Cambridge Talent Academy

Cambridge Talent Academy

powered by


Cambridge Talent Academy

The Cambridge Talent Academy (CTA) each year selects and develops squads of ~25 girls and ~25 boys aged 15-18 (school years 10, 11, 12 and 13) from schools, clubs and counties in the catchment area. The Talent Academy will look to recruit players who have the potential and commitment to make it to the highest level of hockey. 

It is not expected that the Talent Academy squads will remain consistent for the whole season, with players moving out and/or others invited to join as they develop over the season.

Talent Academy catchments have been confirmed after consultation with all the Talent Academies and EH. A list of catchment area clubs for Cambridge Talent Academy can be found on the Catchment Area page. The catchment area has changed since the 22-23 cycle with the addition of the EH run EAST TA in the region.

Our CTA head coaches and assistant coaches have been identified, and we are pleased to have their support and experience to help us deliver a great environment for athlete development. The head coaches are supported by a group of assistant coaches providing general and specialist coaching experiences such as goalkeeping, drag flicking etc. 

Expected total hours of Interaction per year:

Pitch hours / sessions

Zoom / Classroom hours / sessions

TA Festivals* ( full day sessions)

Total Hours Face Time **

Talent Academy

100 hrs / 30

25 hrs / 20


~190 hrs

*Festival days, Competition days, and the End of Year 4-day Festival will have additional fees associated with them.

** Total hours include attending a number of festivals but not End of Year Competitions.

The Cambridge Talent Academy serves the region, and whilst hosted by and sharing resources with CCHC, it has an independent management structure (the Chairperson and Head Coach are from outside CCHC) and is self-financing. CTA coaching will mostly take place in Cambridge, but we will endeavour to run sessions in different parts of the region to help manage the travel burden and build relationships with other clubs. If your club is interested in hosting a Monday TA session – please let us know 


The estimated costs are as follows:

TA - £1150 for the year; this includes the assessment phase costs of £125.

We will offer a monthly payment schedule automated via TEAMO to help spread the cost. If you have any concerns about the costs of attending TA, please refer to our bursary policy or contact us confidently at

The Cambridge TA is a not-for-profit organisation, and any excess funds will be used to support the players and provide additional opportunities for their development.


Catchment Area

The Cambridge Talent Academy serves the region, and whilst hosted by and sharing resources with CCHC, it has an independent management structure (the Chairperson and Head Coach are from outside CCHC) and is self-financing. CTA coaching will mostly take place in Cambridge, but we will endeavour to run sessions in different parts of the region to help manage the travel burden and build relationships with other clubs. If your club is interested in hosting a Monday TA session, please contact us at

The following clubs and teams fall into the Cambridge TA catchment area. If you feel that attending a different TA based on your location would better support your individual travel commitments, please contact us at so we can discuss and find the best TA provision for you.

Bedford HC

Haverhill HC

Oundle HC

Blueharts HC

Hornets HC

Royston HC

Bourne Deeping HC

Huntingdon HC

Saffron Walden HC

Braintree HC

Kettering HC

Shefford & Sandy HC

Cambridge City HC

Letchworth HC

St. Ives HC

Cambridge Junior HC

Long Sutton HC

St. Neots HC

Cambridge Nomads HC

March Town HC

University of Cambridge HC

Cambridge South HC

Newmarket HC

Wellingborough HC

Carrow HC

Wisbech Town HC

City of Peterborough HC

Ely City HC

Assessment & Selection

New Talent Academy players will be selected via Open Nominations from clubs, schools, and counties. Nominated players will be invited to the open trial session in Jan and May 2024. Those players selected in the Open trials will be invited to the assessment phase held during Sept 2024.

Assessment of players nominated through open nominations and those already in TA will take place in Sept 2024.

Selections to the Sept assessment phase post-open trials will be communicated to players on or before the end of May 2024.

Selections post-assessment phase will be communicated on or before the end of September 2024.

There is no limit to the number of assessments a player can attend in a season - this is to accommodate the often rapid development players have at the age of 15-18.

All players who attend TA assessments will be entered into the EH player tracking system. Furthermore, once nominated and regardless of whether successful or not successful in assessments, there will be regular 'check-ins' between TA coaches and their club/school coaches. Those who do not get selected for TA will be monitored and offered further assessments when appropriate.

If you have not been nominated and feel that you should have an opportunity for assessment, please ask your coach to contact us to discuss an assessment. The new system is designed to be open and accessible - assessments can be arranged at any point during the season.

The CTA will endeavour to work with your clubs/schools/county centres to ensure the most appropriate decisions are made about where and how selected players develop and play their hockey based on the RARE (right athlete, right environment) principle. Attending the Cambridge Talent Academy DOES NOT mean players are joining/have to join and play for the host club, CCHC.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

The estimated costs are as follows:

TA - 1150 GBP for the year, including the assessment phase.

We will be using a monthly payment schedule that will be automated via TEAMO.

The Cambridge TA is a not-for-profit organisation, so any excess funds will be used to support the players and to provide additional opportunities for their development.

