New Head of Hockey Mr Calum Giles has fond memories of playing on the biggest stage in sport but his focus now is very much on taking hockey at Worth to another level.
In a glittering hockey career, Mr Giles represented Great Britain at both the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Games in Sydney. He won 143 caps for England and Great Britain and scored 110 international goals, winning a bronze medal with England at both the 1995 and 1999 European Championships along the way.
While those experiences are great to share, they form just a part of what Mr Giles can bring to Worth. His 31 years of coaching in clubs, academies and schools, including working at Eltham College before coming to Worth, are perhaps of greater importance in delivering the best possible programme for boys and girls at the School.
Mr Giles said: “I have a good track record going into programmes, clubs, schools that need someone to take something and turn it into something better.
“I always make two commitments to players when I come to the school or to a club and that is I will make players better than they think they can be and I will take teams and make them better than anyone thinks they can be. Coaching isn’t just about hockey knowledge. There are a lot of people with hockey knowledge. Coaching is about communication skills and it is about the psychology of understanding how people work and delivering your knowledge in a way that they want to listen and they want to do their best.
“I have been doing this for 31 years. Through mistakes over the years and through a lot of success I feel like I am getting closer to be being able to deliver a programme without too many mistakes and getting there fairly quickly. I have told the students since I got here, ultimately it has to be fun because if you are not paid to do something then you are doing it because it is fun and if it is not fun then why are you doing it?”
In an engaging interview, Mr Giles spoke about been diagnosed with ADHD and how he has used that as something positive. He said: “Hockey took me from a career and a life that was definitely going to be on the wrong side the tracks and put me on the right side of the tracks. For me, every time I coach I need to assume that I am changing someone’s life on that pitch, even if it is not hockey related; I am going to offer them positive comments and belief in themselves that I am hoping they will carry into the classroom, into the boarding house or into their friendship group.”
Boys’ hockey is still relatively new at Worth, having only been introduced in 2017, but Mr Giles said: “I would like to build the boys’ programme up so that there is no difference between the quality of the boys or the girls. I would like to see us compete in a counties environment and regionally in both in the next five or six years.”
No doubt he will be asked by students about his Olympic experiences. So, what was the best moment of his career? He said: “Scoring my first goal at the Olympics in 1996 would probably be that moment, because it was a long journey from a five-year-old picking up a stick to becoming an Olympian that scored their first goal but along the way there is so much that happened that almost if you take out any part of it, that moment wouldn’t have happened. I have won a couple of things with my last school and that was right up there too. But if you had to pick one moment it would be scoring that first goal at the Olympics because you realise all your decisions, all the hard work, all the operations, all the injuries and the sweat was worth it.”
As well as hockey, Mr Giles also takes on the title of Master in Charge of Golf and that is another area where he hopes to make an impact. He said: “We have already met with the golfers, we have discussed what we can offer, we have discussed our vision, again, is to make them better than they think they can be but these things take time. Hopefully we can take golf to another level at Worth. It is something where probably we could compete nationally.”