SAFEGUARDING KIDS /YOUNG PLAYERS (SUB 18) RESPONSIBLE HOCKEY PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES.

Posted in marketing field hockey, Photography Tips on June 19th, 2012 by John Coxon

YOUNG PLAYERS (SUB 18) RESPONSIBLE HOCKEY PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES.

It is wise precaution not to allow images on line where individual youngsters can be identified. (click to enlarge)

Does your club or organisation have a sound, written  policy in place for the conditions under which photographs and recorded images can be taken of youngsters and do you ensure that is rigorously observed? It appears to me that few do not and it is a matter, in my view which must be observed.

With ever cheaper, easy to use  imaging devices ( compact digital still and video and phone cameras for example) on the market most people now have the ability to take pictures in virtually any context and also the widespread ownership of various computing devices with internet access, coupled to the explosion in membership and active participation on social media like Facebook and Twitter it is possible now to take and then share images not only with friends and family but for any images potentially to be viewed by millions. Clubs have a duty of care to ensure that any use of imaging devices is controlled responsibly and carefully monitored.

I rarely cover junior events but where I do,  it is at clubs and events where universal parental consent has been given but also , whilst I always share senior game images on line via my website or business face books, I ensure no junior images are ever made publicly available to view and generally given in digital form to responsible officers of that club with complete control over how and where they are used.

There are very sound social, emotional , educational, motivational and personal reasons for recording kids in images where they are engaged in hockey games and other activities associated with club membership , and for example  celebrating and documenting development and achievements at various stages of their sporting lives. Photography can be a training tool but also one of the key ways of promoting the game.  Very few clubs engage professionals, (who would normally  be bona fide and very mindful of child protection issues and the laws governing for example privacy) on the grounds of costs.  Whilst photography by parents and spectators  should never be discouraged, in my view it is absolutely essential that clubs and hockey event organisers bear in mind their duty of care to juniors and have in place and always abide by  an agreed  policy to ensure responsible photography at all times.

I am a seasoned professional photographer and have covered field hockey for over a decade. I am also a retired specialist educator with 26 years experience working with often very vulnerable inner city kids with special needs and thus take duty of care very seriously.  Since retirement ,  I no longer work closely in either an educational or social care context with youngsters ( the two contexts where CRB  clearance is mandatory) and in fact there is no requirement for me, professionally,  to hold and carry CRB documentation but I have voluntarily acquired it  ( from the sport’s governing body) and carry it with me , (in fact have it on show ) when I photograph events where juniors are in attendance. (I also normally wear a high viz vest which identifies me clearly as a photographer.)

I habiitually wear evidence of CRB disclosure on a lanyard during most events i cover even though in law their is no obligation to either have it or display it when not working closely with youngsters in specific contexts.

It is so easy to snipe at  those who want to insist that photography involving kids is done with controls in place – along sensible and responsible guidelines, as being “over the top” and too “PC” but that would be to dismiss what are genuine risks to children particularly vulnerable where images are shared on line. ( For England Hockey special care in controls over photography is required for all juniors which they define as anyone under the age of 18 years ) Bear  in mind that it is relatively easy for a determined person with sinister intent to be able to identify locations and individuals and thereafter , in some cases , make contact via the internet . This is made more likely  where little or no control over photography is exercised at clubs and other venues. In addition ,  does , for example , your club allow juniors  to have surnames and nicknames printed or embroidered  on the back of their team shirts? Most responsible clubs understand that this custom places kids at greater risk because it makes them easily identifiable to strangers and I hold the strong view that it should not be permitted.

I have no professional association with England Hockey nor have I worked officially in any context for them but i am a huge fan of the game, happy to do what i can professionally at all levels of the game to help support and promote the game and its community . I wear this badge with pride.

You can read the excellent guidelines in respect of hockey photography,( which actually apply in so many other contexts ) published by the England Hockey / EHB here.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND RECORDED IMAGES OF YOUNG PEOPLE GUIDELINES

From time to time I may need to show a client samples of images from junior events and occasions on my business Facebook before sending them the originals and as a precaution use Photoshop to pixelate out the faces of youngsters so they cannot be identified even where parental consent has been given.

