Anna Grippo, 11 of Summerland Christian College and Mitchell Rose, 9 of Goonellabah Public School.
Anna Grippo, 11 of Summerland Christian College and Mitchell Rose, 9 of Goonellabah Public School. DOUG EATON

Friends and fun for kids

FOR Stacey Sheppard-Smith, a coach with East Lismore Hockey Club, training the junior kids is her way of giving back to the sport she has loved since she was five years old.

"We train every Tuesday," Stacey said. "They are such a great bunch of kids. They really love their hockey. They are so enthusiastic they are a pleasure to coach.

"I have played hockey since I was five, but I can't play anymore because of an injury so coaching is the perfect way to stay involved in the sport."

"Training is supposed to go for an hour but they are so into it that it often goes for an hour-and-a-half."

Stacey says the game has many benefits for kids.

"Well to start with they make some really wonderful friendships. I know personally that some of my closest friends today I have made through hockey and I see that with the younger kids, the friendships that they are developing at a really young age go right through their sporting life into adulthood.

"There is also the fitness aspect. So many kids today are at home and sitting on the computer; they're not really getting involved, but hockey gets them participating.

"Hockey is also great for their co-ordination; increases their confidence and helps their social skills develop."



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