Field Hockey Canada > Behind the scenes in Malaysia: Level 3 FIH Academy

Field Hockey Canada’s Geoff Matthews and Michelle Savich soak up a “behind the scenes” learning experience at the 2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

While the exciting hockey action was taking place on the field at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, the FIH was also running an academy for coaches and officials. Field Hockey Canada had two representatives at the academy. Geoff Matthews, head coach of Canada’s youth men’s program was at the coaches’ workshops and Michelle Savich, from Chilliwack, was representing at the officials’ academy. The action may have not been as thrilling off the field, but the development of quality coaches and officials is equally as important so we can all enjoy the game we love.

Geoff Matthews took part in the FIH Level 3 Coaching Course. He wrote the following of his experience:

14 Coaches from 5 different continents! That’s what I was lucky enough to experience at the recent FIH Level 3 Coaching course in Ipoh, Malaysia. All coaches were internationally recognized and brought a unique and diverse experience. The diversity of the group challenged you to look at your own coaching philosophy and style from a different perspective and that brought out the best in each candidate. We were asked to present on a FIH attacking or defensive principle, then take that principle onto the field with an on field coaching session. The course is catered around the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which allowed us to watch and analyze six top quality matches (including Canada’s MNT).

There were game analysis components too which included both an on-field practice session and in a video analysis presentation. I received my FIH Level 3 Coaching Certificate after four and a half days of intense course work and I am excited to bring my new and improved knowledge back into the FHC community. It was an amazing opportunity to not only develop as a coach but to network with coaches from around the world.


Michelle Savich took part in the Level 3 TO Academy. She wrote the following of her experience in Malaysia.

The Level 3 TO Academy was intense and fantastic. We learned from some of the absolute best managers and officials in the game. They are so knowledgeable and approachable. Our days were filled with case studies, scenarios and practical applications. We discussed the evolution of hockey and what new changes actually mean for all the shareholders. We listened to legal experts and broke down footage together as a group.

The course brought representatives from 13 nations together, all with unique experiences and programming. Everything is critical to timing, everything is done under the clock, like a game. This course definitely brought my game to the next level, going past the action and into the cerebral. I love the amount of professional development the course allowed me to exercise. In addition, it has given me an even better insight to how I coach and manage all I do in field hockey- to be a better at all facets of the game. I look forward to bringing my experiences and knowledge back to Canada and begin my own development into the best TO I can be.