Selection Policy

We will deliver an open, fair and transparent selection process that endeavours to limit bias. Our selection policy is available below.

Talent Academy Training Calendar

The CTA calendar has been designed to accommodate school holidays as much as possible – but we will inevitably cross over on some dates due to the number of face-time hours that need to be delivered and other EH central calendar event dates. The pitch time will be 2 hours/session in Sept-Apr and slightly increased to 2.5 hours/session in May-July to accommodate players' club and school hockey diaries so as not to overload them.

A full diary for the year will be published for players.

Talent Academy pitch sessions will be held on Mondays most weeks - either 6pm start or 7:30pm start depending on the time of year to support school hockey demands. The sessions will start at 6:30pm from May-July and will be on Fridays.

Talent Academy video conference/classroom sessions will be held on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. for approximately 20 weeks of the year.

Cambridge Talent Academy Kit

We are very proud and grateful to Mr. CRICKET HOCKEY for sponsoring our TA and the player's kit. Each player will require home and away shirts (sky blue and red), shorts/skorts (navy), and socks (sky blue and yellow). Optional training layers and waterproof coats are also available. 

Every player selected to join Cambridge TA will receive a personalised home shirt (sky blue) free.

Required Kit

  • Blue shirt (Free)
  • Red Shirt 
  • Shorts/Skort
  • Blue socks
  • Yellow socks

The rest of the CTA player kit, such as rain jackets, tracksuits, etc, is optional.

How to Order

When ordering, please ensure you have your Cambridge TA player number assigned to be printed on your kit.

  1. Log in to the TA shop -
  2. You will need the password we supply in your offer letter to access the shop.
  3. To receive your free royal blue shirt, add the discount code in the checkout coupon section (this will be supplied when your TA player number is allocated). The discount code is restricted to one per order, so if the kit is required for two children, you will need to place one order for each child.
  4. You will need your shirt number, which is given when you accept your place.
  5. Orders should arrive in approx. 7-14 days from placement of order.

Cambridge TA Coaching Team

The Cambridge TA coaching team is comprised of some of the region's most experienced performance coaches. We have a core coaching team with additional specialist coaches who will join some sessions and deliver specific coaching expertise such as drag flicking, penalty corners, goal scoring etc.

The core team have extensive experience with the historical England Hockey pathway system and coaching and playing in high-performance environments, including GB/ENGLAND/NAGS/PC and the EH National League.

Paul Denny-GouldsonAssistant Coach Girls
Catriona MacIverAssistant Coach Girls
Ian SmytheCoach & GKs
Nik BentleyCoach & GK
Poppy KettlewellPerformance Nutrition Coach

In addition to the field coaching team, other coaches will provide special coaching and support during the season and zoom sessions on specific topics such as nutrition, sports psych, teamship, injury prevention, life-sport balance, dealing with an injury, dealing with conflict, TA game/training video analysis, tactics, and umpiring and the rules of the game.

We are always looking for additional coaches to help deliver sessions and zoom meetings, so if you are interested, please contact us at

Cambridge TA Admin Team

To ensure smooth running, CTA has an extensive admin and governance team. Made up of roles that you typically see in any other sports club, the team is made up of volunteers and some paid positions.

Rob HarrisTreasurer
Sarah RyeAdministrator
Paul Denny-GouldsonTA Manager
Sharon ElySafeguarding

Cambridge Talent Academy Bursaries

Cambridge Talent Academy supports access to development opportunities irrespective of social or economic background. We have a bursary policy to support those players who need it. Our inclusivity policy is designed to ensure openness and opportunity for everyone.

Bursaries will be considered for any type of support, whether it be TA fees, kit, travel etc.

Please email for more information. 

Cambridge TA Coaching Philosophy

The CTA coaching philosophy embraces RARE and fosters encouragement, openness, stretch when appropriate, respect, and support.

Regional Coaches Development Support

The Cambridge Talent Academy serves the region. As part of this, we are supporting the coaching development in the region—not just the players. Coaches from clubs are welcome to attend and contribute to the TA sessions during the year. We will share some of the classroom session recordings with coaches and clubs upon request to support players' and coaches' development. 

If you join a coaching session, we will ask you to contribute and participate in the coaching as we feel this is the best way to support development. This will allow you to receive development support from some amazing coaches and build your network simultaneously. 

If you would like to attend CTA as a coach or are interested in receiving some of the recorded player classroom sessions, please let us know


1. What is a Talent Academy? (Copy from EH)

Talent Academies are intended for the highest potential 15 – 18-year-old players, replacing Performance Centres. EH estimates that the current talent pool will yield approximately 500 players per gender, requiring the intensity and commitment of a Talent Academy. This equates to the top 60% of players who currently attend Performance Centres, plus those who are part of England Age Group squads.

There will be multiple opportunities most weeks for high-quality coaching and training through a combination of dedicated sessions and integration with other activities delivered by the host. Every Talent Academy will have a squad of players selected through a robust process based on the England Hockey Player Profile.

