Waikato Hockey players on a win with new Wintec partnership

Waikato hockey players are on a win with new Wintec partnership

Winter sport is in full swing and a partnership between Wintec and Waikato Hockey Association (WHA) is creating new opportunities for Waikato hockey players and sport science students.

The players are gaining from training opportunities that go beyond physical training to understanding the science of sport, age-related training and injury prevention.  

Waikato Hockey Association Development Manager, Reiner Vellinga says hockey is going from strength to strength in the mighty Waikato after a late start to the season due to Covid-19 restrictions.

 “We have seen a huge return to the hockey fields after Covid-19 lockdown and we’re experiencing growth across a number of our competitions. This year there are over 400 male and female Under 18 players.

“Our WHA teams are now playing in New Zealand’s top tournaments and we’ve had leading players return to the Waikato”

Vellinga is working with Wintec Sport Science and Human Performance academic Frans Van der Merwe to maximise opportunities for players.

The two have revised an established partnership with Midlands Hockey, now merged into Waikato Hockey Association (WHA) to ensure players can access Wintec’s sport facilities and the expertise from tutors and students.

Vellinga says it was a no-brainer to try and establish a similar relationship between WHA and Wintec so that hockey players get top level training opportunities to help them succeed.

“Our players have a one-stop space to train away from the hockey field at Wintec’s Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance. The Under 18 and senior athletes are getting strength and conditioning programming and taking part in workshops to explain some of the science behind becoming a performance athlete.”

He adds that the players can include the knowledge gained to better resource the WHA development and performance programmes.

“Without this partnership, our athletes would have to resource this sport science knowledge elsewhere. The partnership with Wintec is strengthening our training offer, making it a lot more diverse and holistic.”

Van der Merwe says WHA provides good placement and research opportunities for Wintec Sport Science and Human Performance students.

“This experience allows Wintec students to showcase, test and further develop their theoretical knowledge by working directly with a wide range of athletes. WHA players will gain from scientific and age-specific training support focused on the overall athletic development and injury prevention.”

Vellinga says the partnership will also benefit younger Waikato hockey players coming up through the ranks.

“The knowhow and experience we are adding to our training programmes via Wintec is beneficial to all our players.  As new learning becomes part of our programmes it will be syphoned through the age groups to reach the Under 13 and Under 15 players.”