My hockey career spans some 32 years (gulp), where I have experienced a number of clubs and styles of play and attitudes to the game. Initially I was at Luton Town, but spent 3 seasons at St Albans – exposing me to National League hockey, and a very high standard of Indoor (St Albans were European champions for a number of years). During this time, I did my level 1 and 2 coaching courses with John Hurst, recently retired England and GB goalkeeping supremo – I supported him whilst training David Luckes (ex GB, current FIH president) and Simon Mason (ex GB), which as you can imagine was quite an eye opener. During this time, I coached a very talented St Albans U16 mens side to national finals, where they narrowly lost out to Oxford Hawks.
I spent most of my personal time from around 1993 to 2000 focussing on my own new passion – Triathlon, where I competed for GB at the European Olympic distance championships, and ultimately Ironman in 2013. This combination of hockey experience and fitness understanding positioned me well to coach the modern game at a high level.
I coached Luton Town ladies (Midlands premier) for 2 seasons, before having a bit of a break to live abroad I Dubai. On return, my son started to play the game again in Buxton – and inevitably I got sucked into coaching again, albeit only at East Midlands level. The peak so far of my coaching career was last season, when I was approached by Leek, and accepted the role of coaching their National League mens side. A great honour, and an amazing experience – but this season it was not going to work out for me personally, since I work and stay in Hull. I approached KUHHC some months ago, and was delighted to be asked to coach women and men.
My hope is that I can offer a positive coaching environment, where everyone is encouraged to work to the best of their ability. Hockey is about fitness and perfect basics – and this is a principle that I am going to drive forward. I want players to push themselves to their absolute limits physically – but never worry about the fitness of others compared to their own: its all relative, and I just want people to reap the benefits of THEIR improvements. On the playing front, I’m looking for cohesion, team work, intensity and passion. There is no lack of ability at KUHHC – I want to introduce professionalism and respect for one another – in summary, I intend to introduce a winning culture.Mark Buckingham
* Please Note * Mark Buckingham also coaches the KUHHC men’s teams