Women’s Development Camp

The IIHA held its first ever Women’s Development Camp last Sunday and it was a fantastic success. The IIHA had been planning this camp for several weeks and this was evident in how prepared the coaching staff and instructors were on the day. The IIHA’s Women’s Development Officer, Ashley Moore, oversaw the camp while the Head Coach, Vytautas Lukosevicious, and Assistant Coach, Sean Gibson, of the Women’s National Team were both present for the entire day as instructors. In addition to this, both Seanna Conway and Dean Kelly were there for the entire day as instructors. All 5 were at the Dundalk Ice Dome at 7:00 a.m. in order to get everything ready for the camp.

As the players started to arrive at the Dundalk Ice Dome at around 7:00 a.m. they were greeted by Ashley and Seanna who registered all of the players and insured that all paperwork was in order. Meanwhile, Vytautas, Sean and Dean got the Jerseys in order and numbered them. The DkIT Ravens were very generous in providing the camp with the extra jerseys that were needed. By 8:45 a.m. everything was in order and ready to go so the 4 instructors got themselves ready to get on the ice. The players were all set to go and at around 8:50 a.m. the instructors gave the players an introduction and explained to them what was going to happen on the day and the players were all eager to get on the ice.

Once the players got on the ice, Sean put all of them through their paces as they warmed up. Some hard skating followed by some stretching was needed to insure that the players were ready for the rest of their 3 hours stint on the ice. Once they had finished their warm up, the players were split into 2 groups at either end of the ice. Vytautas took one group at one end while Sean and Dean took the other group at the other end of the rink. For the first half hour, skating was the agenda with Vytautas concentrating on edge work while Sean and Dean worked on stopping and tight turning. The instructors worked with each group for 15 minutes so all of the players did all of the drills on offer and were not left standing around.

After this first half an hour, the players got some water and then returned to their respective groups and did some more drills. The drills this time were more puck orientated with Vytautas working on some game situation drills while Sean and Dean worked on the basic drills of passing and shooting. Throughout this time, Seanna worked with the lone goalkeeper at the camp. Rebekah Burke of the Kilkenny City Storm got some invaluable tuition form Seanna as they worked non-stop for an hour on goalkeeper training and evaluation. After an hour and 15 minutes of hard skating and hard work, the players got a 15 minute break as the ice was resurfaced.

Following the break, the players were to take part in various different skills tests. Six different stations were set up to test the players in areas such as skating, stickhandling, passing and shooting. Ashley even helped out with this exercise in order to provide an extra pair of hands and it was greatly appreciated. The players did this for about an hour and finished off their on-ice training with a scrimmage which all of the players were eager for and it was extremely fast paced. During all of this, Seanna worked again with Rebekah Burke on some skating, position, recovery, rebound control, conditioning, puck handling and game situations. After this the players all received a well deserved lunch break.

After lunch, the instructors and players all met for some off-ice training. Sean started them off with another warm up and put the players through their paces again and insured that nobody was cold! After this, Vytautas worked on some stickhandling drills followed by some passing and shooting drills. After that, all of the players and instructors took part in a game of ball hockey. This was great as it finished off a hard day’s work with some fun. All in all, the camp was a great success and all the players can be extremely proud of their hard work as vast improvements could be seen in their abilities. For Ashley and her instructors, they can be extremely proud of a very well run camp.

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