Talent Academies will select from players nominated by Clubs, Schools and Counties, broadening the access routes into the highest levels of hockey development.

2. What’s the difference between a Talent Academy and a Talent Centre? (Copy from EH)

Talent Centre is the accreditation of a club. A Talent Academy is a separate coaching organisation hosted and operated by a club. A Talent Centre club provides high-quality provision for players at the early talent development level (Talent Foundations). This provision will be embedded within the club’s junior programme. Talent Centre accreditation recognises the quality of a club’s talent development environment and provision, not individual players. CCHC will be applying for Talent Centre accreditation during the 2022/23 season.

3. Who will the Cambridge Talent Academy cater for?

England Hockey estimates that Talent Academies will cater for the top 60% of players who currently attend Performance Centres, plus those who are part of England Age Group squads.  

The Cambridge Talent Academy (CTA) will select and develop squads of c.25 girls and c. boys aged 15-18 from schools, clubs and counties in the catchment area who have the potential and commitment to make it to the highest level of international hockey. Talent Academy catchment areas have been published after consultation between all the Talent Academies and England Hockey. These may change in year 2 as the additional Talent Academies are appointed.

4. Once selected, is my place in a Talent Academy Squad assured?

No - England Hockey expects there to be some fluidity during the season, with some players potentially being dropped from the TA squad and others invited to join, depending on their performance, and commitment or attendance paused temporarily based on their current school/club/EAGS playing demands.

5. Who will deliver the coaching?

A CTA head coach (independent from CCHC) and lead coaches (both independent and part of CCHC) have been identified. We will draw on coaching support from both within and outside CCHC and use the Talent Academy to support coach development in the region. Coaches from clubs, schools and counties are very welcome to join TA sessions and classroom sessions to help develop their coaching skills. When you attend a session, you will be involved in the session and be given development support from the TA coaching staff. If you are interested in attending TA sessions as a coach, please let us know

6. Will my chances of getting into the Talent Academy be better if I join CCHC? (Copy from EH FAQ)

No. A key principle of the new system is that there are NO prerequisites to progress from one stage to the next. It is a system, not a pathway. A player does not need to attend a Talent Centre or a particular club to progress to a Talent Academy, and a player does not need to attend a Talent Academy to progress to an England Age Group programme.

The Cambridge Talent Academy serves the region, and whilst hosted by and sharing resources with CCHC, it has an independent management structure under the umbrella of the club and is self-financing. The CTA Head Coach is from outside CCHC, and the CTA has an independent chairperson.

7. Do I have to join CCHC if selected to attend the Talent Academy?

No. This decision depends on each player’s circumstances and what is right for them in terms of their access to competitive senior and age group hockey. Membership options will be discussed with each player and their club once selected based on the RARE (Righ Athlete, Right Environment) principle.

The key is that the CTA coaching team will maintain a rounded view of the player’s hockey experience and progress wherever they play their hockey.

8. Where will the CTA coaching take place, and how often?

CTA coaching will, for the most part, take place once a week in Cambridge, but we anticipate running occasional sessions in different parts of the region to help manage the travel burden and build relationships with other clubs. There will also be around 10 TA festivals days held at home against other TAs over the year.

A key difference to the old system is that coaches at the Talent Academy will look at the player’s whole hockey experience – taking into account the level and amount of hockey they play at school, club, counties and the academy itself.

We are also looking at how we balance the demand on players’ time – for example, adjusting the balance of pitch time and intensity between boys and girls for those whose school only plays hockey for one term.

9. How will players be selected for the CTA? (Copy from EH)

Talent Academy players will be selected via an Open Nomination: clubs, schools, and counties.

Assessment of players nominated through both routes will take place each year.

10. How much will it cost and will we have to buy a new kit

Talent Academies are self-funded. The cost of the Cambridge Talent Academy is shown in the TA section. Because of the reduced player numbers, Talent Academy will be more expensive per player than the historical Performance Centre.  However, as shown by the contact hours and pitch session numbers, the amount of time players will have contact with coaches and specialists is significantly higher with TA than with historical PC.

Fees are for the year, but we will offer a monthly payment option to help spread the cost. 

We use a CTA-branded kit that will be sponsored and provided by Mr Cricket Hockey. There will be a cost associated with the kit, but we will endeavour to keep this as low as possible. Players will require 2 shirts (home and away), Skort / Shorts, and Socks (home and away). Other kit elements, such as tracksuit trousers, long-sleeve tops and training jackets, will be available. Players will both train and play matches in the kit.

11 Can parents join the Friday zoom sessions?

Yes, and we would actively encourage this as the learnings will hopefully help you as parents support your child's development on and off the pitch.

12 What is the status of the end-of-year TA event?

The dates of the end-of-cycle competition for 2024 are 28th-31st July.

Our Partners

MR Cricket Hockey
Coach Logic
MR Cricket Hockey
Coach Logic
Cambridge University Sports
Cambridge University Sports
members nameclub role
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thanks for your message!

We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.