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Olympic Hockey Preview London 2012

Posted in Olympics 2012 on June 17th, 2012 by John Coxon

prolific striker Sylvia Karres celebrates in style after the Dutch move ahead on the way to victory over the Australians during the final of the Samsung World Cup , Madrid 2006.

I haven’t seen or photographed Australia’s women “Hockeyroos” playing the Dutch since way back in 2006, Madrid during the Samsung World Cup final at Club de Campo. That was of course not just a test match but was a far more thrilling, tougher game with better matched “more stable” teams. The more recent clash here in London again resulted with another win for the ladies in orange. Even though this was a “just” a pre-olympic test tournament with both new coaches still testing different variations of players and strategies and developing their squads , both countries have a winning mentality, are fiercely competitive and are under pressure from an expectant public and press at home who have come to expect gold but this time perhaps a wider gap in seasoned class was in evidence. Somehow this result was perhaps more predictable than that notable and tense final of the Samsung World Cup 2006, my first ever international tournament professionally. Both teams at the London Cup had the feel of a work in progress here at the Quintin Hogg with I am sure more to come when it really matters. Max Caldas, back in Madrid 2006 was assistant coach to Lammers, (and also coach of Amsterdam ) has perhaps more than most top national coaches, a pretty big headache in terms of Olympic selection with a pre-selection elite of great strength and quality in depth.

 

In comparison , in terms of preparations for London ,and looking good for GB with the real prospect of Olympic glory, Danny Kerry , perhaps more than any of the other top six coaches, has a much more stable, seasoned squad with fewer continuity issues and only recent injuries to key players a possible threat to the best Olympic outcome ever for a GB women’s squad. In 2006 in Madrid ,playing as England, our squad could perhaps only dream of a placing in that World Cup but since then, with the adoption of the central programme a far more professional and demanding approach set a much higher standard which sees the entire squad living and training in close proximity and has led to unprecedented success and a habit of winning with style and pace mind set.  Geography and other demographics have always impacted on national team success because of travel demands on players at home and the relative money and emotional costs of what remains an essentially amateur sport.  Above all, with the standard of international play ever rising , the ability to train regularly and ever more frequently together as a national team, (dovetailing in with club duties) has become essential.  You wonder if it is ever really appreciated just how very demanding on individual players international team duties really are now and that must be especially acute in vast countries like Australia and South Africa and you would think less acute particularly in a more compact Europe.

It appears now , following comments after the London Cup, despite a 5th placed finish in the tournament , both the Dutch and Australian coaches acknowledge that GB are the act to beat in London when it really matters and of course with that squad back to full strength where for example injury hit key players Alex Danson , Crista Cullen and Helen Richardson were rested during the London Cup the prospects are better than they have ever been.

Alex Danson celebrates a goal in one of the two convincing victories over former world champions Argentina at May’s London invitational.

 

As ever all top teams are essentially a work in progress and for example a few teams like New Zealand and to some extent Argentina have had to do a major rebuild through for example retirements of very experienced players. Because of the increasing demands which the modern game places on players as the bar is raised further and further it takes time to build the most effective force and integrate new talent. In the end there are rarely any major surprises at key events and this Olympics is no exception. Whoever takes gold will  be the team that peaks when it matters and is best prepared; who has done the most effective work over a number of years. GB ladies have done their groundwork with unstinting determination and resolve over the last four or more years working day in day out as a unit with evident relish. The fact that just recently the team actually asked for an even tougher challenge and put themselves through a gruelling military boot camp speaks volumes for their mental toughness and desire.

