Job search
Job Search

People profile: Alex Danson, GB and England hockey captain and Olympic gold medallist

Co-founder of Alex Danson hockey academy

Published in Sports Management 2018 issue 1
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
Alex Danson won Gold at Rio 2016 as part of the GB hockey team
Alex Danson won Gold at Rio 2016 as part of the GB hockey team

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, for my whole life,” Alex Danson says with a grin.

The Olympic gold medallist and current Great Britain and England hockey captain is talking about the Alex Danson Hockey Academy, a new scheme that she launched in 2017 in partnership with Everyone Active. The academy aims to get more youngsters active by offering access to fun, engaging hockey sessions and expert coaches.

“So many kids don’t get the recommended amount of activity per week. We need to change that,” she says.

“By 2020, we’re aiming to engage 10,000 young people aged seven to 11 and get them into hockey. We’ll be running hockey camps at 100 Everyone Active sites during school holidays. We’ll also be going into primary schools to run sessions.”

Danson, who was part of the gold-medal- winning GB hockey team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, says that sport has “completely and utterly changed her life” and wants to give youngsters the opportunity to awaken this passion in themselves.

“The Rio Olympics was the most unbelievable two weeks of my life,” she says. “We just played one game at a time. We won one, then we won the next and before we knew it we were in a final.

“It wasn’t until we came home that we realised there’s actually an audience. Nine and a half million people watched our final, and thank goodness we had no idea – we would have been so nervous!”

Spotlight on hockey
The key to translating this success into more people getting active, Danson believes, is visibility of the sport.

“The final at Rio proves that if you see it, you can be it,” she says. “We’ve had 10,000 new people come into the sport since Rio, so it can grow, it just needs to be seen.

“England Hockey has a great new TV contract with BT Sports – they’re now covering all our international games. We’ve got a home World Cup in 2018 and with 104,000 tickets already applied for, all our games will sell out. I hope this is again going to change how our country sees hockey. It’s changed so much from what it was, thanks to our success in Rio, and hopefully, people have gained an insight into what the game can offer.

“The Alex Danson Hockey Academy is exciting because it will introduce thousands of kids to the sport, and then there’s an ongoing programme to keep them engaged all year round.”

Schoolyard sessions
Danson will be working to upskill the Everyone Active team to become England Hockey sessional coaches to ensure participants receive a high-quality training experience. Danson says she’ll be staying closely involved in the programme and will be delivering regular ‘train the trainer’ sessions.

The Academy will be launched into 500 primary schools and all Everyone Active coaches will be qualified to upskill teachers so they can continue to deliver quality hockey sessions outside of the Academy.

The Academy will consist of a 24-week programme that has been approved by England Hockey and will use Quicksticks, a four-a-side version of the game designed to introduce young people to the sport. It can be played on any surface and uses a larger, lighter ball. The sticks are very similar to those used in hockey, which aids progression into the game.

Variety is key
As a child, Danson says she was lucky to have active parents – her mum used to play hockey with her in the back garden. She says she played lots of different sports at this time, and believes this is the key to keeping kids engaged in activity.

“When I was young, I did everything and anything – cross country, hockey, tennis, athletics. I think we need to make sure kids do a variety of activities. There are so many distractions in the world, everything is so media- and phone-driven that we need to make sure we keep kids engaged.

“Obviously my passion is hockey, but what I really want is for every young person in the country to enjoy some form of physical activity, no matter what it is. Because if I didn’t have sport in my life, I don’t know where I’d get my friends from, or my sense of wellbeing, self-confidence and resilience.

“Sport gives you so much more than just the fun you have in that moment.”

