A series of online events designed to help FIH fulfil its mission to support National Associations is the latest online offering from FIH Academy as the international federation continues to innovate in the face of the challenges posed by Covid-19.
The FIH Academy NA Development Series takes the form of webinars, workshops, courses, key-notes or discussions, the provision for National Associations will be developed depending on the nature of the topic or the message that is being conveyed.
Andre Oliveira, Sport and Development Manager at FIH, explains further. “If it is around a topic such as facilities, then it will be a workshop, presented by an expert such as Alastair Cox (FIH Facilities and Quality Programme Manager). If it was a talk, such as chief executive Thierry Weil discussing future strategy with the National Associations, then it is more of a presentation or keynote.”
While many of the webinars will be presented by FIH staff, there will also be invited expert guests, both from the Continental Federations and National Associations, and also external speakers. In many ways, these talks will be similar in style to the ever-popular Ted Talks, with expert and influential speakers honing in on a specialist area.
The travel and social distancing restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19 had seemed to present some insurmountable problems when it came to development and education courses, but, in fact, what has emerged is a more time and cost effective and inclusive way of doing things.
“We have now found a very practical way of communicating ideas to the national associations,” says Oliveira. “This is us saying ‘We have found a way to get better at doing things’. We were already doing this (online communication) in a much more random way but now we are looking at doing this regularly and in a planned way. Once we realised the power of online communication tools, we knew we could do a lot of things that we originally thought we could only do face-to-face.”
Streaming the webinars online also allows the information to be shared more widely. While the webinars are aimed at specific audiences – National Associations who are hosting forthcoming events, for example – in fact, other National Associations, with aspirations to host events in the future, can also tap into the information.
Oliveira uses the example of a webinar on ‘Spectator Experience’. “It might seem to only be relevant to the FIH Hockey Pro League, but if an NA is looking to host an international event in the future, then they can capture some of the ideas. Or an NA that is thinking about promoting hockey in their country can use some of these ideas as well.”
Initially the online events will focus on each of the functional areas of the NAs – events, facilities, marketing, governance, policies, communications and so on. The FIH Academy team of Oliveira and Mike Joyce are already considering other ways the communication tool can be utilised to increase the effectiveness among National Associations when it comes to hockey delivery.
“The aim is to build expertise, knowledge and capacity among the National Associations and for them to then cascade that knowledge within their own nations,” says Joyce. “We were already doing some of these activities within our programme but the need to find a solution has speeded up the process and given us an opportunity to engage even more with the National Association communities.”
FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra “At the 46th FIH Congress I promised that we would continue to work tirelessly to develop and expand hockey globally. At a time and under conditions when many would have thought that an impossible task, we have searched for, and found, technological solutions in an innovative and practical way. This has enabled us to enhance our support and develop our partnership with all the National Associations within our global hockey community.”