 

Back in 2006 then the orange team had a core of Dutch “golden girls” and seemed unbeatable but by 2010 , at the Champions Trophy they appeared to crumble in the final with Argentina dominant and again at the Rosario World Cup they came home with the “wrong” colour medal. Pessimists at home were foolishly lamenting the passing of the “golden era” with notable retirements of a number of experienced internationals.Yes “gone” for example were greats like Sylvia Karres ( leading scorer in 2006 and now, with Kim Lammers, jointly engaged in high level perfornmance hockey coaching and mentoring initiative Sportsboost) , Jannekke Schopman ( now senior coach at SCHC) and Miek Van Geenhuisen ( now senior coach at HDM), Minke Booij ( Captain and World FIH Player of the year 2006 and now coach, mentor and inspirational speaker) but of course not gone because they are almost all using their talent and experience to feed back into the Dutch game at all levels. (The mighty Fatima Moreira de Melo is pursuing an alternative career away from the game as a successful international professional poker champion!)

Naomi Van As in attacking solo run at the recent London Cup final, a convincing victory over Australia and “veteran” of the winning 2006 world cup squad.

In the squad in this London Cup final we still have “veterans” from 2006 carrying the baton ( and you would presume they are certainties to make the final cut for the Olympics), for example Maartje Paumen ( now captain and undisputed best in the world short corner drag flick converter) Naomi van As, Sophie Polkamp and Ellen Hoog along with Kim Lammers in the wings with the remarkable Floortje Engels sharing goal keeping duties with Joyce Sombroek. The great, top ranked teams both have a competitive international pedigree over a number of years with competitive home leagues providing an ongoing talent pool and need and have a core of experienced internationals who provide stability, support and inspiration for emerging younger players who will later develop into greats. A team is always in development , a synthesis of long proven and emerging talent, the one needing the other.

Alex Danson was injured in the invitational final after an impressive tournament and played no part in the London Cup but is fit for the Olympics and will be a force to be reckoned with.

Test events such as the London Cup , the London Pre- Olympic invitational at the Riverbank (which saw a full strength GB put down its marker for a podium finish with two convincing wins against the former world champions Argentina ) and various four nation events in the various continents are a vital part of the ongoing business of improving match performance. They provide vital real time competition as a bench mark enabling coaches and teams to self-assess against opposition of often disparate class. The goal of coaches is to use such events as an indicator with the eye always on the big three world events – the World Cup, the Champions Trophy and the biggy the Olympics . Even though national pride and expectation is always in evidence in many ways test tours and four nation tournaments are a kind of super training for the bigger events and we should not read too much into them in terms of making predictions about possible outcomes at any of the three major world events.

 

As the Olympics draw ever nearer , even though I perhaps shouldn’t risk predictions, with home advantage and the full squad it would be a shock if GB did not medal and , if all goes to plan I’d expect them to be in the final and very possibly taking gold but who are the likely rivals? For coach Carlos Retegui and his mighty Las Leonas (with the world’s greatest player Aymar in probably her last international) Olympic gold is the only honour missing in the cabinet. At the top of the world rankings the difference between a win and a loss hinges on who takes the few opportunities that arise and you’d expect the top teams to come out of the blocks running and maintain attacking pressure throughout the game- bringing their best game to every match- a huge ask. And it is going to be intense for players and tense for fans watching as it all unfolds.

Luciana Aymar will grace the Olympics in probably her last international for Argentina. Gone are keeper Belen Succi , through pregnancy and also the greatly talented and multi-capped Sole Garcia summarily dropped from the squad apparently permanently. Her loss may be a factor in the Olympic success or failure of the current squad.

Were I to stick my neck out , my heart says a final between Argentina and GB but my head says GB versus the Dutch and if that is how it pans out, it may well be the sternest test the GB girls have ever faced and it will take their A game as a team to win it. In terms of goals in open play you’d expect an even contest (with I’d say GB a slight edge as such a tight unit these days so used to playing together) but it may well hinge in the end ,on the lottery of short corners. In that event the Dutch captain Maartje Paumen is a huge threat with her now legendary , lethal drag flick but equally Beth Storry is probably the most effective keeper on the world stage right now.

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