Olympian helps inspire a St Albans school’s hockey team

South African international hockey player Lance Louw coaches year 7, 8 and 9 girls at Beaumont Schoo

South African international hockey player Lance Louw coaches year 7, 8 and 9 girls at Beaumont School - Credit: Archant

The Olympic legacy is still burning brightly in a St Albans school – thanks to the visit of a 2012 Olympian.

Beaumont School in Oakwood Drive welcomed South African international hockey player Lance Louw on Monday for a number of coaching sessions with the Year 7, 8 and 9 girls.

Hockey is traditionally one of the biggest sports in the school, with around 50 girls regularly playing fixtures.

But the visit comes hot on the heels of the opening of the school’s new all-weather pitch.

And that says Andy Tolley, head of PE, is helping inspire the students to take up sport.

He said: “We’ve been waiting for the facility for years. To finally have it come to fruition, it’s been great for our PE lessons and also developing hockey at the school.

“To have Lance coming in the same year as we opened the facility is really an inspiration to the students.

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“Nat Moody, who is our hockey specialist in the department, has done a lot of work developing the programme in line with the new facilities coming on board.”

Teaching assistant Sarah Mobbs, who coaches the Year 8 girls, agreed.

She said: “Lance said he started at 13 so for our girls, that is their age and it gives them such an inspiration.

“In female sport, sometimes there’s a tailing off in their teenage years. So for him to come in at this crucial point of their sporting development, it’s such an important part.

“We have to thank Lance for coming in and inspiring our kids.

“That’s the main thing. Getting them to believe they can do something with hockey is huge.”

Louw said: “It’s a different school, different type of kids from what I’m used to back home.

“But there was lots of enthusiasm so it was good.

“Back home there’s not many kids who get exposed at this age group. At home they start about nine-year-old and here they start earlier.”