|Sally Munday- CEO, England Hockey|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 16 November 2012 14:20
Sally Munday is the Chief Executive Officer of England Hockey.
Sally has been working in hockey since 1998 and after five years as Regional Development Manager in the South, she moved into the Development Director role in 2003 when England Hockey began as the National Governing Body.
In addition to her role as England Hockey Chief Executive, she is the Chief Operating Officer of Great Britain Hockey.
As well as a social player, Sally is also a keen Team Manager, having managed England, Great Britain, Slough, Berkshire and South Juniors.
In addition, Sally previously worked for the Lawn Tennis Association and has also worked in local authority leisure facility management.
Hockey was the most watched team sport at the Olympics, just how big of an opportunity does that provide? Has it sparked an increase in popularity for hockey in this country?
It’s been fantastic for us. We knew it would be, being the most followed Olympic team sport that was there and the third biggest sport in terms of ticket numbers. We’ve really used that to get people involved.
We did a lot of planning in the four years leading up to the Olympics to maximise the opportunity of the Games and ran a number of campaigns to use the increased profile for hockey to get more people playing the sport.
We gave the opportunity for people to actually play at the Olympic Park, right outside the hockey pitches and we had over 30,000 people pick up a stick during that time. We ran a programme called ‘Give it a go’, which was for five weeks, starting at the beginning of the Games and running all throughout the summer, and we had almost 23,000 people take part.
We’re still collating the figures of club affiliation and participation, but the early indications are really positive. We’ve seen a massive response from people, who have seen the sport, been inspired by it and want to give it a go, whether it’s kids or adults.
Did the horrible economic climate affect you at all?
You can certainly tell that in the last eighteen months people are tightening their belts. I know that a lot of our affiliated clubs were talking about higher costs of things, but it doesn’t seem to have had a significant impact on participation, which is still as healthy as ever. What we’re tending to see is people not playing quite as frequently as they did in the casual version of the sport.
Hockey is often seen as an elitist sport, what have England hockey done to make the sport more accessible?
Yeah, I think it’s a bit of a misnomer about it being an elitist sport. We know that there is that perception very much exists amongst much of the British public, but it is really accessible. We’ve been doing quite a lot of work to make sure that the sport really is accessible and certainly looking at our participation statistics. We think we’re having some real impact there.
Our clubs are very opening and welcoming to people and a lot offer free training for people, who just want to turn up and have a go before they get into it. They’re not expected to pay a massive club affiliation fee before even getting a chance to start, like you have in other sports.
We have also introduced a number of different versions of playing the game; Rush Hockey, back to hockey, which is a pay-and-play version of the sport, which allows people to pick and choose when they want to play and just pay when they turn up.
What’s your grassroots strategy for getting more children playing? How closely do you work with clubs around the country?
Really closely. We have a Club-School Link programme and a Club Accreditation programme for clubs to almost get a “kite mark” to demonstrate that they’re safe, affective and child friendly. We have a team of staff that work directly with clubs to link in with local schools and other community providers to make sure that there are opportunities for young people, who get introduced to it in schools and then make the transition into adult hockey.
At grassroots, our aspirations and our targets and our programmes aren’t just about young people. A big part of it is about young people, but we’re also looking at different ways adults can play the game. The way our society is evolving, not everybody wants to make the commitment at being able to play every weekend at a certain time. What we’re seeing from people is that they want the opportunity to play more casually, like going to the gym or going aerobics and we’ve developed products and services to really drive participation in the informal part of the game, as well as people playing more formally in the club environment.