Readers of my previous blogs will know that a couple of years ago I started playing hockey again, after a short break (of 20 years or so). I was roped into it by my sons when they moved up from the junior team to what’s known as the “Badgers” – an intermediate level between junior and senior hockey. Players are aged 11 to 16, but because the Badgers is all about developing the kids, a couple of adults can play in the side too. So I do. And I have to say, it’s loads of fun.
When I started playing, and helping out at training sessions, most of the previous year’s Badgers had moved up to senior level so we pretty much started again with a new, and quite a young, inexperienced side. In fact, some of the kids had never actually played in a proper match before, so we really were starting from scratch. And the first season’s results reflected this. We didn’t win a match all season and in a few games, against the better sides, we got what’s technically known as a “tatering”.
This season, however, it’s really started to come together. We’ve now gelled as a team and the results are starting to come. We’ve won quite a few games, even beating one of the stronger sides convincingly along the way. It’s fair to say that, after much hard work, we’re getting there.
Next season though, a few of the older lads will move up to the seniors, as two have done this year, and they’ll be replaced by less experienced, younger players. Which is absolutely fine and is what the Badgers is all about. But it means that we’ll have some hard work ahead of us again, at least for a while.
When you think about it, this isn’t a million miles away from the process of developing the capability of our incident management and business recovery teams. We start off with a new team, some of whom are more experienced than others and some of whom need more training than others. So we carry out the necessary training and we exercise and test. And then, just when we think we’ve cracked it, for whatever reason, some of the key players move on and we have to bring in new members. So the process of developing and gelling into an effective team starts all over again.
The point is, that this is an ongoing process, not something that we can do once and then forget about. So it needs some effort and it needs some commitment – from the team members themselves, and also from those co-ordinating activities. And the training and exercising has to be continuous if we want our team to be on top of their game.
So, back to the hockey. We’ll start again next season, bringing on the new players and integrating them into the team. But in the meantime we’re enjoying this season. And, as much as anything, I’m enjoying being the oldest junior player at the club!
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