University of Johannesburg students Cheneal Raubenheimer and Isabella da Rocha received some invaluable game time at a high level when they attended a national indoor hockey training camp in KwaZulu-Natal this month where they finished second overall.
The camp, which took the form of a round-robin tournament, acted as a selection event for the Indoor Hockey World Cup qualifier in Namibia in June and focused largely on exposing the players to as much time on the field as possible.
Despite neither being new to national selection, both girls felt that the camp had much to offer and they walked away having gained insight into both the game and themselves.
“The camp was definitely a success for me,” said 23-year-old defender Da Rocha. “It was rather tough as we played seven games in three days but I learnt a lot through the whole process.”
She said each game offered her a chance to observe how the team functioned as a unit.
“Every time I go to camp I learn more about the structure of the team and how we should be attacking and defending in different circumstances.”
Currently studying towards a higher certificate in business management, Da Rocha explained that indoor hockey was a technical sport that required constant fine-tuning of one’s skills.
She said the guidance she received from coaching staff at the training camp helped her develop as a player.
“Our coach Lennie Botha was really helpful in guiding me when I made mistakes on the field. He helped me understand what I should be doing instead.
“This really helped me grow as a player and, at this moment, become a better defender.”
Da Rocha said her focus was now squarely on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup in July in England.
Raubenheimer, a third-year retail and business management student who represented the Proteas in 2014 at field hockey, is relatively new to the indoor hockey scene and had some adjusting to do when it came to the pace of the game.
“It is much faster than field hockey, so you always have to be aware of what’s going on around you. I keep learning new things, whether technically, tactically or even about myself.”
The forward did not want to look too far ahead and said her immediate focus was on the Varsity Hockey tournament in May.
“It is the first tournament on my list and I want to put all my energy in to that.”