) and Gabrielle van Doorn (KNHB), along with the Mayor of Breda and the Ambassador of Belarus (based in the Hague).