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Richard Pentecost

This week on Hosting Hockey, Adele chats to Richard Pentecost. Richard coached at MHA from 2011 to 2018 as well as coaching the Rovers Ladies 1st team from 2016 to 2019. He played for KZN Coastals from grade 5 to 12, winning gold in grade 12. He represented the KZN Mynahs for 10 years. Richard is also a qualified teacher and he is currently working at Umhlali Preparatory School. Richard is well known in the KZN hockey community whether he is playing, umpiring, coaching or being the MC for hockey events.

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Adele: Who are you currently playing for here in Durban?

Richard: Crusaders 

Adele: Who are you currently coaching? 

Richard: Umhlali Preparatory 

Adele: What level coaching accreditation do you have?

Richard: Level 2 (I did mine in England when I was a gap student)

Adele: What has been your career highlight so far?

Richard: Winning u18 Boys IPT after losing first game 6-0 and only having 4 trainings. Wade Paton being the coach.

Adele: Top sporting hero?

Richard: Odwa Ndungane. For me just like Hockey basics is the most important skill to have in sport and when I watched rugby at Kings Park every Saturday Odwa was always an unsung hero. He did not have an x factor but wow he never missed a tackle he hardly knocked the ball on and was always the first player to be jumping on any team mates back when they scored a try. Another reason why I enjoyed watching him is he always gave 100% on the field, never complained and just did what was expected of him.

Adele: Finest player that you have coached?

Richard: For me coaching 13-year olds and younger there never is a standout super star as at this age they are still learning what the game of hockey is all about. When I started at Madsen in 2011 I was given a Junior primary group to coach. I remember having Cerian Fourie ( I think only a year later did I actually learn how to pronounce her name as I kept saying Serean) and Dani de Olivera ( Never forgot always loved her matching Grays hockey gear) in my group. These two had loads of talent and potential. I was lucky enough to coach them at Madsen till they were 13 and now to see how their hockey has flourished is an amazing feeling. Both being only 17 and making the SA indoor squad and then thinking back, pretty cool when they were 11 you got to coach them. Best part though, is I never remembered them ever being serious, they just had so much fun at the academy sessions and for me this is why children need to be a part of Madsen hockey.

Adele: Finest player that you admire in World Hockey?

Richard: Barry Middleton Probably most people would not know him, but wow did he do the basics. I always just loved nearly every goal England scored he either initiated the turnover or the assist. Also, the first hockey player to be knighted by the queen. 

Adele: What/Who got you in to hockey?

Richard: Dad and sisters

Adele: Best piece of advice that you can give.

Richard: Miss 100% of the shots you do not take.

Adele: How do you think the lockdown due to the Covid 19 virus will impact the school’s hockey league this season?

Richard: Being involved at primary school level the u12 players experience playing 11 a side hockey for the first time so them missing a whole year of hockey will be a big backwards step for them. I think the level of U13 Hockey next year will be very weak. 

Adele: What impact do you think the lockdown and the virus will have on World Hockey?

Richard: I do not think too much as most of the European leagues are in winter so there is a chance, they may miss nothing. 

Adele: Share an unknown fact about yourself.

Richard: I am the finest keeper warmer upper before a game, only if I can miss my teams warm up

Adele: You have also umpired at a high level. Tell us about your umpiring accreditation and experience.

Richard: I have a level 2,5, once again got it in England. People who knew me when I was at school, I was that one player who always got carded for chirping the umpire. So, after school I said to myself let me umpire and prove that it cannot be that hard and wow was I wrong. I wish I could go back and apologies to all the umpires who umpired me. Umpiring has helped my coaching as I am able to teach kids the correct rules and have learned some tactics to manipulate the rules. I just wish more coaches would discourage players if they do anything illegal as this would make umpiring the game easier. Also players who have a lot to say to say to umpires should try giving umpiring an option because it would show you, it’s not an easy job. 

Adele: What skills do you see are required by a 13 year old player in order to become a top successful hockey player?

Girl – Hitting. I find it so frustrating seeing how many goals in girls matches going missing because shots were not taken. A forward who can hit a ball at u13 level is a coach’s dream. That hunger in the circle. 

Boys – Passing and keeping it basic. Boys are trying to do to many fancy things, leave that to when you are older.

Adele: You coached at Madsen Hockey Academy and you still one of the Senior coaches that assist if we have a Holiday Clinic. Name some of the coaches that you coached with. What can you tell us about the value of the academy and what it meant to you for players and for you as a coach?

Richard: Sihle Ntuli 

The coach I am today is because of Sihle. Leaving school and starting at Madsen, Sihle was the head coach and wow what a difference he made to my coaching. I know the things I do as I coach today is from him and the best thing is how he communicated concepts to coaches and to players. I coached with Kaz Bowyer, Jenna Ronaldson (Madsen then), Kelly Reed (Madsen then) and JJ Reed. I believe that coaching from 2011 – 2013 was the best years at Madsen Academy. All of the coaches just clicked and would never forget the -5 degree MacDonalds stop on the way from St Mary’s to Kearsney mini hockey. I believe the academy has produced a lot of talent throughout its years. Lots of parents think that private coaching is the way to go recently, yes they are beneficial but being able to learn new skills and put them to the test against your friends and players your age is way more beneficial. Think about this scenario, private coach teaches your child a yard stick around cones, compared to an academy session where you get taught a yard stick then able to train it against a defender your age/skill. What is more beneficial? 

The best way to become a better coach is to learn from others and Madsen academy gives coaches that opportunity. I mean I got paid and got taught how to coach by Sihle who is now the National assistant coach.