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide, United Kingdom

Gym Trainer - Manchester Fallowfield

The Gym Group
Salary: Fantastic Benefits
Location: Greater Manchester, England

Extreme Sport Supervisor

Salary: UP to £11,160 per annum based on 20 hours per week
Location: London, UK

Fitness Manager

Parkwood Leisure
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Bristol, UK

Commercial Marketing Director

Mytime Active
Salary: Up to £90000 per annum
Location: Kent, England, UK

Dry Side Leisure Assistant

Salary: Up to £8.75 per hour
Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

Swimming Teacher

MXT Swim School
Salary: Immediate Start - Flexible Hours - Competitive Rates
Location: West Sussex, UK

Deputy Centre Manager

The Climbing Hangar
Salary: £25k - £27k + 20% potential bonus based on achieving KPI's
Location: Parsons Green, London, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

Salary: Up to £21,284 per annum
Location: Archway, North London

Sales & Fitness Manager

Legacy Leisure
Salary: Circa £22,000 per annum plus OTE
Location: Kidlington, UK
recruiting with sports management

General Assistant

Legacy Leisure
Salary: £5.60 - £7.83 per hour
Location: Nailsea, UK

Sports Centre Operations Manager

Caterham School
Salary: Competitive, based on qualifications and experience
Location: Caterham, Surrey, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

Salary: Up to £17,806 per annum (39 hours a weeks pro rata
Location: Witney, Oxfordshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

Salary: Up to £16,187 per annum (39 hours a weeks pro rata
Location: Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

Salary: Up to £7.50 per hour
Location: Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

Salary: Up to £16,187 per annum (39 hours a weeks pro rata
Location: Appleby-in-Westmorland, UK

Swim Manager / Duty Manager

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive rate of pay
Location: Kenilworth, UK
recruiting with sports management

Chief Executive Officer

Westmorland County FA
Salary: £37,000 - £38,500
Location: Kendal, UK

Active Leeds Development Officer - Health

Leeds City Council
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Leeds, UK

Recreation Assistant x2

Dudley Metroplitan Borough Council
Salary: Grade 3 £16,863 - £17,391 pa
Location: Stourbridge, UK

MASTER Aquatic Leads – 3 roles

Everybody Sport and Recreation
Salary: £26,821- £30,152
Location: Cheshire, UK

Fitness Instructor

énergie group
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Cambuslang, Glasgow, UK

Swimming Lesson Coordinator

Lex Leisure
Salary: £22,000
Location: Bexley, UK

Operations Manager

Parkwood Leisure
Salary: Circa £24,000
Location: Thetford, UK
training with sports management

Area Manager

Leeds City Council
Salary: £34,106 – £37,107 per annum
Location: Leeds, UK

Athletics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Harrow, UK

General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Ashford, UK

Membership Advisor

Parkwood Leisure
Location: Bristol, UK

Membership Advisor

Parkwood Leisure
Salary: Competitive Salary and Benefits
Location: Bristol, UK


Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive salary
Location: Southampton, UK

Health Referral Facilitator

Salary: £9.71 per hour
Location: Bath, Somerset, UK
lifeguard jobs  Swimming Teacher jobs  apprenticeships jobs  recreation assistant jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  Swimming Instructor jobs  membership consultant jobs  general manager jobs  General Assistant jobs  duty manager jobs  fitness instructor jobs  Customer Advisor jobs  Leisure Assistant jobs  Aqua Instructor jobs  Attractions Crew jobs 
More jobs

Catalogue Gallery

BSW: BSW is a manufacturer of sports floorings, sports mats, gym flooring, elastomer products for impact sound insulation and vibration isolation, anti-slip mats for securing loads as well as protective and separating layers.
More catalogues

Video Gallery

Tracking your workout effort just became effortless.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Pavigym
PAVIGYM is the premier innovator of flooring and interactive solutions for the global fitness industry.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Dates revealed for Reebok Les Mills Live 2019
Reebok Les Mills Live will return to Singapore in 2019 – the second time the event will be held in the city-state.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Property & Tenders

Location: High Lodge, Thetford Forest
Company: Forestry Commission
Location: White Rocks, Hastings
Company: GVA
More properties & tenders

Diary dates

22-24 Jan 2019
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
28-29 Jan 2019
Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, Stansted, United Kingdom
29-31 Jan 2019
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
27-28 Feb 2019
Chesford Grange, Kenilworth, United Kingdom
More diary dates