Martin Komárek assesses the development camps

The traditional summer Camps of Talented Youth, the women's ball hockey camp, and the skills development camp were again successful. Talented hockey players worked hard together and had much fun. However, that's not all the head coach Martin Komárek talked about in the interview.

How satisfied are you with the players' performances at the individual camps this year?

I would be lying if I tried to claim that the sports level of all summer camps and the performances of individual players were at an extremely high level in 2022. The young generation is said to be unreliable and spoiled by social networks. It's not true. At the summer camps, I saw enormous enthusiasm across the categories, the joy of sports in general, and the desire to give the best of myself in the demanding summer temperatures. I am convinced that the young generation has the tremendous mental strength and promising potential, which must be worked artfully. Therefore, I rate the performance level of the U18 and U16 camp, or CRD in Litomyšl, as one of the highest during the last ten years.

The age range and performance in individual categories are different. How do you prepare individual training units to accommodate as many participants as possible?

One level is the division of the camps into several age categories. At these camps, the male and female players are then divided into two groups, which are once again divided into groups of four to six. With this principle, we can achieve not only an individual approach of the coaches, a sufficient number of repetitions, and a higher frequency of contact with the ball, but above all, the often apparent age differences are blunted and minimized. Of course, some players have their group from previous years at the camp. However, seeing and hearing a group of more experienced and younger players go together for lunch or dinner is not unusual.

It is certainly not easy to organize an event of this format. How many people are involved in the preparation of the event? How far in advance is everything planned?

Camp is a big undertaking for multiple dates, and the preparation of such an event begins immediately after the end of the last year. 4-5 people are involved in equipment, materials, and catering planning and logistics. The team is made up of 12 to 13 people in the place. A great advantage is the immeasurable experience of the past years, many processes have their own pace, and the dedication and diligence of the coaching team cannot be neglected either. This year's observations of foreign participants are that they consider the camp to be professionally organized from A to Z.

The coaches deserve much praise. It is certainly no secret that every year there is a positive mood among the camp coaches. How satisfied are you with the team?

The upbeat mood among the coaches and organizers is the basis of the project. It is nice to see how the atmosphere of growth is transferred to the players, who quickly sense this. I can only take my hat off to the coaches of the summer camps and say words of great praise. Working with children for a week under pressure from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., preparing training sessions, and conducting them at a very high level is a significant burden. Of course, this includes partial organization, solutions for snacks and drinking regime, and countless minor points that always appear very unexpectedly.

On the other hand, it is very inspiring to see young coaches preparing training content together and opposing each other. It is not unusual that trainers often test the range of fitness training on themselves. I would like to add to the conclusion that a large part of the implementation team still goes for a run in the evening or the morning and actively exercises. In that case, it is impossible to look at everything in one's head with amazement. Without a team of coaches, CTM, CRD, and HCŽ could never be what they are. That is a project enjoying enormous interest among young people.

Can the participants again look forward to facilities in Česká Třebová and Litomyšl, or are you planning to look for another destination for holding camps?

Both venues offer a perfect symbiosis of a high-quality sports venue and facilities with a nearby boarding school suitable for accommodation and meals. These proven sites are also ready for camps in 2023. At the moment, camp dates and organizational capacities for 2023 have already been reserved and preparations for the new year are starting

This year, several new faces appeared at all camps. But, will the coaching staff remain similar to this year?

The personnel component of the camp is essential. We try to supplement the team with new trainers, pedagogues, active trainers, or university students every year. One of the directions in the composition of the implementation team is the involvement of players who used to be active participants in the event. This is a direction that has proven itself very well. We want to follow this path in the future as well. Of course, suppose CTM is an attractive and motivating element for anyone. In that case, we are not opposed to a personal discussion regarding the composition of the organizational team. Here, too, I see a strong motive: if young people are given direction and motivation, and the camp's values are explained to them, then it bears its sweet fruits.

It is undoubtedly clear that if nothing changes, all camps will continue next year. However, are you preparing something new, e.g., will the camp be longer? Can the players once again count on the international character of the event?

Based on the highly positive responses, we would like to work on a gradual and reasonable expansion of this international line of action for both the girls' camp and the U18 and U16 camps. Every year we try to innovate training equipment as well as food supplements. The issue and theme of expanding the event to include a selection camp for older players with a strong emphasis on involving juniors in the men's category or consideration of another camp in the U18 and U16 categories. Both of these ideas we are developing need to be implemented in the context of the gradual expansion of the implementation team.

In conclusion, let me wish the idea of CTM many more years and countless happy players and their parents. I believe that the concept of CTM is still alive and represents an improvement in ball hockey or working with talented players. It also includes a social level in building friendships and social bonds among people from different corners of the Czech Republic.

Camp of Talented Youth from the British players' point of view

This year's novelty of all Camps of Talented Youth was the establishment of international cooperation. A group of girls from Great Britain arrived at the women's hockey ball camp together with three coaches.

At the end of HCŽ, we asked two players from Great Britain what the stay was like for them. One of them was goalkeeper Teagan and player Linaia. Both evaluate the project very positively. Read more in the interview below.

It was your first year here at IDC, and I would like to know how you got here. Was the application open to all players, or did the coach choose the players?

Well, it was an open trial, and in total, there were three trials, and based on the performance, the coaching staff decided who would get out here. So there were about 30 players in the trials and only 15 places.

I have heard that most of the GB ball hockey players are active hockey players. Is it true?

Yes, it is true. However, most players find their way to ball hockey thanks to ice hockey, which is up to them. Some of them play ice hockey as a primary sport and play ball hockey only on the side, and some of them have ball hockey as a primary sport.

Let’s talk about the IDC. What do you think about the training here?

I think it was great! Plenty of skill drills tested many of our abilities I can use when I return to the UK.

There was also special training only for goalkeepers, are you used to this kind of training or was it something new for you?

There were a lot of new things for me. For example, I had never done the tennis ball machine before, and we focused on some minor details that I had never thought about, so that was helpful for me.

What do you think about the overall concept of this camp?

I think it is brilliant. Hopefully, in the future, it will be a huge step forward for us, for ball hockey. Hopefully, there will also be Slovakia next year. It creates an environment where people from different countries can share their knowledge and experience.

How was it in the last two days when we mixed you with the Czech girls and worked together?

The Czech girls are lovely we spent a few evenings together playing football and today we played the mixed tournament, it was a great experience.

What would it be if you could point out one thing from the event?

For me, it would be the variety of the training. It was not only shooting but also passing and maneuvering with the ball. It was many things that you did not necessarily think you needed during the game, but you do, and I think that is something that it is something that we will also bring back to our game back home.

For me, I think the goalie session and having a goalie coach as well helped me a lot because I am pretty new to ball hockey, I was able to focus on the skills and broader my ability, and it has been beneficial for me because, as I said there had been many things I have never worked on before, that was something delightful as well.

All the drills and exercises were explained in Czech and then in English, and the coaches were also Czech, was that a problem for you?

No, I think it was okay. The coaches explained the exercise and then showed us, so there was no problem. Even through action, they were able to pick it up. There was a variety of progression from beginner to more advanced exercises that helped us to develop and get stronger.

I have one last question for you. Will we see you here also in the next year?

I hope so! It was a great experience and would be a significant step forward.